Why PH has the potential to be the next hotbed for tech innovation

Fintech Philippines Association (FPH) and Distributed Ledger Technology Association of the Philippines (DLTAP) Chairman Justo Ortiz

(Press Release)

The Philippines is all set to cement its role as the next hotbed for fintech and tech innovation with all the necessary ingredients to tech up already present in the Southeast Asian country, according to experts.

A solid financial and business ecosystem with projected 6.2% GDP growth in 2020; an innovation-ready regulatory environment; a large, young, and increasing population with an internet penetration rate of 63% — most of them through mobile devices — the Philippines is certainly ripe for fintech growth.

“We strongly believe that this is a pivotal moment for us to become more relevant and competitive in the global marketplace. DTI has always been supportive of the growing fintech industry because of its massive potential for financial inclusivity for our people. With all the work and tech innovation building up in the country in recent years, we are ready to expand our horizons,” shared Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Dr. Rafaelita “Fita” Aldaba.

She underscored the significance of being at the center of tech innovation, citing how fintech companies and products have largely contributed to the government’s relentless drive for financial inclusion.

In photo (from left to right): Union Bank of the Philippines President and CEO Edwin Bautista, TeamAsia President and Founder Monette Hamlin, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Dr. Rafaelita “Fita” Aldaba, Justo Ortiz, and FPH Board of Trustee Mark Gorriceta sign a memorandum of agreement for the staging of the Philippine Fintech Festival 2020 on Feb. 10, 2020 in Taguig City.

These include telcos and traditional banks successfully launching their own fintech products offering millions of consumers access to formal credit products; small and medium enterprises as well as farmers being given alternative finance by startup firms who link them to banks and other investors; and mobile wallets and startup firms working on modernizing remittances through online payments and use of cryptocurrencies amid the growing number of Filipinos working overseas.

“Now, the Philippines is primed to move on to the next level and transition into a world-class digital economy via the Philippine Fintech Festival—an international gathering of experts and leaders in innovation,” continued Usec. Aldaba.

The forthcoming Philippine Fintech Festival (PFF), to be held at Shangri-La at The Fort on May 20-21, 2020, will explore the widening horizon for the tech and fintech potential of the Philippines.

(Editor’s Note: The Organizing Committee of the Philippine Fintech Festival has announced its decision to move the event to September 16 and 17, 2020 as a precautionary measure amid the crisis posed by the COVID-19 across the region.)

The festival is in partnership with various government agencies including the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), along with private corporations and organizations such as Distributed Ledger Technology Association of the Philippines (DLTAP) and FinTech Philippines Association (FPH).

“The Philippine Fintech Festival promises to be a showcase of the latest technological innovations both here and abroad to local and international businesses. This will definitely go a long way in helping us develop the country’s capability for innovation through the continuous development of information and communications technology,” declared DICT Undersecretary Jose Arturo de Castro.

PFF will gather global innovation experts to discuss the future of banking, industry transformation, and financial inclusion for the plenary sessions.

Beyond the plenary talks and exhibits, there are several exciting events geared for those participating in the festival such as Business Matching activity with Trade Connect where entrepreneurs can network with possible investors and learn from their peers in the industry. There will also be a PFF edition of The Final Pitch wherein startups can present their innovative business ideas to industry leaders and venture capitalists. While the PFF Hackathon will challenge students and tech enthusiasts in creating impactful solutions for current pressing issues in the Philippine financial industry. Access to the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network (AFIN)’s APIX platform will be made available to Hackathon participants as part of their toolkit. These activities will culminate during the PFF Awards wherein winners from these activities will be recognized.

“We are working closely with the various government and industry partners in putting together PFF 2020 because this is an opportunity to showcase the Philippines’ capabilities in the fintech space. Through the PFF, we are taking a shot at co-creating the future together,” said DLTAP and FPH chairman Justo Ortiz.

The Philippine Fintech Festival aims to empower enterprises via a digital revolution in order to remain relevant and competitive amid a rapidly changing business environment.

Registration for the first Philippine Fintech Festival is now open. Sponsorship opportunities are also available for interested parties.