THE Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry has created a startup committee, a move that they hope will spur the startup ecosystem in Cebu.

Anthony Noel, CCCI startup program committee chair, who attended Startup Weekend Cebu’s (SWC) press conference yesterday, said the committee was officially created this month, but plans and discussions of having it was made previously. The startup committee is under the chamber’s business development division headed by Melanie Ng, also one of the top startup supporters in Cebu.

“Before startups were under the ICT committee,” Noel said. However, it did not receive prime attention. This time, the chamber has created a separate committee for startups, having acknowledged the growing startup community in Cebu and the potential of tech entrepreneurship in boosting the economy.

Noel said the committee is tasked to provide mentorship for startups and provide the members of the community access to CCCI’s resources.

“We hope to provide linkages of our startups to the members of the chamber and to the other industries as well,” Noel said, who is also a member of the Cebu City ICT-BPM Council of the Cebu City Government. The council, he said, has also extended its coverage on technopreneurship aside from its main mandate of linking the local government unit to the IT-BPM companies and promoting the city as a prime business area for these players.

For this year’s SWC, it will be the City Government’s first time to sponsor the event in the form of meals to roughly 120 participants. The amount is substantial, said Noel, but no exact figures were publicized because the amount will not be directly downloaded to the organizers of the event.

Instead of the P1,000 registration fee, this was cut down to P700 because of the City Government’s support to the event.

“Starup Weekend is a community event and it makes sense that the government is supporting us,” said SWC organizer Ashley Uy. She said the Bohol Provincial Government also supported the Startup Weekend Bohol.

This year’s SWC will be the fifth, and is set on June 5 to 7 at the University of the Philippines Cebu.

Lead organizer Timmy de Jesus said this year’s SWC may be the last general-themed confab. They want next year’s event to carry specific themes like financial technology, gaming apps, and designing among many other possibilities.

“We have not decided yet for next year’s theme but it will depend on where we see the need and the demand,” de Jesus said.

In the previous SWCs the products developed were diverse, from food, transportation, education, games, and health.

SWC is a 54-hour event, which starts with pitching startup ideas and developing these concepts into workable businesses. On the final day, the product is presented to the judges. Winners will have their businesses undergo development for possible launching to the market.

International and local incubators will also be at the event. An official of the Singapore-based incubator JFDI Asia will be attending SWC, said de Jesus. JFDI has incubated Codetoki, one of the first teams produced by the SWC in 2010.

Since 2007, Startup Weekend events have been hosted in 400 cities in over 100 countries.