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SME Featured APAC

APAC’s Plug and Play unveils new programs to accelerate startup, SME growth

Singapore – Global innovation platform Plug and Play has recently concluded its APAC-centric summit last 1 to 2 June, in which the firm introduced three new programs for startups and SMEs. 

The three new programs are the ‘Sustainability Program’, ‘Business Solutions Accelerator by Facebook’, and its ‘GK – Plug and Play Program’. 

In the virtual event, it was announced that the ‘Sustainability Program’ seeks to provide the tools and network for startups with disruptive technologies that will allow them to empower big corporations to meet their green initiatives.

Part of the solutions instated include equipping SMEs forward thinking into creating sustainable supply chains, implementation of digital technologies for sustainable production, training and advisory for sustainable practices, and compliance or certification of sustainable practices. 

Jupe Tan, managing partner at Plug and Play APAC, commented, “This year we celebrate our 15th anniversary with a global team of almost 600 across 35 cities around the world. We will look to actively invest in technologies that focus on enhancing our living environment and address our resource constraints in a sustainable manner that reduces emissions and efficiently uses natural resources.” 

Meanwhile, the ‘Business Solutions Accelerator by Facebook’ will be made possible by Facebook and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to which Tan describes as an innovation catered to looking into areas such as cleantech and clean energy, sustainable agriculture, inclusive fintech as well as inclusive healthcare.

Through the accelerator, Facebook is looking forward to nurturing and collaborating with technology partners that share Facebook’s commitment to improving the merchant experience for businesses across the Facebook family of apps. Program benefits include product education, dedicated Facebook mentors for guidance on product development and business growth, networking with fellow startups and ecosystem enablers, insights into industry and innovation trends.

Lastly, the ‘GK Plug and Play’ aims to make innovation within reach for enterprising groups and individuals. Plug and Play aims to build a smart future by connecting innovation to the brightest minds, as well as building a unique ecosystem as their mission that connects change-makers and leading organizations. So far, the accelerator program has run 8 batches and accelerated 123 startups giving them enhanced access to mentors, investors, and corporations.

On the program with Facebook and ADB, Tan said, “I am proud to announce that we have embarked on a regional partnership with the Asian Development Bank through ADB Ventures, the new venture arm of the ADB. Together with ADB Ventures, we hope to source for and invest in bold technology startups that are working to solve Asia Pacific’s biggest unsolved problems. 

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SME Featured Southeast Asia APAC

Visa invites PH, other APAC start-ups to join new accelerator program

Manila, Philippines – Digital payment company Visa has announced the launch of their newest accelerator program for APAC start-ups in expanding their business reach to a global level.

The new “Visa Accelerator Program” will focus on making selected start-ups be connected with bank and merchant partners of Visa globally through commercial opportunity collaborations. Furthermore, the accelerator program is designed for start-ups that have built a consumer base in their home country, and are ready to enter new geographical and consumer regions.

“In Visa’s ongoing work with the startup community, we often see companies face challenges when taking their business from a local success story to becoming a player in multiple markets. There is a vibrant fintech ecosystem in the Philippines. At Visa, we have global expertise that can help startups take their expansion plans off the white board and into the real world. We encourage Philippine startups who want to partner with us to join this program so we can help them scale,” said Dan Wolbert, Visa country manager for the Philippines & Guam.

Areas of interest that Visa wants the participating start-ups to address are as follows:

  • Expand access to the digital economy to consumers and businesses that are underserved or cash-dependent
  • Support of small businesses as they struggle with changing technology demands and the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Leveraging the growing open data environment in the region to develop more personalized banking and shopping experiences
  • Developing new ways of moving money that aren’t dependent on traditional credit and debit cards

“There is no shortage of fantastic solutions coming out of the Asia Pacific, particularly the Philippine startup community. What’s most important to Visa is how we can support those solutions getting elevated to a stage where in a few months’ time they could be pitched as a commercial deal to a leading bank, retailer or technology company in the region. A big differentiator for the Visa Accelerator Program is our concentration on a small number of startups that are truly ready to unlock that next level,” Wolbert added.