DOST VI, YFI launch FyrLab accelerator program for startups

Iloilo City – The Department of Science and Technology Region VI (DOST VI) in partnership with the Youth First Philippines Initiatives, Inc. (YFI) launched the FyrLab accelerator program for startups.

FyrLab startup accelerator program is a component of a DOST VI-funded project under the Bakal Lokal Innovation Program with the YFI entitled, Building the Capacities of Local MSMEs towards Digital Transformation.  The project is set to continue the efforts of DOST VI and YFI in assisting MSMEs and startups in their digital transformation and ensuring business continuity and survival with the Bakal Lokal Innovation Program.  The main collaboration of DOST VI with YFI is the Bakal Lokal project in 2020 as a CoViD-19 solution that provided MSMEs in the region a platform to sell their products and services.  It also served as a transition project from the traditional selling methods to convenient online selling that allowed MSMEs to reach a wider market.

“I believe that one of the critical success factors for our startups is intensive capacity building by rendering sessions, trainings, networking, and even benchmarking.  This is essentially what the Fyrlab Accelerator Program is all about, which was conceptualized as something that will interface and support the efforts of our TBIs in Western Visayas,” said DOST VI Regional Director Rowen R. Gelonga during the launch day of the FyrLab Accelerator Program.

The FyrLab Accelerator includes the development of Bakal Lokal Learning Management System (LMS), forging partnerships with DOST-supported Technology Business Incubators (TBIs), conduct of training needs assessment for Bakal Lokal-assisted MSMEs and startups, developing acceleration programs for startups, among others.  The main beneficiaries are MSMEs and startups including cooperatives and associations in far-flung communities seeking assistance for digital transformation.

Meanwhile, FyrLab will have two (2) cohorts, with the first consisting of 25 MSMEs that will be participating in a boot camp.  The second cohort will be composed of 10 startups who will participate in the Accelerator Program.  FyrLab is working with the different DOST-supported TBIs in Region VI namely, Kwadra TBI of the Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISAT-U), Green TBI at the West Visayas State University (WVSU), the Agri-Aqua TBI of the Capiz State University (CAPSU), Coastline 5023:  University of the Philippines Visayas (UPV) Fisheries TBI and the Technological University of the Philippines Visayas (TUP-V) HIVE or the Hub for Innovation and Value Engineering.

As a platform for ICT solutions for MSMEs, the Bakal Lokal is envisioned to contribute to the alleviation of poverty by providing jobs and livelihood opportunities to men and women in the region including the vulnerable groups.  Moreover, the effort of capacitating and assisting MSMEs and startups in utilizing technologies essential for their digital transformation can also contribute to achieving an innovation-driven economy in Western Visayas.  (SSalazar/DOST VI-KMU)