Investors, entrepreneurs and mentors around the world are showing increasing interest in Southeast Asia as an exciting innovation and startup frontier. Taking advantage of this trend, Singapore-based Joyful Frog Digital Incubator (JFDI) opened its first international office in Cebu, Philippines earlier this month. The new office will manage the growing community around JFDI’s entrepreneur support programs and act as an information hub for enquiries from investors, entrepreneurs and mentors around the world who want to set up businesses in Southeast Asia. JFDI will also deliver its remote startup induction program JFDI Discover worldwide in Cebu.
JFDI was founded in Singapore in January 2010 by co-founders Wong Meng Weng (Chairman) and Hugh Mason (CEO). It was the first business accelerator in Southeast Asia and in January this celebrated its fifth year in business. So far JFDI has accelerated 50 startups through its flagship JFDI Accelerate program. Calling itself Asia’s #1 business accelerator, JFDI has worked with many startups around the world looking to expand into Southeast Asia. Apart from the JFDI Accelerate program, the company offers open house events and ‘try-before-you-buy’ startup education courses.
Hugh Mason, Co-founder and CEO at JFDI said: “Our belief is that there never will be one central ‘Silicon Valley of Asia’ that prototypes technologies ready to replicate like a cookie cutter across a continent. Our region is just too diverse for that. But entrepreneurs share a common bond the world over and we see again and again that community is our secret sauce. So the opportunity for JFDI is to link people who should be working with each other in a network of trust and partnership that gives all its members access to a bigger league in which to play.”
The company chose Cebu to set up its first overseas facility because the city offers a talented workforce and an exciting local ecosystem.
Acknowledging the work done by organisations like Techtalks PH and the local authorities to support entrepreneurs in Cebu Mason said: “Over the last five years JFDI has worked with a string of great startups from the Philippines that combine both technical competence and unusually strong interpersonal skills. So it seems a natural place to base our community management and outreach operations. With staff visiting regularly, we hope to support what others are doing in the city to build the startup ecosystem of Cebu.”
The local community of entrepreneurs have welcomed JFDI to Cebu. JFDI’s arrival in Cebu has been welcomed by the local community of entrepreneurs. Anthony Noel, Business Development Director of Philippines-based startup Lenddo said the presence of JFDI has put Cebu and the Philippines on the global startup map.