Philippine bill that will assist startups nears approval

The Innovative Startup Act just needs presidential approval.

Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash

A bill that seeks to support innovative startups in the Philippines is now awaiting the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte for it to become a law following its ratification by the Senate last week.

Senate Bill 1532, or the Innovative Startup Act, was authored by Senator Bam Aquino, and seeks to assist startups by providing them with financial subsidies such as tax breaks and grants. The bill, if enacted into law, will benefit tech startups whose platforms address the country’s problems in transportation, healthcare, financing, and other areas.

“These are startups that provide unique and relevant solutions to our problems, from daily hassles, like finding a taxi during rush hour, to improving the delivery of healthcare, providing support for our farmers, and addressing unemployment,” Aquino said last May during the third and final reading of the bill at Senate.

According to a press statement released by the Senate, the Innovative Startup Act will also give founders access to a PHP 10 billion (US$191.6 million) Innovative Startup Venture Fund that they can use to finance their businesses. The fund will be managed by the Department of Science and Technology.

Aquino has underscored the need for an environment where startups can grow their businesses and succeed in their respective fields. He noted how some startups in other countries, such as the United States and Israel, have become successful due to support from their respective governments.

President Duterte’s approval of the bill could spell a difference for the country’s startup community. As 2018 wrapped up, KrASIA reported how Philippine startups lagged behind their counterparts last year in venture capital funding.

Early this month, venture capital and private equity players in the Philippines have also launched an industry association to stir up the startup investment space in the country. VC firm Gobi Partners has also teamed up with local fund Core Capital to launch a US$10 million fund in the Philippines.

Editor: Brady Ng