President of the Philippines expected to sign bill that provides startup incentives

The measures include a USD 192 million R&D fund

Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte will soon sign a bill that seeks to support innovative startup ventures in the country, reports PhilStar. Once enacted into law, the bill will give a boost to the startup ecosystem in the country, specifically benefitting tech startups in the transport, finance and healthcare sectors.

Senate Bill 1532, also known as the ‘Innovative Startup Act’ was ratified by the Philippine Senate in February this year and had now reportedly been passed on to the President for his signature.

The bill calls for the creation of the Philippine Startup Development Program, which will be managed by the Departments of Science and Technology (DOST), Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and Trade and Industry (DTI).

These departments will work with other governmental bodies to provide innovative startups and service providers incentives and assistance, particularly in research of development.

According to the official statement released by the Senate early this year, the ‘Innovative Startup Act’ will provide startup founders access to a USD 192 million ‘Innovative Startup Venture Fund’ managed by the Department of Science and Technology.

Other notable forms of assistance include tax breaks and grants; networking opportunities with potential investors, mentors, and national government agencies; as well as relaxed immigration procedures for tech workers.

“A thriving start-up ecosystem requires close collaboration between the public and private sectors,” said Luis Raymund Villafuerte from the Philippine House of Representatives told local media.

The Philippines has been lagging behind in introducing government efforts that nurture the startup ecosystem unlike countries like Singapore, Indonesia, and Cambodia. The country’s startup ecosystem, remains relatively small compared to its regional counterparts, even though the Philippines is the second-most populous country in the region after Indonesia.

Editor: Nadine Freischlad