Gov’t rolls out upgraded tech business incubation program

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has launched the “TBI 4.0 Program” to upgrade the capabilities of the agency’s TBI (technology business incubation) network through a more transformational intervention that would set off the “internationalization” of Philippine TBIs.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) among partner agencies, led by the DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), was signed on Wednesday, November 20, during the 3rd National TBI Summit held in celebration of the Philippine Startup Week at the Crowne Plaza in Ortigas, Pasig City.

The TBI 4.0 program hopes to put the country in the map by partnering and collaborating with incubators and accelerators from other countries, developing and implementing startup programs with these partners, and co-incubating and immersing Philippine startups in global environments.

“Through the DOST TBI 4.0 Program, we are currently levelling up our DOST TBIs to be at par with well-known foreign incubators and put the Philippines on the map in terms of services and startup support. We aim for global presence and offer our startups opportunities so they can scale and grow,” said DOST secretary Fortunato dela Peña of the DOST.

To achieve this, the DOST will map out strategies to build capacities of each DOST incubator, seek out formalized partnerships with foreign incubators and accelerator in order to enhance the services of the TBIs.

Partners already on-board are Villgro Social Enterprise Ventures, Swinburne University, BCB Innovation, SPINOFF Acadasia, ThaiBISPA, and local partners Ideaspace and Spring Valley.

The TBI 4.0 program provides funding support to eight DOST-funded TBIs to lead the assessment, co-development of incubation programs, capacity building, and co-incubation arrangements.

The program lead is QBO Innovation Hub in partnership with UPSCALE Innovation Hub of the University of the Philippines, CDO BITES of the University of Science and Technology in Southern Philippines, Ideya of Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology, Center for Technopreneurship and Innovation (CTI) of Batangas State University, GTBI of West Visayas State University, Animo Labs of the De La Salle University, and UPLB SIBOL or Startup Innovation and Business Opportunity Linkage Labs.

The TBI 4.0 Program is a response to the signing of the MOU for the “Inclusive Filipinnovation and Entrepreneurship Roadmap” crafted by the DTI, DOST, DICT, DepEd, CHED, and NEDA in 2018 wherein the government agreed on building the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem of the country to seize market opportunities and address the challenges of Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 is a strategy and trend adopted by many countries towards automation in manufacturing technologies, which includes internet of things (IoT), cloud computing, cognitive computing, and artificial intelligence.

As early as 2009, however, the DOST has already established its TBI program, which has launched 45 incubators around the country and supported over 320 startups, more than 1,200 jobs, more than 110 full-blown companies, and generated more than 280 million private investments.

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