DTI, DICT, DOST sign joint order creating steering panel for startup law

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) issued on Wednesday, March 22, a Joint Administrative Order (JAO) creating a Steering Committee under Republic Act 11337 or the Innovative Startup Act.

Photo shows (from top, left) DTI secretary Ramon Lopez, DOST secretary Fortunato de la Peña, and DICT secretary Gregorio Honasan II

The Steering Committee will provide strategic guidance and oversight in the formulation, implementation, and development of the Philippine Startup Development Program. It will be composed of a total of nine members, three from each agency, and will be initially chaired by DTI for two years.

In his message, DTI secretary Ramon Lopez said the JAO “institutionalizes the mechanism for inter-agency coordination among the three lead host agencies, thereby ensuring the harmonized and strategic formulation and implementation of the Philippine Startup Development Program.”

Under the JAO, the DTI, DICT, and DOST are authorized to provide the following incentives to startups and startup enablers that have passed the selection and application process:

  • Access to capital funding,
  • Subsidized business registration and other administrative and operational perks,
  • Training and research and development, and
  • Endorsement for the expedited processing of applications and travel visas, among others.

Together with Lopez during the ceremonial signing of the JAO were DOST secretary Fortunato de la Peña and DICT secretary Gregorio Honasan II. They were joined by DTI undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba, DICT undersecretary Emmanuel Caintic, and DOST undersecretary Rowena Guevara. 

In her remarks, Aldaba provided updates about the DTI’s startup development programs. These include the following:

  • SMART (or Strategic MSMLE and Startup) Link Program, which aims to connect local enterprises with startups to assist in their digitalization;
  • Startup Acceleration and Innovation with DTI (or StartupAID), which will provide customized development programs for qualified startups;
  • Startup Ecosystem Mapping, which seeks to gather updated information about the country’s startup ecosystem;
  • Startup Venture Fund, which will offer equity financing to innovative startups; the Startup Business One Stop Shop (SBOSS), which will facilitate end-to-end business registration for startups; and
  • Startup promotion activities. 

Lopez noted that despite the pandemic, startups have demonstrated their agility and resilience by pivoting their entrepreneurial ventures or making adjustments to their business operations. 

“This is what startup is all about: finding solutions to problems. The more meaningful and relevant solutions are those that will address social problems. This is so that they respond to the current demands of consumers or the pressing needs of our society,” he said.

The trade chief also announced that the government is allocating P250 million this year for the Startup Venture Fund, which will be administered through the DTI-attached National Development Company (NDC). 

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