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MAKATI CITY — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has taken the wheels in driving innovation across the country as it leads the Innovative Startup Steering Committee (ISSC).
Comprising the ISSC are representatives from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The changing of the guard, so to speak, was implemented at the opening of the 2023 Philippine Startup Week (PSW) at the Makati Diamond Residences on November 20, with hundreds of attendees from the public-private sector, startup founders, venture capitalists, members of the news media, and others.
“We at DOST recognize the crucial role we play in assessing, monitoring, developing, and expanding the Philippine Startup Development Program (PSDP) as mandated in the Innovation Startup Act,” said DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum, Jr.
Republic Act (RA) 11337, or the Innovative Startup Act, enabled the development of the PSDP where startups will be supported by the respective mandates of national government agencies through programs, benefits, and incentives starting from the onset of ideas, development of products, to marketing, and expansion.
True to its mandate, DOST continues to bolster the innovation startup ecosystem across the country through the various programs it initiated and supported.
Solidum added that since the enactment of the Innovative Startup Act and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) in 2019, DOST have left an indelible mark on the landscape of Philippine startups.
Under its three sectoral planning councils – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD), and the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), DOST initiated the Startup Grant Fund (SGF) Program that was able to provide Php230 million to more than 60 startups to overcome their R&D (research & development roadblocks, to strengthen their intellectual property (IP) by means of protection, and development of the appropriate IP strategies.
“DOST, DICT, and DTI are here to support you.”
Meanwhile, the Women Helping Women Innovating Social Enterprises (WHWISE) Program focuses on women-led enterprises promoting equity and inclusivity to women entrepreneurs. The program has helped 15 enterprises since 2021 with a total funding of Php53 million.
Fostering collaboration with various higher education institutions and state universities and colleges, the Technology Business Incubation (TBI) program was developed to set up and capacitate TBI facilities at their institution. As of 2023, DOST established 54 TBI networks and is pursuing to add 27 new TBIs with a funding of Php400 million in the next two years.
DOST also takes proactive efforts in reaching all 16 regions to accelerate the growth and strengthen the startup ecosystem across the country through the Regional Startup Enabler for Ecosystem Development (ReSEED) Program with a total funding of Php120 million.
Moving forward, DOST commits to value and practice a strengthened collaboration among the members of the ISSC to streamline a strategic plan of the committee for the next five years and to harmonize their current programs for startup innovation of the country. DOST also hopes for an active participation of the private sector in backing up startups and startup enablers for a healthy economic ecosystem, among others.
Solidum also emphasized that “DOST, DICT, and DTI are here to support you, provide programs, resources, funding opportunities, and mentorship to help you [startups] thrive and succeed.
Joining the Fireside Chat Forum, DOST Undersecretary for R&D Leah J. Buendia emphasized the importance of partnerships and diversification in molding startups to become global game changers: “For startup to position themselves as global game changers, they have to develop a global vision and strategy, build a strong and diverse team, find international strategic partners, leverage technologies, and adapt to international markets and cultures.”
The Philippines is also conducting the 2023 PSW from November 20 to 24 – with the theme, “Investing in Filipino Homegrown Heroes as Global Game Changers,” – highlighting and showcasing the Philippine startup ecosystem. (✓)