MANILA — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is targeting an initial PHP125 million in venture funds to match investments from selected investors to Philippine-based startups as authorities have signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the law providing incentives to these firms.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said the amount, representing half of the projected PHP250 million to assist the first batch of 50 startups, will serve as a commercial investment fund to scale up deserving startups.

Lopez said the DTI, in coordination with the government’s investment arm, National Development Company, will administer the Startup Venture Fund.

“NDC can develop that fund now that the IRR is out,” he told reporters. “Of course, they (startups) are open to solicit and pitch to other venture capitalists.”

The IRR for Republic Act No. 11337, also known as the Innovation Startup Act, was signed on Friday. Such legislation creates the Philippine Startup Development Program that is set to offer “programs, benefits and incentives” for both startups and enablers.

Aside from the investment fund, Lopez said the government will provide deserving startups with an accelerator program, training, and mentorship connecting them to the global market, among others.

“These are the other non-fiscal support, the benefits that we can grant the participants,” he added.

Present at the signing of the IRR were Lopez, Department of Science of Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Gregorio Honasan II, and QBO Innovation Hub (QBO) president Rene Meily, along with Filipino startup advocates, enablers, and communities.

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Dela Peña said his department has incubated 220 startups, 70 of which have graduated into full-blown enterprises.

“So this new Startup Act, we expect to be able to do more,” he said.

Honasan said his department will create a Startup Philippine website which will serve as the primary source of an online database of information, such as events and programs that will benefit the startups, enablers, and related enterprises in the country.

“For three years, your DICT has been implementing and continuously developing programs aimed at promoting startups. The passage of RA 11337 will enable us to explore more ways to widen our reach in this area,” he said. (PNA)





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