Philippines Bill to Provide Incentives for Innovative Start-ups

Apr 2019

The Philippines government is taking a significant step to make local startups more competitive in the region. Senate Bill 1532 or the Innovative Startup Act is awaiting President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.  The Innovative Startup Act aims to provide a set of benefits and incentives to innovative startups and startup enablers, especially those involved in transportation, finance, and healthcare and whose core business function involves an innovative product, process, or business model. Under the bill, a startup is defined as a registered business entity operating for no longer than 60 months in the country.

It seeks to eliminate hurdles in establishing the business and streamline registration procedures, as well as provide support services like grants-in-aid for R&D; and support for expansion projects approved by the Secretary of the granting agency; exemption from fees and charges levied by the national government agencies for the use of equipment, facilities or services availed by the innovative start up; protection of patents and other proprietary rights of innovative startups and support service providers from infringement; and access to applicable benefits and incentives provided by the Intellectual Property of the Philippines.

An Innovative Startup Visa will also be formulated to exempt bearers from securing an Alien Employment Permit from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Furthermore, the bill is to create a Philippine Startup Development Program collaboratively spearheaded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), together with other concerned government agencies. The three agencies will implement rules and regulations, develop programs and policies, in consultation with the private startups. Some perks in the pipeline include aiding in R&D, access to local and international training programs and competitions, platform to network with local and international investors, mentors and collaborators, and creation of Startup Philippines website as a primary source of information.

The government will reportedly allot a fund of USD 192 million to be shared by the three agencies, DOST, DICT and DTI. 

(Sources: Manila Bulletin; Tech in Asia)

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