February 23, 2024

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The Philippines signs Innovative Startup Act into law

The Philippines has recently signed into law Republic Act 11337 or the Innovative Startup Act. This new law will help start-ups and start-up enablers by providing incentives that include travel grants, access to a Startup Venture Fund, as well as assistance in getting visas and business permits.

As reported, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is one of the lead agencies in implementing this law.

Boosting the start-up ecosystem

The Department commits to implementing the law to foster an environment conducive to smarter entrepreneurs.

Aside from the DTI, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) are the host agencies to implement the Philippine Startup Development Program.

This is composed of programs, benefits and incentives for the start-up community.

There is so much entrepreneurial potential, talent, motivation, and optimism of the young population.  With the current strong momentum for collaboration between and among government, academe, and industry, together with the comprehensive fiscal and non-fiscal support of RA 11337, the start-up ecosystem will grow and develop.

The ecosystem will thrive and be able to catch up with neighbours, particularly in creating billion-dollar start-ups.

To avail of these incentives, start-ups and start-up enablers have to pass an application and selection process to be determined in the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR).

The first meeting to craft the IRR was held on 22 July at the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Incentives for start-ups

  1. Business registration assistance

Selected start-ups and enablers will get subsidies for business registration fees. The host agencies will also endorse their applications to be prioritised or expedited.

Moreover, the three agencies will also provide subsidies for use of office spaces, facilities, equipment, services, and repurposed government spaces.

  1. Travel assistance and start-up visas

For start-ups and enablers participating in local and international events, the three government agencies can help expedite travel documents and provide subsidies for airfare, baggage, per diem allowance, and other travel expenses.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will create start-up visas for owners, employees, and investors valid for five years and renewed with three-year validity.

Start-up visa holders will be exempted from getting an Alien Employment Permit issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)

Meanwhile, Filipino start-up executives will be eligible to apply for an APEC Business Travel Card, which streamlines the entry process for APEC-member countries for short business trips.

  1. Venture assistance

The host agencies will set up a start-up grant fund to provide grants-in-aid for research and development, training, and expansion plans.

DTI and the National Development Company (NDC) will also create a Startup Venture Fund to invest in start-ups based in the Philippines.

  1. Startup Philippines website and education programs

The DICT will launch a Startup Philippines website, where beneficiaries can inquire about the progress of all incentives awarded under the law.

The website will also contain a database of start-ups and enablers as well as relevant statistics, reports, and studies.

Other Agencies

Under the new law, the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) are also directed to integrate entrepreneurship in their curricula and provide grants and incentives to academic institutions.

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