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The project is done through the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), an attached office of the DTI, in support of the SlingshotMNL initiative to create an “innovation ecosystem” nationwide.

Trade Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. said the hub provides space for start-ups to meet with prospective clients, network with government-agency experts and conduct businesses, under the guidance of concerned government agencies.

EMB Director Senen M. Perlada said that enabling innovation is a key goal in the Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP), the export component of the PEDP.

The PEDP underscores that having a National Innovative System (NIS) plays a part in enhancing the innovative capacity of the export sector.  Part of the NIS is providing an avenue for interaction and collaboration between and industries, which is what the innovation centers provide. The innovation centers will serve as venues where technology-based start-ups can meet and pitch ideas to investors, as well as collaborate with similar start-ups.

Aside from the EMB, the DTI’s “Innovation Circle”—DTI agencies and bureaus tasked to spur innovation in their program—is spearheaded by the Philippine Trade Training Center and the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.  It is also assisted by the Department of Science and Technology.

This group is led by Trade Undersecretary for Industry Promotion Nora K. Terrado, who envisions opening three more innovation centers in Cebu, Mindanao, and the Philippine Trade Training Center.

Terrado said opening centers nationwide is the agency’s target, as it pursues the goal to create an “innovation ecosystem” as stated in the government’s PEDP 2015-2017.

“We are progressing in our talks with stakeholders who will partner with us in running this place. As the first innovation hub, this will be used as a template for the three other Innovation hubs that we will target to establish this year,” Terrado said.

The three-year PEDP, the government’s primary blueprint for development, details government agencies’ specific goals and projects for the medium term to achieve growth.

The DTI considers the establishment of these innovation centers—essentially Internet-enabled venues for collaboration of “technopreneurs” with limited resources—to fulfill the PDP’s goal for industry developments.

The DTI has set up a total of 180 Negosyo Centers nationwide that aid small and medium enterprises in business registrations, provides business advisory, and business information and advocacy. □



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