Signing of the JAO creating a steering committee under the Innovative Startup Act by officials from DTI, DOST, and DICT.

MAKATI—The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) issued on 22 March 2021 a Joint Administrative Order (JAO) creating a Steering Committee under Republic Act 11337 or the Innovative Startup.

The Steering Committee will provide strategic guidance and oversight in the formulation, implementation, and development of the Philippine Startup Development Program. It will be composed of a total of nine members, three from each agency, and will be initially chaired by DTI for two years.

In his message, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez highlighted that the JAO “institutionalizes the mechanism for inter-agency coordination among the three lead host agencies, thereby ensuring the harmonized and strategic formulation and implementation of the Philippine Startup Development Program.”

Under the JAO, DTI, DICT, and DOST are authorized to provide the following incentives to startups and startup enablers that have passed the selection and application process: access to capital funding, subsidized business registration and other administrative and operational perks, training and research and development, and endorsement for the expedited processing of applications and travel visas, among others.

Together with Secretary Lopez during the ceremonial signing of the JAO were DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña and DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II. They were joined by DTI Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba, DICT Undersecretary Emmanuel Caintic, and DOST Undersecretary Rowena Guevara.

In her remarks, Undersecretary Aldaba provided updates about the DTI’s startup development programs. These include the following: Strategic MSMLE and Startup (or SMART) Link Program, which aims to connect local enterprises with startups to assist in their digitalization; Startup Acceleration and Innovation with DTI (or StartupAID), which will provide customized development programs for qualified startups; Startup Ecosystem Mapping, which seeks to gather updated information about the country’s startup ecosystem; Startup Venture Fund, which will offer equity financing to innovative startups; the Startup Business One Stop Shop (SBOSS), which will facilitate end-to-end business registration for startups; and startup promotion activities.

Sec. Lopez noted that despite the pandemic, startups demonstrated their agility and resilience by pivoting their entrepreneurial ventures or making adjustments to their business operations.

“This is what startup is all about: finding solutions to problems. The more meaningful and relevant solutions are those that will address social problems. This is so that they respond to the current demands of consumers or the pressing needs of our society,” he said.

The trade chief also announced that the government is allocating P250M this year for the Startup Venture Fund, which will be administered through the DTI-attached National Development Company (NDC). For startup updates, follow the DTI Competitiveness and Innovation Group on Facebook. ♦

Date of Release: 24 March 2021