Ladies and gentlemen, magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)—together with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)—reaffirm our commitment to support the growth of our startups, as well as develop the country’s startup ecosystem.

The issuance of the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) establishing the Steering Committee under Republic Act (RA) 11337, or the Innovative Startup Act, will institutionalize the mechanism for inter-agency coordination among the three lead host agencies. This will then ensure the harmonized and strategic formulation and implementation of the Philippine Startup Development Program. As agreed, DTI will serve as the inaugural chair of the Steering Committee, then succeeded by DOST, and then by DICT thereafter.

Although the Steering Committee is only being formally constituted now, the three lead host agencies have been working together since the enactment of the startup law in 2019. Specifically, we have been aligning our respective programs for startups and implementing initiatives in pursuit of the objectives of the law. But even before the passage of the law, we have long recognized that developing the country’s startup ecosystem requires coordination among concerned government agencies and collaboration with stakeholders from the startup community. We will hear updates on these later from the Undersecretaries.

Just to mention one update: currently, we are working with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and DICT on setting up the Startup Business One-Stop Shop (SBOSS). This will be anchored in the Central Business Portal (CBP) and will be made accessible through the Startup Website being developed. The SBOSS aims to facilitate end-to-end registration of startups. This is also envisioned to serve as a platform containing all information about regulations on opening, operating, closing, or exiting a startup, consistent with RA 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018. DTI—together with ARTA, DICT, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)—are working on a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) and are considering the exemption of startups in some of the business permit requirements.  I must mention that just last week in our National Development Company (NDC) meeting, NDC has included in their budget for this year the setting up of a Php250M venture fund that we committed last year. Although we were affected by the pandemic and there was a bit of difficulty in completing the process, nevertheless, it is in our agenda for this year and hopefully we will be able to launch that venture fund to be managed by NDC.

As we hold today’s virtual presser amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, it is inspiring to see how our startups demonstrate 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.

Thus, we wish to acknowledge the continuing assistance provided by our various startup enablers from the private sector—including incubators, accelerators, and funders—to our startups, especially those in their early stages. Thanks to you, our startups find ways to grow and thrive despite these trying times.

What’s more, our community is always open to partnerships with investors and other enablers, including those from other countries. As such, we will continue to explore opportunities—both domestically and overseas—to promote our startups and enable them to network with potential mentors, funders, and other partners.

Together with DOST and DICT, DTI is always here to support our startups and foster innovation and entrepreneurship among our people. By working together in a whole-of-society effort, we can build back better to give our people a more comfortable and greater quality of life as promised by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Maraming salamat po at magandang hapon sa ating lahat

Date of Release: 22 March 2021