L-R (front row): Mr. Pjotr Steinmetz, Founder and Owner of Business Connect; DTI Secretary Fred Pascual; DTI Undersecretary for Communications Kim B. Lokin; Jack Madrid, IBPAP President | L-R (back row): Dan Lachica, SEIPI  President; PTIC – Brussels Commercial Counsellor Magnolia Ashley; Laura Borsboon of Business Connect; Roland Rutten of Business Connect; Board of Investments Executive Director Evariste Cagatan; Director Lanie Dormiendo

THE NETHERLANDS — As part of the Marcos Jr. administration’s efforts to attract more investments for the Philippines, DTI Secretary Fred Pascual spearheaded three business meetings on Friday, 30 June 2023, during the Netherlands leg of the Europe Investment Roadshow jointly organized by the Board of Investments (BOI) and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Brussels, Belgium.

One of the meetings was with Business Connect, a Dutch consulting company focused on setting up startup ecosystems worldwide. Led by Mr. Pjotr Steinmetz, Business Connect had successfully established startup communities in the Netherlands and Taiwan. They are now working towards establishing a similar ecosystem in the Philippines through a collaboration with Techshake, Asia’s most active Philippine-based Startup Ecosystem Builder that creates thousands of connections and opportunities for startups.

During the meeting, Secretary Pascual praised Business Connect for their role in fostering startup communities and looks forward to their upcoming trade mission to the Philippines in October.  Together with the Dutch Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (DCCP) and in coordination with the PTIC-Brussels, Business Connect is leading a trade mission from the Netherlands to the Philippines on 9 to 13 October, which will be composed of Dutch startups and other companies involved in high-tech, agricultural technology, and water sectors. The trade mission will coincide with IGNITE Philippines that is scheduled on 12-13 October.

“We are looking forward to your visit in the Philippines as you work in organizing a trade mission to our country. I would like to emphasize that one of the top priorities of the DTI under my leadership is to create an enabling environment for startups through the Startup Act which was signed into law on 26 April 2019,” Secretary Pascual said.

The Republic Act No. 11337 also known as the Innovative Startup Act aims to strengthen, promote, and develop an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem and culture in the Philippines. It focuses on providing benefits and removing constraints to encourage the establishment and operation of innovative new enterprises and businesses.

From L-R: An Christine Gojar of Xynix; Charade Avondo of Xynix; PTIC – Brussels Commercial Counsellor Magnolia Ashley; Dan Lachica, President of SEIPI; DTI Secretary Fred Pascual

Furthermore, Secretary Pascual met with Xinyx Semiconductor Design Services, Inc. (Xinyx Semicon), a pioneer integrated circuit (IC) design solutions house based in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. The Company started in 2007 with only six (6) employees and since then, it has grown to 348 employees with a branch in Cagayan de Oro and in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.

Ms. Charade Avondo, President of Xinyx Semicon, shared their plans to establish a base in The Netherlands to cater to companies in need of IC design services. They also expressed their interest in hiring more Filipino engineers from top technical schools, colleges, and universities through collaborations.

In response, Secretary Pascual said, “We thank Xinyx for its initiative of hiring more Filipino engineers, this will not only generate more jobs for our kababayans but will also help invigorate the Philippine economy. Our engineers are known for their skills, dedication, and adaptability in various engineering disciplines. They are recognized for their strong technical skills and knowledge and we are keen on seeing them share their expertise with your clients.”

Likewise, Secretary Pascual expressed his support toward Ms. Avondo’s advocacy of improving the quality of IT engineering graduates in the Philippines, which would enhance the country’s ability to provide world-class engineering services to the European market.

Finally, Secretary Pascual also led the meeting with BlueCap Hydro, a leading manufacturer of innovative and integrated micro hydropower generators and an initiator and co-developer of micro hydropower projects. BlueCap Hydro was represented by its CEO and Founder Mr. Duco Wansink and Commercial Director and Co-Founder, Mr. Damiano Piacenza.

Secretary Pascual affirmed the continued support of the Philippine government in setting up a manufacturing facility for micro grid power generators in the country. He also emphasized the importance of the energy sector as a backbone for establishing and sustaining industry value chains and the main driver for industry development.

“As we aim to fill up value chain gaps and increase value-added activities in the country, the energy sector plays a vital role in providing sufficient, stable, and secured energy to strategic industries that we target to locate in the country,” he said.

BlueCap Hydro confirmed its contract with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) to deploy 50 x 50KW micro-hydropower plants in the Philippines. The project aims to provide off-grid energy to run irrigation pumps and provide post-harvest value-added activities such as drying and cooling of agricultural produce.

Also present during the meeting were Philippine Ambassador to The Netherlands H.E. Jose Eduardo Malaya, DTI Undersecretary for Communications Kim B. Lokin, Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary Mylene Capongcol, PTIC – Brussels Commercial Counsellor Magnolia Ashley, Board of Investments Executive Director Evariste Cagatan, Director Lanie Dormiendo, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) President Jack Madrid, and Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) President Dan Lachica. *

Date of release: 05 July 2023