By Kristina Noelle S. Andaya

22 December 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

IN an effort to strengthen efforts to promote and assist Philippine start-ups, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) during the second National Technology Business Incubator Summit on December 19 at the Manila Hotel’s Centennial Hall.

The MOU aims to promote, assist and support Philippine start-ups, with the three government agencies implementing projects, events and/or endeavors by way of tie-ups, joint program activities, or cost matching in future events and activities.

The MOU is based on the Action Plan of the Startups Assistance Program 2019-2023. It is initiated by DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) and co-developed with the DOST, DTI, and DICT in partnership with the 14 DOST Technology Business Incubators (TBIs), including QBO Philippines and AIM-DBI, private partners such as Ideaspace, Launch Garage, Startup Village, PhilDEv, Trade Lawyers and government partners such as the Office of Senator Bam Aquino and CHED.

Highlighted in the action plan are the major issues that will be addressed by the body over the five-year period such as the disconnect between government programs and private initiatives; limitations in terms of access to funds; policy issues such as the definitions and metrics to be applied to the start-up community; the current mindset being risk-averse and the fear of failure; and the necessary skillset for start-ups to succeed.

The proposed action plan and road map recommends four strategic priorities (collaboration, policy, promotion and education) as its major themes and suggests a line-up of activities for 2019 to 2023 which includes, but not limited to: establish a working group and a Philippine Business Incubator Network, Build an online information system for start-ups, benchmark ecosystems, digital campaigns, organize conferences, and create a more robust road map, among others.
1          The action  plan revolves on a roadmap of activities that may lead to a much firmer and stronger Roadmap for Philippine Startups and allows key partners and stakeholders to work together separately but cohesively for a stronger, inclusive and sustainable start-up ecosystem.

The second National TBI Summit aimed to feature the initiatives and cooperation of both private and university-based incubators, the various start-up communities and organizations involved in enabling and supporting start-ups. The TBI Summit started as small tea sessions among TBIs and private accelerators and initially advocated for enhanced connectivity in the start-up community.

From the little tea sessions, the event has grown to a 300-strong summit with the first one held in Cebu City in November 2017. This year, the event was scheduled back-to-back with an international event, the Asean Technology Business Incubator Network Forum (December 15 to 18, Jen Hotel, Pasay City).

For the second National TBI Summit, the event featured panel discussions with the DTI, DOST and DICT in supporting start-ups and with private accelerators. There is also a sharing of best practices.