26 January 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

THE country is working to grow and develop industry clusters in a bid to create an inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

A policy brief released by the Department of Trade and Industry—Bureau of Trade and Industrial (DTI) Policy Research said regional inclusive innovation centers (RIICs) will build upon the existing industry clusters in the regions, and capitalize on the cluster strategies being implemented by the national and regional governments.

It said RIICs aim to improve supply chain, value adding and agro-processing, as well as systems for food and agricultural research, access to technologies, financing, regulation and certification particularly for high-value crops such as rubber, mangoes, coffee, cacao and coconut.

These will also promote the Philippines as an agribusiness regional hub and increase its participation in the global value chain as a supplier of semi-processed or finished farm products.

RIICs, likewise, will provide a directory of regional products and services and serve as venues for startups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to connect and network with industry experts to enhance their entrepreneurial know-how and enable them to be Industry 4.0-ready, it added.

“As common points for convergence, RIICs will be able to galvanize a shared direction among stakeholders and provide a venue to weave together and/or harmonize programs and projects in support of innovation and entrepreneurship in the regions,” the report said.

It noted that “connecting and integrating” the key elements and stakeholders of the Philippine innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem is crucial, as the country also addresses its weak innovation performance.

“These RIICs are envisioned to be at the heart of Philippine economic transformation and serve as linchpin of productive collaborations between and among industries, universities, government agencies, local government units, start-ups, MSMEs, research and development laboratories, science and technology, parks, incubators, FabLabs, investors, among many other agents in the ecosystem,” it added.

Apart from growing and developing industry clusters, the report identified other strategies meant to create an inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.  

These include strong government-academe-industry linkages, human capital development towards innovation and entrepreneurship, enabling policy environment to accelerate innovation and entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship culture and support programs for MSMEs; and funding and financing for innovation and entrepreneurship.