By Genalyn Kabiling
A measure providing subsidies and other benefits to strengthen and development of new innovative businesses has been signed into law by President Duterte.
Republic Act No. 11337, also known as the “Innovative Startup Act,” creates the Philippine Startup Development Program that includes facilitating a startup venture fund, easier business registration processes, and training programs.
The new law declared the State’s policy “to foster inclusive growth through an innovative economy by streamlining government and nongovernment initiatives, in both local and international spheres, to create new jobs and opportunities, improve production, and advance innovation and trade in the country.”
“To this end, the State shall provide incentives and remove constraints aimed at encouraging the establishment and operation of innovative new businesses, business crucial to their growth and expansion, and to strengthen, promote, and develop an ecosystem of business and government and nongovernment institutions that foster an innovative entrepreneurial culture in the Philippines,” he said.
Under the law, the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Information and Communications Technology and Department of Trade Industry will be the lead agencies to monitor, develop and expand the startup development program.
The new law allows innovative startups enjoy full or partial subsidies in the application of business permits as well as use of government facilities, equipment and spaces; endorsement of host agency for expedited processing of applications; and grants-in-aid for research, development, training and expansion projects.
For those participating in local and international startup events, the starts can enjoy expedited processing of travel documents; full or partial subsidy for government fees for travel, baggage allowance, and roundtrip airfare; and per diem allowance.
The law also directed the Philippine Economic Zone to promote the creation of Philippine Startup Ecozones while the DTI must develop a “startup investment development plan.”
A startup grant fund will be created under the DOST, DICT, and DTI to provide support to qualified startups and startup enablers.
The law also mandated the DTI to create the “startup venture fund” that will be used to match investments by selected investors in startups based in the country.
The Department of Foreign Affairs will also create the “startup visas” that will be valid for an initial five years and may be renewed or extended with a three-year validity. Bearers of the visa will be exempt from securing the Alien Employment Permit issued by the DOLE.
The law also mandates the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to develop and integrate in their curricula entrepreneurial programs to foster an environment conducive to innovation.
They must also extend incentives to schools who provide funds and grants for the research of their students and faculty.
The law, signed by the President last April 26, was released by the Palace Thursday.