By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that it will submit a set of assistance programs for startups affected by the COVID-19 for consideration by the Inter Agency Task Force on Emerging Diseases for inclusion in the proposed Economic Stimulus Act.
In a DTI response to the Startup Impact on Covid-19 webinar, Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba said they are submitting the agency’s proposal financing assistance to at least 70 percent of startups which have runways or cash flow of only up to 6 months.
“There are facilities dedicated for startups to develop new technologies and real world problem solutions with potential to drive up economies,” said Karl Pacolor, executive assistant of the Office of the DTI Undersecretary who represented Aldaba in the webinar.
There are at least three DTI measures-startup assistance during COVID Period. Foremost is the special emergency loans fund through the SB Corp. The DTI will also help in the The Acceleration, Techn Support, and Mentoring (Technical Assistance), and Startup Venture Fund.
DTI has also SMART Link to enable better linkages. Startups will be partnered with different enterprises to provide firms with modern and digital business solutions. Government will aid in facilitating and finding market opportunities for startups especially linking them to those firms that are interested to undergo digital transformation or adopt new solutions to address their needs.
The recent 2020 Philippine Startup Survey: COVID-19 Edition of Isla Lipana & Co./PwC Philippines (PwC) showed that almost half of tech startup founders said that COVID-1 has significant impact on their business operations, and is causing them great concern that majority of them may close operation in less than a year under an extended ECQ.
Survey results showed 62 percent say that they only have a cash runway of up to six months, and 70 percent say that they can only sustain by up to six months if the ECQ is extended. Yet interestingly, 21 percent of the founders say that COVID-19 is positively impacting their businesses, with an increasing demand for their products and services.
“These are unprecedented times. We have been surveying the Philippine tech startup ecosystem, tracking its progress, for several years, and conducted this follow-up study to better understand the impact COVID-19 has had on our startup community,” said Katrina Rausa Chan, Director of QBO.