Makati City, Philippines – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has set an ambitious target for the Philippines' startup ecosystem, aiming to expand it to a USD10 billion industry by 2028. This projection is underpinned by the government's enabling policies and support from the private sector.
According to Philippines News Agency, speaking at the PH Startup Week launching in Makati City, the local startups' value is expected to more than double from the current value of Metro Manila startups, which stands at USD3.5 billion in 2023. Aldaba expressed optimism about achieving this target through various programs and policies, including the construction of infrastructure to foster a dynamic and robust startup ecosystem.
Aldaba also emphasized the goal of increasing the share of startups outside Metro Manila to around 20 percent of the total startup ecosystem value by 2028. Currently, Metro Manila alone boasts over 1,100 startups, 60 incubators and accelerators, and more than 50 investors and venture capitals.
The Philippine Innovation Act and the Innovative Startup Act, both enacted into law in 2019, have been instrumental in expanding the local startup ecosystem. These laws provide critical resources to promote innovation and support the growth and development of the country's startup sector. The Philippine Innovation Act establishes a National Innovation Council and an innovation plan, including building innovation centers and business incubators. Meanwhile, the Innovative Startup Act offers financial subsidies, such as tax breaks and grants, startup visas, startup ecosystem development, startup grant funding, and an innovative startup venture fund.
Aldaba highlighted that the goal extends beyond economic metrics, focusing on cultivating a culture of innovation where creative ideas and new solutions are actively pursued. She pointed out that an innovation ecosystem is vital for attracting investments, generating employment, and enhancing the country's competitiveness.
The government's support of PHP800 million in grants has benefited over 900 startups and incubators. To further bolster the startup ecosystem, the DTI plans to build a Creative and Innovation Hub in Marikina and an Industry 4.0 Pilot Factory, which will provide access to new technological equipment. Additionally, a Center for Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research is set to be established as a hub for data scientists and researchers to support the AI needs of various enterprises and serve as a training and mentorship center for AI startups.
Aldaba also mentioned the DTI's partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a USD400 million loan to fund the Innovation Gateway, a central location for innovation activities. The DTI has secured a 1,200-square-meter land in Pasay City from the National Development Company (NDC) for this purpose.