The National Development Corp., the government investment arm under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), has approved P250 million venture fund for tech startups.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez. (ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO FILE PHOTO)

This was announced by DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, who is also NDC chairman, during the Innovative Startup Act Joint Administrative Order Virtual Presser on Monday.

According to Lopez, NDC approved the fund venture during their meeting last week.

“NDC has included in their budget for this year the setting up of a P250 million venture fund that we committed last year. Although we were affected by the pandemic and there was a bit of difficulty in completing the process, nevertheless, it is in our agenda for this year and hopefully we will be able to launch that venture fund to be managed by NDC,” he said. 

Lopez said this as he reaffirmed the commitment of the DTI together with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to support the growth of Filipino startups, as well as develop the country’s startup ecosystem. 

The issuance of Joint Administrative Order (JAO) establishing the Steering Committee under Republic Act (RA) 11337, or the Innovative Startup Act, will institutionalize the mechanism for inter-agency coordination among the three lead host agencies. This will then ensure the harmonized and strategic formulation and implementation of the Philippine Startup Development Program. DTI will serve as the inaugural chair of the Steering Committee, then succeeded by DOST, and then by DICT thereafter. 

Although the Steering Committee has just been formally constituted, Lopez said the three lead host agencies have been working together since the enactment of the startup law in 2019. 

Specifically, the three agencies have been aligning respective programs for startups and implementing initiatives in pursuit of the objectives of the law.

These agencies are also currently working with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) on setting up the Startup Business One-Stop Shop (SBOSS). This will be anchored in the Central Business Portal (CBP) and will be made accessible through the Startup Website being developed. 

 The SBOSS aims to facilitate end-to-end registration of startups. It is also envisioned to serve as a platform containing all information about regulations on opening, operating, closing, or exiting a startup, consistent with RA 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

The DTI. ARTA, DICT, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) are also working on a Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) and are considering the exemption of startups in some of the business permit requirements. 

Lopez noted that despite the pandemic, startups demonstrate their agility and resilience by pivoting their entrepreneurial ventures or making adjustments to their business operations. “This is what startup is all about: finding solutions to problems. The more meaningful and relevant solutions are those that will address social problems. This is so that they respond to the current demands of consumers or the pressing needs of our society,” he said.

Lopez also cited the continuing assistance provided by various startup enablers from the private sector—including incubators, accelerators, and funders— for startups, especially those in their early stages. “Thanks to you, our startups find ways to grow and thrive despite these trying times,” he said.

He further said the Philippine startup community is always open to partnerships with investors, funders, mentors and other enablers, including those from other countries. 

Source: Manila Bulletin (