The Philippines, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, is getting serious about entrepreneurship.
The archipelago has announced plans to build a national innovation center, taking cue from MaGIC in Malaysia, Block 71 in Singapore and, of course, Silicon Valley in the United States— Porter’s theory of clusters is well and alive.
The initiative is a collaborative effort between start-up accelerator IdeaSpace, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). The initiative represents the Philippines’ first ever public-private partnership focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship.
Initial funding of PHP 30 million (US$665,000) will come from the government. The private sector will invest up to PHP 15 million (US$332,000).
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Earl Martin Valencia, president and co-founder at IdeaSpace, is well excited about the prospect of building the Philippines’ own innovation hub. “When we founded IdeaSpace in 2012, we wanted to find the next big innovative idea and create a startup ecosystem that embodies the Silicon Valley-mindset of using technology and science to create massive change in the world,” said Valencia.
“Now, we realize the dream to create Philippines’ own innovation hub with our initial collaboration with the government and the academy where startups and high-potential research can get the support they need in order to grow and thrive.”
The innovation center will have two locations, both of which will be near the country’s top universities. Valencia hopes this will support the spirit of creative and entrepreneurial thinking among students, tap into a wellspring of engineering and technology talent from these universities, and address the growing interest of students in founding Philippines startups.
The center will also serve as a venue for government agencies and academic institutions to promote products, to establish connections with the investment community and to facilitate transfer of their R&D results.
“It has always been DOST’s thrust to support technology transfer of R&D output, either through commercialization or deployment for public good. The innovation center, we believe, will be a critical and effective agent in delivering R&D results to the people,” DOST undersecretary Rowena Cristina Guevara commented on the matter.
DTI undersecretary Nora Terrado added: “The DTI strongly supports entrepreneurship and innovation in the Philippines to realize economic growth that is truly inclusive. Tech startups present a growing spectrum of opportunities for Filipinos to compete in the international stage as they create new solutions to pressing social and environmental problems. In the process, this will spur economic activities resulting from the value and employment generated.”
It’s great to see that the Philippine Government is actively promoting entrepreneurship — the lifeblood of any economy.