Duterte signs law providing incentives to innovative business startups
President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his speech during the ceremonial awarding of housing units to former rebels at the Freedom Residences in Tagum City on July 16, 2019.
Richard Madelo/Presidential Photo

Duterte signs law providing incentives to innovative business startups

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - July 18, 2019 - 4:22pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a measure that aims to create jobs and boost trade by providing incentives to innovative new businesses.

Republic Act 11337 or the Innovative Startup Act was signed into law last April 26, documents released by Malacañang Thursday showed. 

The law creates a Philippine Startup Development Program composed of benefits and incentives for startups or startup enablers. A startup is defined by the law as any person or registered entity in the Philippines that aims to develop an innovative product, process or business model. 

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The program seeks to support the research and development of startups and startup enablers, promote access to startup development programs, and support the development and growth of enterprises with innovative products and services, among other objectives. 

State agencies may provide benefits and incentives to startups and startup enablers that passed their selection and application process.

The incentives include full or partial subsidy for the registration and cost in the application and processing of business permits and certificates; the use of facilities, office, space, equipment and services provided by government or private enterprises, and use of repurposed government spaces and facilities; and grants for research, development, training and expansion projects.

Qualified startups are also entitled to benefits for participating in local and international startup events including subsidies for charges incurred in travel document applications and per diem allowance. 

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The Philippine Economic Zone Authority, in consultation with the trade, science and information and communication technology departments, shall pursue and promote the creation of Philippine Startup Ecozones or special economic zones to spur the growth and development of startups through private, local or national government initiative. 

The law also requires the trade, information and communication technology to come up with a startup investment development plan.

It also creates a startup grant fund under the three agencies. Each agency shall use the fund to provide initial and supplemental grants to startups and startup enablers that have passed its selection process. The funding will come from the annual budgets of the three agencies. 

A startup venture fund is also created to match investments by selected investors in startups based in the Philippines. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs will create visas for startup owners, employees and investors. The visas will have an initial five-year validity and may be renewed or extended with a three-year validity.

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