DTI teams up with Plug and Play to help startups scale up

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has teamed up with US-based Plug and Play to help Filipino startups scale up.

“Plug and Play will serve as a bridge between startups and large corporations, facilitating collaborations and partnerships, and providing access to funding opportunities,” Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said during the launch of the National Startup Accelerator program.

Plug and Play co-founder Jojo Flores told reporters the company’s role under the partnership is to facilitate the accelerator program.

The US-based company builds competitive startups and future enterprises through its network of innovation centers across 50 major locations worldwide.

DFNN Inc. is also playing a role in the program as a partner for testing products of incubating companies and for contributing seed funding for startups.

“Our target is to have at least 40 startups per year that will go through the acceleration program,” Flores said.

Flores said the program would bring together industries such as the information technology-business process outsourcing, as well as electronics assembly to identify problems and opportunities.

“Essentially, we want to get the problem statements. Based on those problem statements, we bring the startup, the best startups that can build the solutions,” he said.

According to Flores, the 40 startups will be showcased to the global investment community to be given the opportunity to attract investments from venture capital firms.

Pascual said the Philippines’ young, educated and tech-savvy population, along with the government and private sector’s support makes the country a rising startup hub in Asia.

The DTI chief said the government has also approved legislative measures such as the Philippine Innovation Act, the Innovative Startup Act and the Tatak Pinoy Law to encourage startups and local industries to produce more sophisticated products and further elevate the country’s global value chain position.

“Hopefully, with Plug and Play’s participation and partnership we will be able to accelerate the process,” Pascual said.

Pascual said the partnership with Plug and Play would help advance the country’s inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship agenda.

He added that there are currently over 1,000 startups in Manila collectively valued at approximately $3.5 billion.  

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