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Duterte signs law granting perks to business start-ups.

Start-ups and start-up enablers can now avail themselves of incentives and other benefits from the government after President Duterte signed into law the Innovative Start-up Act.

The government is also mandated to remove constraints to encourage more innovative business to operate in the country, according to the copy of Republic Act (RA) 11337 released on Thursday.

Under the law signed by the President last April 26, a start-up refers to any person or registered entity in the Philippines which aims to develop an innovative product, or business model, while a start-up enabler is defined as any person or registered entity in the country that provides goods and services or capital identified to be crucial in operation of start-ups by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) together with other agencies.

The Departments of Science and Technology (DOST), Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and Trade and Industry shall also be the lead agencies for a Philippine Start-up Development Program, which shall also include the benefits and incentives for start-up and start-up enablers.

The DTI is also tasked to initiate and coordinate with national and local government agencies involved with the registration, licensing, certification, including those who levy fees and charges for services subsidized by host agencies and other regulatory process to be undertaken by start-ups and start-up enablers.

Start-ups and/or start-up enablers who have passed the selection and application process of host agencies will receive the following:

Full or partial subsidies for business registration and cost in the application and processing of permits and certificates; Endorsement of the host agency for expedited prioritized processing of applications with other government agency;

Full or partial subsidy for the use of facilities, office space, equipment and or services provided by government or private enterprises or institutions.

Full or partial subsidy in the use of repurposed government spaces and facilities of the host agency as the registered business address; and grants-in-aid for research, development, training and expansion projects

Moreover, the law also provided for the creation of a Start-up Grant Fund (SGF) under three agencies and a separate Start-up Venture Fund (SVF) under the DTI to be administered with the National Development Company.

The initial and supplemental grant-in-aid for start-up and start-up enablers will be sourced from the respective SGFs of DOST, DICT and DTI.

On the other hand, the SVF shall be used to match investments by select investors in start-ups based in the Philippines.

For its part, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority is also ordered to pursue and promote the creation of Philippine Start-up Ecozones or Special Economic Zones to spur the growth of start-ups.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is also mandated to create start-up visas, which shall have an initial five-year validity and may be renewed or extended with a three-year validity.

Within 60 days from effectivity of the Act, implementing rules and regulations shall be promulgated by DOST, DICT and DTI with relevant government agencies.

The Act shall take effect within 15 days from its complete publication in the Official Gazette and in at least one newspaper of general circulation.

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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jul 19, 2019
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