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Iloilo City – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and the Unified Movement for Western Visayas to Accelerate Startup and Spin-off Development (UMWAD) Region VI hosted the 7th National Technology Business Incubator (TBI) Summit in the enchanting City of Love, Iloilo City, showcasing the government’s robust support for startups and startup enablers in the country. 

“DOST will never falter in providing a range of resources, services, and facilities needed during the development stage to help our technology-based startups navigate the challenges of the business landscape,” Secretary Renato U. Solidum Jr. said.

DOST’s TBI Program aims to promote innovation and technopreneurship for the country’s socio-economic development in a knowledge-based world economy. It hosts startups and offers business development services, office space, and technical facilities to get their businesses established.

At present, the DOST TBI Network has 54 members, including 32 industry-based TBIs and 22 TBIs on agriculture and aquaculture that are located across the nation's higher education institutions and state universities and colleges.

The 7th TBI Summit featured panel sessions and group discussions covering topics such as success stories of homegrown startups that achieved global recognition and strategies for preparing local startups to become global game-changers.

DOST Assistant Secretary for Technology Transfer, Communications, and Commercialization Dr. Napoleon Juanillo Jr. emphasized the importance of sharing best practices in the startup ecosystem.

“Learning from the homegrown startups that went global is important because it allows us to understand the strategies and approaches that led to their success," Juanillo said. 

The Summit also marked the signing of Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the 16 Regional Startup Enablers Consortia and their partners through the Regional Startup Enablers for Ecosystem Development (ReSEED) Program of DOST-PCIEERD.

The ReSEED Program aims to strengthen regional startup ecosystems by providing funding support to PCIEERD-funded TBIs to lead in establishing and formalizing a Regional Startup Ecosystem Consortium.

“We are confident that the ReSEED Program will provide invaluable resources to aspiring entrepreneurs in the region and put forward the Startup Ecosystem in the Philippines, driving economic growth and innovation,” said Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director. 

The 7th TBI Summit is part of the annual Philippine Startup Week. This week-long event brings together local startups, enterprises, investors, and budding entrepreneurs contributing to the flourishing Philippine startup ecosystem.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has taken the forefront in spurring innovation across the country as it leads the Innovative Startup Steering Committee, with members composed of representatives from the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). 

“We at DOST recognize the crucial role we play in assessing, monitoring, developing, and expanding the Philippine Startup Development Program as mandated in the Innovation Startup Act,” said DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum, Jr. 

RA 11337 or the Innovative Startup Act enabled the development of the Philippine Startup Development Program where startups will be supported by the respective mandates of national government agencies through programs, benefits, and incentives starting from the onset of ideas, development of products, to marketing, and expansion. 

True to its mandate, DOST continues to bolster the innovation startup ecosystem across the country through the various programs initiated and supported.  

Solidum added that since the enactment of the Innovative Startup Act and its Implementing Rules and Regulations in 2019, DOST have left an indelible mark on the landscape of Philippine startups. 

Under its three sectoral planning councils – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), and the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD), initiated the Startup Grant Fund (SGF) Program that was able to provide PHP 230 million to more than 60 startups to overcome their R&D roadblocks, to strengthen their intellectual property (IP) by means of protection, and development of the appropriate IP strategies. 

Meanwhile, the Women Helping Women Innovating Social Enterprises (WHWISE) Program focuses on women-led enterprises promoting equity and inclusivity to women entrepreneurs. The program has helped 15 enterprises since 2021 with a total funding of PHP 53 million. 

Fostering collaboration with various higher education institutions and state universities and colleges, the Technology Business Incubation (TBI) program was developed to set up and capacitate TBI facilities at their institution. As of 2023, DOST established 54 TBI networks and is pursuing to add 27 new TBIs with a funding of PHP 400 million in the next two years.  

DOST also takes proactive efforts in reaching all 16 regions to accelerate the growth and strengthen the startup ecosystem across the country through the Regional Startup Enabler for Ecosystem Development (ReSEED) Program with a total funding of PHP 120 million. 

Moving forward, DOST commits to value and practice a strengthened collaboration among the members of the Innovative Startup Steering Committee to streamline a strategic plan of the committee for the next five (5) years and to harmonize their current programs for startup innovation of the country. DOST also hopes for an active participation of the private sectors in backing up startups and startup enablers for a healthy economic ecosystem, among others. 

Solidum also emphasized that “DOST, DICT, and DTI are here to support you, provide programs, resources, funding opportunities, and mentorship to help you [startups] thrive and succeed. 

Joining the Fireside Chat Forum, DOST Undersecretary for R&D Leah J. Buendia emphasized the importance of partnerships and diversification in molding startups to become global game changers : “For startup to position themselves as global game changers, they have develop a global vision and strategy, build a strong and diverse team, find international strategic partners, leverage technologies, and adapt to international markets and cultures.”

The Philippines is also conducting the 2023 Philippine Startup Week from November 20 to 24 – with the theme, “Investing in Filipino Homegrown Heroes as Global Game Changers,” – highlighting and showcasing the Philippine startup ecosystem.  

Digos City, Davao del Sur – The Department of Science and Technology and the University of Mindanao officially launched an application that can help local government units in monitoring beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps. 

Dubbed “Project e4PsMap", the project developed a data analytics-driven application that conducts maternal and neonatal outcomes monitoring, visualization, and dashboard system for the City of Digos to enable the local government monitoring the success and compliance rates of the program’s intervention to its beneficiaries.

Funded by the DOST – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), UM also trained community social workers in terms of data updating, warehousing, verification, and analysis. 

DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit congratulated the team of researchers who produced the application and expressed hope that it can translate to helping the beneficiaries of the 4Ps. 

“The e4PsMap System speaks to the very essence of our commitment to good governance. It addresses a critical need for our Local Government Unit of Digos City, enabling us to understand, with precision, whether our social interventions are truly attaining their desired goals. Through this platform, we bridge the gap between data and decision-making, ensuring that no household, no individual is left behind in the quest for progress,” Paringit said. 

The e4PsMap will provide regular analysis of trends, and accomplishment of targets, and inclusion of analysis in the reports of city social welfare and development office to the Office of the City Mayor and the Sangguniang Panlungsod for their information and disposition. 

The e4PsMap System was funded by DOST-PCIEERD under the Good Governance through Data Science and Decision Support System (GODDESS) program. This program is intended to provide support local government units (LGUs) and national government agencies (NGA), through their regional offices, in planning, programming, policymaking, and delivery of goods and services through development of data science and analytics-related projects and applications. 

Davao City, August 11, 2023 – The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and the University of Immaculate Concepcion (UIC) officially unveiled the Mobilizing Advanced Research and Innovations to Advocate Nation-Building (MARIAN) Technology Business Incubator (TBI) to help the startup landscape in Davao City and the region by focusing on healthcare technologies and bridging the gap between academic research and industry.

"Through our partnership with UIC, we are providing a platform for students, faculty, and researchers to transform their R&D outputs into impactful startups, especially in the healthcare sector, that benefit the community. This collaboration aligns with our vision of advancing technology and entrepreneurship to contribute to the nation's growth and development,” said Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, Executive Director of DOST-PCIEERD.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ceasar Ian Benablo, the MARIAN TBI Manager, expressed his excitement for the inauguration of the TBI. 

“We are thrilled about the possibilities this incubator offers to the health technology startup ecosystem in Davao City. We envision an environment where brilliant business ideas and research outputs converge to address pressing societal issues through the development of cutting-edge ICT tools, including mobile and web applications.”

As part of the TBI’s plan, they will be conducting trainings and workshops with their targeted Regional Partners and mentors, to increase awareness about the local startup ecosystem of Davao and develop the best startups from their region through the TBI’s incubation program to which will be validated with the leading TBIs abroad and in the country.

The MARIAN TBI was funded by DOST-PCIEERD through its Higher Education Institution Readiness for Innovation and Technopreneurship Program (HEIRIT). 

The HEIRIT Program was developed to help universities meet the Council's TBI funding requirements and train managers to effectively run DOST-affiliated TBIs. HEIRIT seeks to address the growing demand for early-stage entrepreneurial support, particularly in various regions across the Philippines.

MARIAN TBI is among the 44 TBIs supported by DOST-PCIEERD. 

GMA-7 premier documentary show I-Witness trains its sights on Philippine Science Centrum Travelling Exhibit, a project funded by the Department of Science and Technology, as it brings exciting science experiments and learning to students and residents of Sitio Disigisaw of Aurora province.  

The initiative, which is being carried out by the Philippine Foundation for Science and Technology (PFST), has visited 26 Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas (GIDA) districts on the islands of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. It has brought exciting science exhibits to 300,000 students on the value of science and instructed 4, 000 teachers in basic science experiments.

Sandra Aguinaldo, the program's host, a well-known journalist, and documentary filmmaker, joined DOST after an extensive journey of over nine hours by land and two hours by boat. In her journey, she met a bright Agta student named Efrean, a 14-year-old who is a gem in their class, gifted in math but lacking in science, and whose dreams are to leave his small community and pursue more through education.

It is a sad fact that Efrean, like most of his contemporaries in Sitio Disigisaw, cannot do this without assistance and access to other possibilities.

The touring exhibit, according to DOST Secretary Renato U. Solidum, Jr., strives to promote and address issues that affect both the community and students like Efrean.  He explained that children's disinterest in math and science is what DOST would want to address through the Science Centrum’s Travelling Exhibit.

The innovation landscape has a lot of room to develop. Our initiatives like the Science Centrum’s mobile displays spark our kids' enthusiasm for math and science, which will lead to more researchers and innovators across the country,” he stressed.

Secretary Solidum emphasized that it was essential to teach science to these communities and to pique interest in it for students and educators, as well as to inspire both groups to pursue lifelong learning.

"During travel exhibitions, PFST takes the extra mile in training science teachers by using a module program the foundation created as part of the project. Complicated ideas are transformed into substantial knowledge that may be passed down through generations with the help of Prof. Cora Salumbides, a Balik Scientist”.

Recognizing the value of students' awareness of science in the area and how it influences the landscape of research and development.

"We appreciate GMA 7's I-Witness, for covering this endeavor. Through this partnership, we hope to reach out to more students and capacitate teachers, so that we can find our next generation of scientists, even among GIDA regions and indigenous tribes like the Agtas.  Thanks to efforts of organizations like PFST, he said.

The documentary program will air on Saturday, August 5, 2023, 10:30 p.m. at GMA Channel 7.