Se­nate passes bill aid­ing en­trepreneurs

Manila Bulletin - - Front Page - By HANNAH L. TORREGOZA

The Se­nate has passed on third and fi­nal read­ing a mea­sure that would pro­vide en­trepreneurs some tax in­cen­tives and other forms of as­sis­tance to give them a bet­ter chance at suc­ceed­ing in busi­ness.

Se­nate Bill No. 153, the In­no­va­tive Startup Act, au­thored by

Se­na­tor Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, was ap­proved with 18 af­fir­ma­tive votes with no neg­a­tive vote and zero ab­sten­tion.

The bill seeks to sup­port in­no­va­tive star­tups through fi­nan­cial sub­si­dies like tax breaks and grants, eas­ier busi­ness regis­tra­tion pro­ce­dures and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance and train­ing pro­grams.

“These are star­tups that pro­vide unique and rel­e­vant so­lu­tions to our prob­lems, from daily has­sles, like find­ing a taxi dur­ing rush hour, to im­prov­ing the de­liv­ery of health­care, pro­vid­ing sup­port for our farm­ers, and ad­dress­ing un­em­ploy­ment,” Aquino said.

“Let’s take this op­por­tu­nity to em­power our in­no­va­tors and en­trepreneurs with a heart for na­tion-build­ing,” the se­na­tor added.

Ben­e­fits

Once passed into law, in­no­va­tive star­tups get to en­joy ex­emp­tion from fees and charges for the use of equip­ment, fa­cil­i­ties and other ser­vices from gov­ern­ment agen­cies such as test­ing and fab­ri­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

Aquino, head of the Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Science and Tech­nol­ogy, said these ben­e­fits and in­cen­tives will be pro­vided by the De­part­ments of Science and Tech­nol­ogy (DOST), of In­for­ma­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Tech­nol­ogy (DICT), and/or of Trade and In­dus­try (DTI) un­der an In­no­va­tive Startup De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram.

Ben­e­fits stated un­der the mea­sure in­clude waived ap­pli­ca­tion fees, re­fund of fees for the per­mits and cer­tifi­cates and faster pro­cess­ing of per­mits and cer­tifi­cates.

The mea­sure also in­cludes a pro­vi­sion for 110-bil­lion In­no­va­tive Startup Ven­ture Fund that en­trepreneurs can ap­ply for which will be ad­min­is­tered by the DOST.

Other ben­e­fits in­clude re­search and de­vel­op­ment grants, ex­emp­tion from fees and charges, ex­emp­tion from fees and charges levied by the na­tional gov­ern­ment agen­cies for the use of equip­ment, fa­cil­i­ties, or ser­vices availed by the in­no­va­tive startup, ac­cess to ap­pli­ca­ble ben­e­fits and in­cen­tives pro­vided by the In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty of the Philip­pines; and Sub­sidy for Visa ap­pli­ca­tion, re­newal, or ex­ten­sion of for­eign own­ers, em­ploy­ees, and/or in­vestors of an in­no­va­tive startup and sup­port ser­vice provider, and ex­emp­tion from the alien em­ploy­ment per­mit.

“This is great news for our in­no­va­tors and en­trepreneurs! We’re one step closer to giv­ing them the sup­port they de­serve,” said Aquino.

“It isn’t easy build­ing a suc­cess­ful start-up, es­pe­cially in the Philip­pines. Still, they find ways to bring bet­ter so­lu­tions to prob­lems in trans­porta­tion, health­care, agri­cul­ture, and other in­dus­tries. Tama lang na tu­lun­gan sila ng gob­y­erno (It’s just right for gov­ern­ment to help them),” he said.

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