DTI eyes funding aid for startups

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) eyes funding support for newly-set up businesses instead of providing them with fiscal incentives.

In a press conference during the Slingshot ASEAN Friday, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said the agency targets to increase the available funding that can be tapped by startups to boost their businesses.

But the DTI chief is not keen on giving tax perks to startups, as funding support from the private sector is also pouring into the sector.

He added that these incentives might be abused, only to increase deductible taxes.

“Providing funds might be the better way for now,” Lopez said.

“Because if we talk of incentives, we run the risk also of that incentive might also be abused. We’re already looking a lot of guys that might just been funding and using that an excuse to increase the tax detectability. So, that’s my another immediate concern,” he said.

He said the government pushes the local startup ecosystem to flourish and to be a driver for inclusive and innovation-led growth.

For DTI alone, it already has its micro-financing program "Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso" or P3, which provides loan with low interest rates to discourage loan sharks.

Banks and other financial institutions also offer financial services that can be tapped by startups.

In a separate interview, QBO Innovation Hub President Rene Meily told the Philippine News Agency that many foreign investors and venture capitals are looking into funding Philippine-based startups.

“There is a huge increase in the number of venture capital funds and foreign companies that interested in investing in Philippine startups. Especially in those scalable and can grow from the local market to the regional and global market,” Meily said.

“They sensed that the Philippines is a growing market by itself. In addition, there are new ideas happening here. We have so much talent, and it is really the young people coming up with this idea and they really change the way we do business here,” he added.

The Slingshot ASEAN has attracted around 20 foreign funders from New York, Australia, and Southeast Asia, looking at potentials of Philippine startups. (PNA)