By Hannah 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.
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 P10-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 langnatulungansilanggobyerno (It’s just right for government to help them),” he said.