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  • Writer's pictureZiggurat Realestatecorp

PH now hosts over 50 tech startups

The Philippines now hosts over 50 technology startups that are expected to help develop the country’s AI (artificial intelligence) ecosystem, which if further developed has the opportunity to contribute $92 billion or 12 percent of the country’s economy by 2030.

This was bared by Trade and Industry Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba at the Italy-Philippines Business Forum as DTI urged Italian businessmen to consider the business opportunities in the country and improve trade and business relationships between the two trading partners.

In terms of investments, Aldaba said that the past three years have seen a slowdown of investment inflows from Italy. So far this year, Italian investments in the Philippines stood at $380,000 only compared to about $3 million pre-pandemic.

There are also 13 Italian firms registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority with total investments of P700 million. In terms of trade, Philippine exports to Italy recently grew by 14.36 percent from more than $203 million in 2020 to more than $232 million in 2021.

Amid this bilateral economic relationship, Aldaba has urged Italian firms to take a look at the Philippines digital transformation.

Aldaba told Italian investors that the Philippines currently hosts over 50 tech startups which are already using AI as a core technology.

If the Philippines can grow the AI ecosystem further, she said, it has the opportunity to contribute $92 billion which represent about 12 percent of gross domestic product by 2030, according to EDBI and Kearney.

One of the DTI’s flagship initiatives that would drive digital transformation is the establishment of an Industry 4.0 Pilot Factory, which will host pilot, demonstration, and learning laboratories for Industry 4.0 technologies, such as, robotics, intelligent manufacturing systems, and cyber-physical systems.

It will serve as a technology platform for various stakeholders and a training and research hub where industries can have hands-on experience on Industry 4.0 applications.

The proposed facilities that the Industry 4.0 Pilot Factory will house a demo and digital experience center where technology providers can showcase use-cases of their products, learning and co-working spaces where trainings and collaborative discussions can be conducted, an application and design hub where inhouse applied R&D can be executed, exhibition centers for the conduct of events, and a prototyping sandbox where researchers and companies including SMEs can develop proofs of concepts.

To complement the Industry 4.0 Pilot Factory, DTI said it will also establish the Center for AI Research (CAIR) under the National AI Roadmap with the goal of making the Philippines an AI Center of Excellence.

“CAIR will be instrumental in scaling this up and together with private sector partners. It will be a public-private partnership hub where data scientists and researchers can perform collaborative AI R&D for industries, produce AI products and services, provide AI trainings and AI learning materials, and support the digital transformation of industries including large enterprises and SMEs,” said Pascual.

To support the development of a robust startup ecosystem, which is composed of young, energetic, and tech-savvy population, the government is also implementing various incubation and acceleration programs, as well as funding, and market access programs to support innovative startups in all stages of development with the goal of growing homegrown tech giants.

Together with other government agencies, the DTI is also implementing the Philippine Skills Framework (PSF), which seeks to develop a common language that employers, workers, and training institutions share, in order to address skills mismatch.

To date, three industry-specific PSFs have been launched: Supply Chain and Logistics, Game Development, and Digitals Arts and Animation. Two cross-sectoral PSFs on Business Development and Human Capital Development have also been formulated.

In order to diffuse innovation in all parts of the country, the DTI is also establishing Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers (RIICs), which serve as platforms to connect stakeholders in the regions to collaborate and advance innovation and entrepreneurship to drive regional industrialization.

“We are working with scientists from the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and the Philippine American Academy of Science and Engineering (PAASE) to provide STI solutions affecting our regional industries particularly in the production and processing of high value crops such as coffee, cacao, coconut, fruits and nuts, abaca, tropical fibers, and bamboo as well as to further help us develop the STI ecosystem in the regions,” said Aldaba.

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