Modelled on Block 71 and MaGIC, PH launches first Innovation Hub

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(From left) Smart Communications public affairs head Ramon Isberto, DOST Usec Rowena Guevarra, UP Technology Transfer and Business Development Office (TTBDO) director Dr Luis Sison, IdeaSpace president and co-founder Earl Valencia, DTI Usec. Nora Terrado, and ICTO deputy executive director Monchito Ibrahim.

Innovation Hub, the proposed Philippine version of global tech hub Silicon Valley in the US, was formally launched yesterday in Manila by IdeaSpace Foundation and various government departments.

Tagged as the first-ever public-private partnership (PPP) in the Philippines, Innovation Hub is aimed at spuring the technology startup ecosystem in the country. It is also patterned on innovation districts abroad like Block 71 in Singapore, and MaGIC in Malaysia.

Local departments present during the announcement were Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Information Communications Technology Office (ICTO),

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The groundwork for establishing innovation hubs in strategic locations includes places like Intramuros in Manila, which is within the vicinity of the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM), Colegio de San Juan de Letran (CSL), the Lyceum of the Philippines and the Mapua Institute of Technology; together with the entire University belt; as well as in Diliman in Quezon City where the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University are situated.

“It has always been DOST’s thrust to support technology transfer of R&D output, either through commercialisation or deployment for public good. The Innovation Hub, we believe, will be a critical and effective agent in delivering R&D results to the people,” said DOST Undersecretary for S&T Services Dr Rowena Cristina Guevara.

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Guevara noted Innovation Hub is a latest addition to DOST’s Technology Business Incubators (TBI) program that pushes for innovation and entrepreneurship among the private sector and academic institutions.

DOST allocated a grant of $776,115 (P35 million) for equipment and operation of the two Innovation Hubs over the next two years in Intramuros and UP Diliman. It also offered policy and operational support.

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IdeaSpace said in a statement the Innovation Hub will be a critical component in the drive to boost the Philippines’ ranking in the Digital Evolution Index (DEI), which ranks countries in terms of their readiness for the quickly expanding digital economy.

A recent global DEI study the US-based Fletcher School at Tufts University that used data from 2008 to 2013, named the Philippines as one of the so-called “break-out” nations or “rapidly advancing countries” in the global digital topography alongside China, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam.

“We can’t do it alone, so we’re calling on more partners in the industry, the government, and the academe that believe in the Filipino innovator’s potential to help us push this initiative forward,” said IdeaSpace president and co-founder Earl Valencia.

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