Naga ordinance seeks to nurture startups

By Jason B. Neola


A synergy among government, academe, business and other non-government groups is what the Naga City government is trying to build to encourage more startups and be able to assist them with extensive support and promotion.


Enacted on Tuesday, July 13 was an ordinance that establishes the Naga City Digital Innovation and Startup Development Program (NCDISDP), which seeks to provide incentives and benefits to startups.


Startups refer to young companies which are founded by one or more entrepreneurs to be able to respond to the demands for a certain product or service. They are entrepreneurial ventures in search of enough financial backing to get off the ground.


The explanatory note of the ordinance authored by Councilors Jose Perez, Sonny Rañola, MD., Mila Raquid-Arroyo, and Joselito Del Rosario, said that “key cities all over the world are working hard to boost their startup ecosystem and encourage a culture of digital innovation, aware that a robust digital economy has become a cornerstone for economic growth and productivity.”


The ordinance, which supports R.A. 11337 (Innovative Startup Act) and complements the existing Naga City Digital Innovation Hub Ordinance, is enacted to pursue the growth and advancement of the city’s innovative economy.


The measure mandates the city government to initiate programs, provide incentives and benefits in order to “attract investments and nurture an environment conducive for the development of startups – local or foreign – and other businesses crucial to their growth or expansion.”


In an interview, Perez said that the life of the startup industry in the city is seen to become vibrant with the support of an ecosystem composed of other businesses, government and non-government entities and the academe that inspires to foster an innovative entrepreneurial culture.


Aside from the NCDISDP, the ordinance also created the Startup Development Committee (SDC), and established the Digital Innovation Fund (DIF).


The Program is a holistic approach in cultivating startups as well as the startup ecosystem in the city, while the committee, in partnership with the Investment and Trade Promotion Office (ITPO), is tasked to formulate the long-term, medium-term and annual work and financial plans for developing startups and the local startup ecosystem, and the plans, programs, projects and activities for identifying potential startups and assisting in their development.


The DIF shall be used for: 1.) Grants or loans to, or investments in, startups, particularly those at the idea or launch stage, and 2.) Providing full or partial subsidy for participation in national and international startup events. Loans may be interest-bearing or interest-free.


The Naga City Investment Board (NCIB) will oversee the implementation of the program.