GORDON Alan Joseph, honorary consul to The Netherlands, is working with the Innovation Council of Cebu (ICC) for a possible immersion trip this year to learn from the Dutch culture of startup and innovation.

“This will be the beginning of a two- to three-year project to promote Cebu as the innovation center of the Philippines,” said Joseph, who is also president of the Cebu Business Club.

The Netherlands is one of the world’s high-tech startup and innovation capitals. It ranked third on the 2017 Global Innovation Index, outpacing the US, UK, Denmark, Singapore, Finland, Germany and Ireland. It rose six spots from the previous year.

The Dutch country ranked first in the following categories: business sophistication, knowledge absorption, intellectual property payments, ICT services imports, and foreign direct investment net outflows. It also ranked high on other indexes such as the European Innovation Scoreboard and has innovation hubs across its country.

According to Joseph, his office has prepared a budget for the trip and is just awaiting the final proposal from the ICC. The proposed trip aims to help the newly organized council explore the best practices of The Netherlands when it comes to using innovation as a key driver in bringing in more investments, generating more jobs, and growing the economy.

ICC is a new organization formed by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) to develop the start-up digital and technology-based companies in Cebu.

Its clusters include business process outsourcing, software developers, digital marketers, tech-startups, cybersecurity, multimedia, IT-enabled services, e-commerce and makers.

With innovation, Cebu can grow leaps and bounds by developing a more digital and innovation-led business environment, said CCCI President Melanie Ng in previous interviews.

In the Philippines, the Senate has already passed on third and final reading the Philippine Innovation Act, which seeks to push for innovation as a vital component of development. It aims to create an interagency National Innovation Council, among other programs and initiatives.

The bill identified food security, education, health, clean energy, disaster resilience, community development, infrastructure, traditional knowledge, and governance as some of the “key areas for innovation.” (KOC)