THE Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sees a lot of potential for the technology export of the country and pushes for the development of the start-up community through the support of the private sectors, other government agencies, and the academic sectors.

During the Conference on Business Opportunities & on Shaping New Millennial organized by Asean On Stage at the Philippine Women's College on Saturday, September 30, DTI-EMB assistant director Agnes Perpetua Legaspi said the Philippines is the 74th country out of the 128 nations ranked for their Global Innovation Index.

She said one of the standards considered for the ranking is the number of patents the particular country has. The more patents, the higher the innovation index ranking.

Legaspi further discussed how the country is ranking first on the voice services of the business process outsourcing (BPO) and that currently we need to improve on the country's digital literacy.

With the vision to educate more the younger generation about the opportunities that come with the technological advancements, Legaspi said DTI is currently working on specific projects to support digital start-ups.

"QBO is an innovation hub in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), DTI, and JP Morgan. Basically it's a start-up enabler that provides mentoring, schedules information sessions, and how-to lectures among others," said Legaspi.

QBO was launched last year and is currently located in DTI central office in Makati and since then has conducted 22 networking events, 4 intro classes, and different development consultation sessions. In order to replicate this similar hub in the other parts of the country, Legaspi said they are on the mapping stages to find out the current state of the start-up communities in the different areas as well as the presence of the investors.

"We need to understand who we can partner with for the development of the industry...Hopefully, with these initiatives, among the different private and public partnerships, I think we can do a lot," she said.

Legaspi further on said that the potential of digital start-up in the country is huge as the Filipinos are noted to be of a younger generation with age average of about 23 years old. Aside from this, Legaspi also said the potential can be attributed to the Filipino's good communication English skills and global diaspora.

In order to harness this potential, Legaspi said the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is the one that looks into the development of the student pool, penetrating with the curriculum while the DOST provides the technological and digital support needed and DTI supports the commercialization of the product whether internationally or locally.

Legaspi said they are hoping for the support of the national government for this sector in the form of better ease of doing business, incentives, and support for the participants to attend international conferences, and the fund to support and develop start-ups.

"In countries like Singapore, China, and Thailand, their government is having its share since the sectors are still start-ups. They wouldn't have the fund yet by themselves," Legaspi said adding the start-up community is not just an industry that would solely provide services to one sector instead it can provide assistance to agriculture, services, and e-commerce among others. Because of this, Legaspi pushes that everyone from any other industries should be made more digitally literate to keep up with the current technological advances of all the business sectors as the IT industry can cater to almost any industry.