DAVAO-BASED entrepreneurs will have access to startup funding and assistance through localized Technology Business Incubators (TBIs), said the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

“You can avail of the incubators, kung gusto mong gumawa ng prototypes (if you want to create a prototype), o kung may gusto kang kausapin na potential clients (or if you want to talk to a client), you can use the incubators conference room, they also bring in organizations na may prize money like P100,000 makakagawa ka na ng five prototypes (that could give a prize money up to P100,00 and you can already create five prototypes for that),” Russell Pili, chief of Research Information Technology Transfer Division (RITTD) of DOST, said.

Through the DOST- Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), Pili said the incubators can also help entrepreneurs when it comes to funding for their startups, especially if they do not have starting capital.

“There are other funding agencies out there, DOST is for the grants, you can avail of that, DOST Regions also have their own funding opportunities, and DICT (Department of Information and Communications Technology) has their own startup fund,” Pili said.

Pili said for the DOST grants for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), they can give at least P8 million to P10 million to help them establish and run their own DOST-affiliated TBIs on campus.

The TBIs aim to serve early-stage startups in the region and Davao City. Among the 54 grantees nationwide, three universities have been granted to establish TBIs in Davao City – the University of the Philippines-Mindanao, University of Mindanao, and the University of Southeastern Philippines.

“Why we do this? Malay natin (Who knows the) next Bill Gates, next Jack Ma, next Elon Musk, ay (will) come from Davao City... I think it’s about time that the Philippines will be one of the most investable countries in the world,” Miguel Carlo Guillermo, University of the Philippines Growing and Development Enterprises (Upgrade) Project Leader, said.

DOST said entrepreneurs can always visit any TBIs in Davao City to avail of their services. Some of the services offered are training and seminars that usually last for six months up to two years. These trainings are free, while some are with fees.