The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is targeting to grow the country's startup ecosystem to $10 billion by 2028 as the government steps up its support for these businesses.

Trade Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba told reporters on the sidelines of the Philippine Startup Week's opening ceremony held Monday that she expects the country's startup ecosystem valuation to grow and reach 'around $10 billion until the end of the (current) administration.'

Citing the 2023 Global Startup Ecosystem Report by Startup Genome, she said the Manila startup ecosystem is valued at $3.5 billion.

As part of efforts to promote the growth of the country's startup ecosystem, she said the DTI is seeking a loan amounting to $200 million to $400 million with the Asian Development Bank for the construction of a national innovation gateway that will be the go-to place for innovation and startups.

She said the DTI plans to build the innovation gateway in a property covering 1,200 square meters owned by the National Development Co. in Pasay City.

The innovation gateway facility will house the Industry 4.0 pilot factory, Center for Artificial Intelligence Research. It will have a huge space for startups.

'We're hoping by 2025, we can already start building the gateway,' Aldaba said.

Aside from the innovation gateway, she said the DTI is also pushing for amendments to the procurement law by having a 'flexible system' that would enable startups to participate in government bidding.

'(The) government is one big customer and since we're promoting all these new products, creation of new services, the government should be the first one to procure these products and this is actually being done in other countries,' she said.

At present, she said it is difficult for startups to take part in government bidding as it is almost impossible for them to produce the necessary documents required by the government from huge companies.

'It's important that we amend the procurement law, taking into consideration that we have these startups and they're not comparable to large companis. Big companies have their own teams, legal teams that are preparing all the necessary requirements and documents for them to be able to participate in government biddings,' she said.

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