THE Department of Science and Technology (DoST) has launched an P11.3-million technology business incubator (TBI) aimed at cultivating the healthcare technology startup ecosystem in Davao City and the region, an official said on Monday.

“We are providing a platform for students, faculty, and researchers to transform their R&D outputs into impactful startups, especially in the healthcare sector, that benefit the community,” Enrico C. Paringit, DoST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) executive director, said in an e-mailed statement.

The DoST-PCIEERD has partnered with the University of the Immaculate Conception  to deliver the Mobilizing Advanced Research and Innovations to Advocate Nation-Building (MARIAN) TBI while bridging the gap between academic research and the health tech industry.

“This collaboration aligns with our vision of advancing technology and entrepreneurship to contribute to the nation’s growth and development,” Mr. Paringit added.

“We are thrilled about the possibilities this incubator offers to the health technology startup ecosystem in Davao City,” said Ceasar Ian P. Benablo, manager at MARIAN TBI.

“We envision an environment where brilliant business ideas and research outputs converge to address pressing societal issues through the development of cutting-edge ICT tools, including mobile and web applications,” he added.

Health tech was found to be the third emerging sector among startups in Southeast Asia, below fintech and e-commerce, according to data from Deal Street Asia and estimates from Kickstart Ventures, Inc. Health tech startup deals slowed down to 4.8% in the second quarter of this year, from 7.2% in the first quarter.

Davao City inched up eight places to rank 951st out of 1,000 cities in the 2023 edition of the Global Startup Ecosystem Index by research center StartupBlink.

With a score of 0.13, Davao City placed fifth out of the five Philippine cities included in the index, representing about 2% of the country’s startups. Manila, in local first place, ranked 95th globally with a score of 7.43 and fintech as its top industry.

“The startup scene of Davao City shows much promise,” StartupBlink said.

Trainings and workshops will be conducted with targeted regional partners and mentors to boost awareness and participation in the local startup ecosystem of Davao through the TBI program, the DoST-PCIEERD noted.

Among the 44 TBIs supported by the DoST-PCIEERD, the MARIAN TBI was funded by DoST-PCIEERD through its Higher Education Institution Readiness for Innovation and Technopreneurship program to help universities meet funding requirements and address the growing demand for early-stage regional entrepreneurial support. — Miguel Hanz L. Antivola