STATE UNIVERSITIES must gear up to nurture more startups in the runup to “a more digital” economy, a senior legislator said on Wednesday.

Albay Representative Jose Maria Clemente S. Salceda said in a statement that Internet, laboratory, and entrepreneurial facilities within state universities and colleges must be improved to enable the incubation of startups.

Mr. Salceda was marking the first anniversary of the effectivity of Republic Act No. 11377 or the Innovative Startup Act, which hopes to streamlining the procedural obstacles faced by emerging businesses.

“If you have good universities with the ecosystem to support new startups, you will be able to create new innovative businesses,” according to Mr. Salceda, who also chairs the House committee on ways and means.

He said the necessary elements within universities include “excellent mentoring… fast access to data, access to capital, and good support infrastructure.”

“Work in these areas are definitely among my top priorities as economic recovery co-chair in 2021. You can expect a flurry of reforms that we will pass in these areas.”

Mr. Salceda said the government has not been effective in creating so-called breakthrough enterprises because current law does not take advantage of universities as “concentrations of young, smart, and ambitious entrepreneurs.”

His office is eyeing Legazpi, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, and Dumaguete “as cities where investment in creating start-ups from universities can be expanded.”

“Capital is starting to flow inwards. There are good STEM-based universities in these cities. These can be the country’s startup centers, and they will certainly help decongest Metro Manila. But we have to invest in the universities and the infrastructure of these cities,” Mr. Salceda said.

Mr. Salceda said he is considering amendments to RA 11377 to focus on positioning universities as “sandboxes” for startups. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza