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The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is accepting applications for its first-ever startup grant fund, aimed at funding young ICT-based Filipino startups.

Targeted at helping new and early-stage enterprises with development, capacity building, and network expansion, the DICT established the DICT Startup Grant Fund (SGF) in compliance with Republic Act No. 11337 (Innovative Startup Act).

The grant’s purpose is to help early-stage ICT-based entrepreneurs develop their goods and services by providing them with the resources they need to either build a prototype or build a minimum viable product (MVP).

According to a statement published on, the SGF will fill the gap in Philippines’ early-stage funding by providing equity-free capital of up to five million pesos, which would increase the quality of Filipino businesses and assist investors reduce their risk.

The proponents shall go under the screening process where enablers from different startup communities, the government, and venture capitals shall assess and evaluate their feasibility, technologies, and investability. Members of the SGF technical evaluation and grants committees will select distinguished startups who convey a great potential to bring significant contributions to society.

With the intention of bolstering, promoting, and developing an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem and culture in the Philippines, the Innovative Startup Act was signed into law in 2019, aiming to facilitate the development and operation of innovative new enterprises and businesses by removing barriers to entry and giving rewards.

The government has long been aiming to promote innovation in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, with former Department of Science and Technology Secretary (DoST) Fortunato dela Peña expressing the hope that the Philippines might rank 42nd in the Global Innovation Index (GII) by 2022.

However, owing to various factors the country instead fell to 59th place in 2022 among 132 economies in the world. The slip in the GII rankings is the country’s second consecutive drop in placement, when it landed the 51st place in the 2021 Index from 50th place in 2020.

“It must be noted that this lower performance, the Philippines continues to perform above regional average among its neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, East Asia and Oceania,” the report said.

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the organization who tracks the GII, however recognized the Philippines’ ability to perform above expectations for its level of development, as it produced more innovation outputs relative to its level of innovation investments.

The DICT Startup Grant Fund aims to bolster the innovation in the country’s startups by providing opportunities to expand on creative ideas set on improving Filipino lives.

The call for proposals shall be open until May 12. For inquiries, email

Meanwhile, interested startups proposing for the SGF of the DoST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development only have until May 2 at 5 p.m. to submit their proposals.

As stated in a post published last month in the agency’s official Facebook page, the said SGF will primarily prioritize startups focused on the following key research areas: Sustainable Industries; Learning/Education; Solutions for the Creative Industries; Industry Data Driven Solutions; and Climate Change Technologies.

Startups that will be picked for this program have a chance to get funding support of up to P5 million for 18 months. — Bjorn Biel M. Beltran