A memorandum of agreement was signed between DOST-PCIEERD, represented by Deputy Executive Director Raul Sabularse, and BCB Blockchain chief executive officer Douglas Gan on Wednesday (November 20, 2019) in Ortigas, Pasig City. Singapore-based BCB will provide a total of PHP15 million grant to Filipino startup firms with an inclination in blockchain technology. (Photo courtesy of PCIEERD

MANILA -- The Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) will soon look for startup firms, which will get grants from a Singaporean company and the agency, its chief said on Thursday.

In a phone interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA), PCIEERD executive director Enrico Paringit said the startup firms they would look for are those involved in blockchain technology because a PHP15 million grant will be coming from Singaporean firm, BCB Blockchain.

Each chosen startup company will also receive up to PHP1 million grant from PCIEERD, he added.

Paringit clarified that he could not figure the estimated number of companies that will benefit from BCB's grant because PCIEERD has yet to announce that they would be looking for such startup firms.

He targets 2020 as the start of providing these grants. Paringit further clarified that BCB will directly give the grant to the chosen firms, and will not hand this to the government.

If for instance, there are three chosen companies by early 2020 and the total BCB grant for them is PHP10 million, PCIEERD will continue to search for beneficiaries until all of the PHP15 million BCB grant is used.

"We still need to sit down with BCB next year and discuss how they would like to administer the giving of grants. We would likely discuss probable expansion of our cooperation, too," he said.

Paringit said BCB representatives visited the DOST two or three months ago, and have offered partnership and co-financing of startup firms.

"They (BCB) are looking for demonstration projects that showcase the capabilities of blockchain (technology). If we're (Filipino companies) successful of developing these here, then we could probably have these replicated elsewhere," he remarked.

Thus, PCIEERD would look for budding entrepreneurs with an inclination in blockchain technology, fintech (financial technology).

"Blockchain enables one to create cloud storage to make permanent records, including financial records. This also enables one to track all the activities, (thus) providing a transparent transaction," Paringit explained.

Fintech, he said, is related to blockchain technology, and only a few companies in the Philippines are inclined with fintech.

Beneficiaries of the PCIEERD-BCB partnership will receive assistance in developing their prototypes, market validation, as well as in polishing their products.

BCB will also provide them with free workshops about blockchain technology.

Meanwhile, Paringit said a technical working group will be created to screen the application.

Interested parties may inquire directly to the PCIEERD's office, and they will be provided with documents they need to fill up.

Applications will be evaluated for more than a month, according to Paringit. (PNA)