By Abs A. Abando/PNA
The influx of start-up businesses has stoked a new kind of competition among cities in the Philippines.
To attract new businesses, local governments are improving their business-friendliness by coming up with new policies and ordinances to make it easy for entrepreneurs to invest with them.
Since 2011, several cities and municipalities have redeveloped their services, providing ease of doing business for startups and fixed investors.
Lars Wittig, country manager of Regus Philippines, noted that in a rapidly developing country like the Philippines, cities act as engines of growth. Cities with well-planned urban growth can speed up regional economic growth, innovation, and prosperity, he said.
Wittig pointed out that while megacities like Metro Manila command much more economic and political attention, smaller cities are the locus of urban growth and urban population concentration.
Important contributors to national wealth and productivity, these secondary cities are a vital focus for development programming and growth in the Philippines, he said.
He further said that through the Cities Development Initiative, second-tier cities outside Metro Manila are being developed as engines of growth that is inclusive, environmentally sustainable and resilient.
By fostering an open and competitive business climate and facilitating investments in high-value industry clusters, each city provides entrepreneurs with the best facilities to grow their business, he added.
Wittig identified five cities as the best places to launch startups.
Topping his list is Quezon City, which has been recognised by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry as last year’s Most Business-Friendly Local Government Unit.
Wittig said the city has passed the qualifying indicators, such as areas of investment promotions, compliance with the Anti-Red Tape Act, and fiscal transparency. As one of the most dynamic metropolitan areas in the country today, Quezon City is considered an incubator for businesses of all sizes, he said.
Next on his list is Makati City, considered as the Financial Capital and the Wall Street of the Philippines.
Being the centre of commerce, he said, the Makati Central Business District is home to hotels, BPO industries and condominiums, and is a top choice as business address for leading Filipino and multinational companies. To date, Makati has more than 62,000 business enterprises with 1,159 BPO companies in its district.
Third on Wittig’s list is the capital of the Philippines. He described Manila as the heart of the Philippine economy, and a major centre for finance, tourism and real estate.
The largest seaport is also found here, he said, making it the main international shipping gateway to the country. As the densest city in the world, Manila is a top destination for both local and foreign entrepreneurs, he added.
Wittig picked Angeles City outside Metro Manila as the fourth best city to launch start-ups. Angeles City, he said, is home to an emerging technology industry and its economy is also based on tourism, games and amusements.
The city could also become one of the venues of the world-renowned Formula One series, given the proposal to construct a new Formula One quality circuit, he noted.
Fifth on his list is Pasay City, home to the country’s four major airport terminals, national government offices, financial institutions and one of the biggest malls in Southeast Asia.
Pasay has become a great centre for international congresses, trade exhibitions and symposia every year, he added.
Regus is a global provider of workspace. The Luxembourg-based company has nearly 3,000 business centres in 120 countries.