The United States Agency for International Development (USAid), through the Science, Technology, Research and Innovation for Development (Stride) Program, and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in partnership with the US Embassy’s American Spaces Philippines, launched on December 18 FAB LABs Philippines, a makerspace network of nineteen FAB LAB institutions.
FAB LABs Philippines was launched at the Makers Without Borders webinar organized by American Spaces Philippines and the Department of State’s Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) Innovation Hub (IHub) FabLab Mindanao. Through FAB LABs, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines foster innovation and facilitate collaborative learning. FAB LABs also play a major role in providing technical prototyping for DTI by lending their expertise on startup mentoring and design development.
“Through American Spaces Philippines and the USAid Stride program, links between FAB LABs in the Philippines and the United States are strong and expanding every day,” said Chargé d’Affaires John Law. “As we face the unprecedented challenges brought by Covid-19, there is no doubt that international collaboration in science, technology, and innovation is needed now more than ever.”
“Our ultimate goal is that with the FAB LAB and makerspace projects, our country’s economic growth story will continue in a post-Covid future,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez. “Through the transformation of Filipinos’ ideas into commercially viable products, our MSMEs will become more innovative and competitive. And as our MSMEs boost our economy’s growth, they will generate more jobs and employment for our people, which would give them a better and more comfortable quality of life.”
FAB LABs Philippines is a product of the strong partnership between the Philippine and US governments. The first FAB LAB in the Philippines was launched in Bohol city in 2014, and since 2019, the Department of State’s GIST initiative has been supporting local startup incubators in Davao, Iligan, and Manila to advance entrepreneurial ventures and cultivate business development skills. In addition to GIST, local FAB LABs also receive technical and financial support from DTI and the Department of Science and Technology.