Hailed by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as a showcase, the UP Cebu Business Incubator for Information Technology (UP CeBu inIT) hosted the first Philippine Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) Summit on November 24, 2017 at the Cebu Parklane International Hotel. The summit served as a venue for the TBIs around the country to share their experiences and lessons including how to start a network in order to further develop the TBIs. The event was made possible in partnership with the Philippine Council for Industry, Engineering and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) of the DOST.
Aside from UP Cebu inIT, other established TBIs in attendance included, among others: the UP Enterprise Center for Technopreneurship, the UP Diliman Innovation Hub, Batangas State University, Western Visayas State University, Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology, and the youngest TBI, the Palawan State University.
“It took almost eight years, if we reckon the start of TBIs in 2009, before we were able to hold this first ever national summit,” UP Cebu Chancellor Liza Corro said in her welcome remarks. She echoed the summit objectives of promoting the establishment of an association of TBIs as an avenue “to share best practices, and to relay to government and industry the needs of TBIs and our start-up locators.”
Sharing his knowledge on best practices on the sustainability of TBIs, ‘Azra’i Shu’ib, the general manager of Technology Park Malaysia, discussed Malaysia’s journey in building its “fourth-generation TBIs”. The TBIs in attendance are the second generation of TBIs established with the support of DOST. Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Nora Terrado talked about how FabLabs could help capacitate technopreneurs in the region. FabLabs or fabrication laboratories are a kind of facility to enable the transformation of digital designs into physical reality.
Other resources speakers included Executive Director Carlos Primo David and TBI Program Manager Russel Pili, both of PCIEERD.
The summit also marked the launching of the Higher Education Institution Readiness for Innovation and Technopreneurship (HEIRIT) Program. Spearheaded by UP Engineering Prof. Nestor Rañeses, the program aims to prepare higher education institutions for technology business incubation ventures. A total of 20 of these higher education institutions were named, including UP Mindanao, with chief executives signing a memorandum of understanding with DOST through Secretary Fortunato de la Peña.
The summit showcased as well some start-ups sharing their own experiences with UP Cebu inIT’s own locators, InnoPub Media and PayRuler, taking the stage. Since its establishment in 2009, a number of TBIs around the country have experienced challenges in sustainability with UP Cebu inIT remaining as a good example and described by DOST as “the more matured” of the TBIs.
According to Jeffrey Montecillos, who has been with the UP Cebu inIT since its inception, the maturity of UP Cebu’s TBI is due to a high start-up graduation rate and financial sustainability of operations. Of its 62 locators, 40 have graduated from the TBI as capable of operating on their own. The TBI has also come up with an operations manual and has realized significant savings.
The UP Cebu inIT is currently being managed by Project Leader Jason Nieva along with staff members, Montecillos, Hazel dela Peña, and Fretzy Colonia.