DOST, Technopreneurs intensify Tech Biz Incubation

Dennis L. Cunanan, director general of TRC in Technology Business Incubation Forum
REVITALIZING the Technology Business Incubation (TBI) since the time its feasibility study was made way back 1990, the Department of Science and Technology's Technology Resource Center (DOST-TRC) spearheaded an Investors and Startups forum at the University of the Philippines National Engineering Center to provide an overview and sharing of learnings and experiences in investing in startup enterprises (or startups). 

The forum aspires to elevate understanding on investment in smart startup technology-based enterprises. It presents a general idea of the topics on technology entrepreneurship (technopreneurship) and business incubation. It also serves to formally consolidate the TBI practitioners as a proactive sector geared towards global trends and in sync with the government. 

TRC executive’s optimism in TBIs 

Dennis L. Cunanan, the TRC director general highlighted that the event is in accordance with the vision of the DOST as being an avenue for harping on the achievements of people involved in various aspects of a Technology Business Incubator (TBI), sharing best practices and pooling idea for systematic reforms. He also mentioned some important innovations, simple but practical gadgets in life like CCTV, GPRS tracking system and RFID. 

Cunanan is confident that a realistic assessment of the country's developments in TBIs can be charted with these sharing of practices and insights; and will facilitate a responsive policy making at the helm. 

What is TBI? 

A technology business incubator (TBI) is a program that helps entrepreneurs and new businesses to take off and develop through its varied business support resources and services. It is a nurturing environment and may develop in time. 

The livelihood training center, TRC also administers the operations of the DOST-PEZA Open TBI located at the ASTI Compound inside the UP Science and Technology Park in Diliman, Quezon City. 

The DOST-PEZA Open TBI is intended to assist technopreneurs who are engaged in open-source technologies, to propel their business development cycle, accelerate their business launch and become highly competitive in a relatively shorter span of time by providing them with leasable office space, tangible or common service facilities like conference and training areas, non-tangible service such as free access to unlimited high-speed internet service, consultancy on technical, marketing, management, legal, coaching/monitoring, etc.) and virtual services to non-resident of incubator. 

Malaysian mentor creates passion and excitement in the forum 
Andrew Wong, president & CEO of MAD Inc. during his presentation  at UP, QC
Andrew Wong, president and CEO of Make a Difference (MAD), also an architect of seven incubators in Malaysia, presented the status and the different models used by business incubators in the Southeast Asian region. 

Like Olympic athletes, entrepreneurs according to Wong must have commitment, discipline, passion, loves what they do, ability to compete like a champion in the world Olympiad. 

Wong’s entrepreneurship success story was so fascinating. He shared his own experience and lavished it with tips on how to be a successful incubator and entrepreneur to attendees of the forum specially on starting an enterprise with zero capital. 

Wong detailed out that Singapore has the most number of business incubators, with 120 incubators/ accelerators. Followed by Malaysia, 116; Thailand, 50+; Indonesia, 30; Philippines, 20+; Vietnam, 11 and Cambodia 1. 

He shared the important lessons learned in establishing incubators/accelerators/hubs. 

He said: "I don't believe in having a Silicon Valley in Southeast Asia, but I believe in the local model." 

The entrepreneur’s bite: "If you can control the future to some extent, you do not need to predict the future." 

Agricultural researches to business use 
Enrico Supangco, director of the University of the Philippines Center for Technology Transfer 
In an interview, Enrico Supangco, director of the University of the Philippines Center for Technology Transfer said: “University and college graduates should adopt entrepreneurship as part of their career instead of just landing a good job at reputable companies.” 

He added: “Entrepreneurship is the way to go if we want to continue driving growth for the Philippine economy. The biggest challenge is actually the development stage of the business and that is where business incubation comes in, to mentor startups and give them extra skills on product development up to marketing and sales.” 

“You do not need a very big capital when investing in agriculture as a startup. Plus of course, agriculture products are key to our food production so you are sure to have a market as you grow the business,” explained Supangco. 

He continued that the macapuno seedling, sinta papaya (the first hybrid papaya in the Philippines) and Bio-N fertilizer are among the agricultural products for TBI. 

Investing in agribusiness takes three years to generate revenue compared with information communication technology startups of about three to six months. 

The Forum: Where do we go except succeed? 

The Technology Business Incubation Forum 2013 at UP, QC with the speakers & panelists 
The speakers/panelists of this event provided an insider's view of the benefits and challenges of starting a company from funding, space rental, tangible and intangible support to recruiting talent. 

Mitchi Barcelon, UP-Ayala Technohub senior manager imparted during the forum: “Maybe along the way, it won’t be happy, build them anyway. Don’t wait for the perfect situation. With passion and determination, it will happen.” 
Dr. Luis Sison, program leader of a UP Diliman-based incubator UP Enterprise
While Dr. Luis Sison, program leader of a UP Diliman-based incubator UP Enterprise, imparted that there are venture capitalists and incubators all over the country, including one in Cebu City. 

While Pauline Wade, head of Cebu TBI (Cebu Business Incubator for IT) said: “Find funding that you will need. Find powerful sponsors and manage their expectations.” 

Palawan Mayor Leoncio also participated in the discussion and so passionate to share his entrepreneurial undertakings with the coconut products like coco sugar, buko pie and virgin coconut oil to promote sustainable business in his constituents. In his municipality, he opened the facility for FREE for a certain period of time.

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