UP Enterprise Center: The Foundation of Innovation
By Bea Castaneda
The new age of the Internet did not only bring about Instagram and detailed pop culture coverage but it has helped cultivate the rise of Technology Entrepreneurship. Aside from clinical definitions that include “organization, management, and risk bearing of a technology based business” or “establishment of a new technology venture”, Technology Entrepreneurship is also known to be “a vehicle that facilitates prosperity in individuals, firms, regions, and nations.” This points out that a purpose greater than profiteering was meant for it.
Now in ‘technopreneurship’, the inception of an idea may be the easiest thing to check off the list. Just like every other business venture out there, revolutionary or not, it will always need a push so that it can get up on its feet and walk. There lies the importance of what we call a Technology Business Incubator (TBI) and this mechanism is largely responsible for the initiation of technology-based and driven enterprises. These TBIs usually offer services such as: Marketing Assistance, Business planning, common facilities, syndicating finances, trainings and mentoring sessions. Studies even show that with the help of TBIs the longevity of such enterprises go from 30% to 70%.
The UP Enterprise Center
Now the Philippines, being named as one of the fastest rising economies in the world, would never be left behind in producing such minds that will create innovation. There is no question about the supply of great minds but the problem lies in the support to make the ideas of said minds a reality. This is where UP Enterprise Center introduces itself.
According to Mr. Jacinto Asuncion, the current Center Manager, UP Enterprise Center is a “TBI that nurture start-ups that commercialise innovations and new technologies for the University of the Philippines (UP) System with the goal to assist the inventors find good possible match of commercialisation.” Formed in 2012, it started assisting StartUps from “the usual rental of office space like a co-working space, then it has grown by introducing training programs and matured by assisting StartUps by matching them directly to industry players.” It is also supported by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development.
Some of their start-ups that come from UP Enterprise Center are: Cropital (a crowd funding platform that connects investors to local farmers), SmartSurface (a device that turns most flat surfaces tap-sensitive electronically interactive surfaces), RxBox (an eHealth platform, All-in-one solution, easy-to-use, medical device tailored for Phil public health), and OneWatt (reduce electricity bills by up to 40%).
It has also been involved with the inception of a ‘mentoring initiative’ called Project: Outreach that assists State Universities and Colleges into establishing their own TBIs that will hopefully commercialize brilliant and revolutionary student theses and projects. Project: Outreach “aims to increase inter-university collaboration, accelerate the formation of a critical mass of innovators, and provide a bigger pool from which future ventures can form.”
Soldier of Innovation
Mentioned in this article earlier, Jacinto Asuncion or “Jhaze”, as he prefers to be called, is one of the people behind the support system that is UP Enterprise Center. He is the current Center Manager since February 2016 and has a lot of experience to back his position up. He was a graduate of BSBA – Major in Exports Management in De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde and he studied his Master’s Degree in Business Administration in Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
He is a very experienced entrepreneur being an independent business owner at MacroIntra Trading & MetroWorld Travel Services which has nationally distributed and traded Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG). He was also a Business Development Manager and an Export Staff at Avalon Edunet and Monde Nissin Coporation respectively. Jhaze does not only have an exceptional background with handling local clients and markets but has absolute confidence in taking on the international route.
With present skills such as Sales and Marketing, Product & Services Development, innovation and upgrades plus adept in market penetration and distribution expansion, Jhaze is a basically a goldmine as a mentor and the students and professionals that UP Enterprise Center would assist will be very lucky to have Jhaze not only to teach but to mentor them as well.
All of what he has done in his previous positions have molded him into being the best mentor he could be, especially if it’s for a business incubator. He has overwhelming success and a substantial background that is connected to the principles of UP Enterprise Center but one thing I have figured out while reading about him is that he is looking for innovation. He is trained to innovate and upgrade and there is nothing better than to be involved and take part of the growth of the future problem solvers and creative technological minds of the country.
Shaping the Technological Future
“Work hard and focus in the validation of the market, it is difficult but every hard work produces profit.” This was Jhaze’s advice to future entrepreneurs, a mixture of inspirational and practical, which in this field would be the perfect equation to result in success. The future will provide the creative ideas but the outcome is up to the people creating them. The realities we live in now were once thoughts, considered an impossibility, but it has been shaped and guided by years of hard work and focus.
There will be failure at some point but with support systems like UP Enterprise Center and mentors like Jhaze, the future does not look bad at all.
Bailetti, T. 2012. Technology Entrepreneurship: Overview, Definition, and Distinctive Aspects. Technology Innovation Management Review. February 2012: 5-12.
Usman, Edd K. "DOST, UP Open TBIs to Encourage 'techno Startups'" Manila Bulletin. Manila Bulletin, 9 Jan. 2016. Web. 21 Sept. 2016.