USC Conducts Carolinian BRIDGES
Photo by Rey Caracena
The University of San Carlos (USC) conducted a soft opening ceremony last Jan. 24, 2019 for Carolinian BRIDGES by holding a Regional Technopreneurship Forum and a Pitching Competition at the Bunzel Lobby of the Talamban Campus in line with its brand new Tech Hub at the left wing of the third floor of the same building.
Attended by representatives of local government institutions, community-based organizations, the private sector, the startup community, and the USC Faculty and Cohort Faculty in the Visayas Region, the program aimed to strengthen the university’s linkage with various stakeholders in fostering a science and technology driven entrepreneurial environment in Central Visayas.
The ceremony began with the blessing of the brand new facility led by Fr. Eugene Docoy and the official ribbon cutting led by the university president, Fr. Dionisio Miranda. Guests were then presented with an official tour of the Tech Hub. After which, the Regional Technopreneurship and Innovation Forum commenced. An esteemed panel of speakers spoke about the active efforts made by the local government, the academe and the business industry in leading the country toward a technology-driven entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Brian Ybañez, a research specialist and consultant of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), spoke about the department’s goal to produce a thousand startups in the next five years through a partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in creating a roadmap toward inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship in the industry. Maria Elena Arbon, the Assistant Regional Director of DTI-7 supported the partnership and added that the increased movement toward the digital space, e-commerce intervention and the digitization of brick and mortar are some of the ways to help startups in Cebu produce global outputs.
Meanwhile, Rufino Olay III, the vice president of BizOps and the AI Center of Excellence, touched on breakthroughs of data science in the region. He stressed that the goal of making the Philippines the data science capital of the world can only be achieved by fostering a love for learning within the academe. The final speaker, Fr. Aleksander Gaut, USC’s Vice President for Academic Affairs (VPAA), spoke about how the interconnectedness of technology breeds so much divide and widens the social gap. The VPAA ended the forum by reminding the guests that science without social practice and engagement is merely empty science.
In the afternoon, the QuesTech Limitless 2019 Pitch Competition began with Fr. Gaut’s welcome remarks – inviting the contestants to not be afraid and intimidated by the audience. Prior to the conduct of the event, top ideas were chosen for the competition. 14 contestants were given five minutes each to pitch their concepts, and another five minutes was given for the judges’ question and answer portion. During the judges’ deliberation, Russ Neu, Director of Quest Ventures & Social Collider – Singapore, lectured on social entrepreneurship principles, stressing on the importance of the replicability, monetization and scalability of a product.
Winners of the event were given cash and a trophy. The Best Pitcher was awarded to Kubu Cuisine, a pitch on new flavors for their Cebuano sauces and HabiTap, a pitch that offers homestay-like services, was awarded with Best Pitch Idea while Student Buddy, a distraction-free app designed for students, was awarded with Best Business Model on Tarp. On the other hand, Mangape, an app designed for hassle free coffee services, won MinibeaMitsumi’s Choice Award and P10,000.
The judges for Best Pitcher, Best Pitch and Best Business Model on Tarp awards were Russ Neu, Engr. Kenneth Baylosis, the Chief Technological Officer of Zoog Technologies, Inc., Engr. Leonora Salvane, the Chief Operating Officer of GT Cosmetics, Mfg., Inc, Engr. Roy Alcano, the General Manager of AutoLIV Cebu Safety Mfg., while MinebeaMitsumi Inc.’s representatives were the ones who judged for the MinibeaMitsumi’s Choice Award.
After tokens were awarded to the guests and judges, the event was concluded with closing remarks by Ricardo Fornis, Assistant Dean of USC’s School of Engineering, followed by a photo opportunity.