By Nathan Angelo B. Cruz | Web Manager
Vol. XCI No. 13
Dec. 13, 2019
Silliman University (SU), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), launched the Silliman Innovations on Energy (SInergy) Technology Business Incubation (TBI) at the Mariano and Lina Lao Innovation, Creativity and Invention Lab (ICI Lab), Dec. 7.
According to Lawrence dela Peña, Project Staff of SInergy TBI, SU was chosen to cater to the innovators in the region by the DOST due to its available facilities, especially the ICI Lab, as well as its abundant energy resources.
SInergy TBI, the first of its kind in Negros Oriental, is a business incubator that assists technology-based startups in generating ideas, developing prototypes and commercializing products. It aims “[t]o produce teams that will leave the incubation program financially viable and able to sustain operations with the ability to compete in the market,” according to their Facebook page.
“The purpose of the TBI is to incubate ideas. So, for example, if you have a startup idea, regardless of which university you came from, which school you came from if you want your idea to become an official business… then this is the hub for you,” he said.
Dela Peña explained that one would have to pitch their ideas to a group of panelists comprised of TBI staff. If the panelists would find the idea feasible and marketable, then one would receive a grant—exclusive to this TBI—of ₱100,000.
However, he added that TBI is not limited to pitches. “We are purely incubation. So, even if you don’t want to pitch but you have an idea, we allow them to be incubated here. Not by funding, but by facilities. We have the computers, the 3D printers, and the co-working space they need for their ideas.”
Dela Peña stated that the establishment of a local TBI is part of a government bid to achieve Industry 4.0 in the country, featuring technologies such as artificial intelligence and smart cities at the forefront
The whole-day affair began with a devotion, ribbon-cutting, dedication, and blessing, and was followed by a welcoming message by Dr. Earl Cleope, Vice President for Academic Affairs, who described this as a “leap of faith.”
Dr. Dave Marcial, the project leader of SInergy TBI and Dean of the College of Computer Studies, shared how SInergy TBI came to be, as the staff realized the need for a “technopreneurship.” Förster then discussed the purpose and scope of the program.
“Our homonym of ‘SInergy’ … also sounds like ‘synergy’… which means the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect greater than the sum of individual elements and contributions. We have envisioned our [TBI] to include all, not only energy technologies, but also educational technologies, Internet of Things, environmental technologies, marine sciences, and all the strengths that we have at the university,” Förster said.
Russell Pili, Chief of Research Information and Technology Transfer Division of DOST- Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development discussed matters regarding TBI and what it aims to do.
“But now, DOST is gunning for Industry 4.0. That is why we recently launched our TBI 4.0 program. That is our version of converting local facilities to international TBIs. The goal of the TBI 4.0 program is to be able to create world-class TBIs, globally link them to our international partners and provide competitive facilities, access markets abroad … upgrade our skillsets and also produce quality tech startups for the world.” Pili said,
Afterward, vice president for development Jane Belarmino talked on behalf of SU President Dr. Betty McCann, followed by Dr. Henry Sojor, Provincial Administrator of Negros Oriental and served as the representative of Hon. Roel Degamo, Governor of Negros Oriental.
Dr. Sojor said: “Words like incubation, innovation, creativity and changes. Those were the words I heard from the Tiempos of [SU]. I remember very well, when I graduated from my doctoral degree here, Dr. Tiempo—both Mr. and Mrs. Tiempo—we went to Dauin. And I told them that Dauin has a lot of rocks, maybe coming from the mountains of Mount Talinis. Mrs. Tiempo patted me here and said, ‘Henry, don’t worry about the rocks. The rocks are the broken teeth of God.’”
The event proceeded with the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement, then a message from Edward Du, President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Region VII, and Julius Teves, Community Partner of the Energy Development Corporation was given.
Three incubates, who were recipients of the Mariano Lao ICI Research Grant Scholarship, were recognized. They were: “Design and Implementation of a PHPP with a Water Level Alarm System,” “Design of a Rumble Strip Road Power Generator for Light Emitting Diode (LED) Street Lighting”, and “The Design and Fabrication of an Automated Egg Size Sorting Machine.”
Parallel sessions were held in the afternoon, including 3D Programming, Innovation Technology Support, Project Proposal Formulation, Commercialization, Creativity Fest, and Mobile Programming.