Recognizing the need for healthcare systems to keep up with the technological demands, the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and the University of Immaculate Concepcion (UIC) launched the Mobilizing Advanced Research and Innovations to Advocate Nation-Building (MARIAN) Technology Business Incubator (TBI).
“This innovation hub will provide the necessary resources to support and nurture the next generation of technology entrepreneurs in the Region. The MARIAN TBI hub will provide a range of services including mentorship, funding opportunities, and access to state-of-the-art facilities,” said Sister Ma. Marissa Viri, RVM, President of UIC.
Sister Viri said that the functions of the University evolved from instruction, research, and community service which now extends to production and commercialization, igniting the inspiration for them to pursue the establishment of the Hub. She said that the support provided through the MARIAN TBI will ensure that the talents of the students in the Davao region will not go to waste.
Mr. Ceasar Ian Benablo, project lead of MARIAN TBI, said that they focused on startup projects in which UIC is best known such as allied health programs intertwined with computer science with hopes to expand the services to more disciplines in the future.
“The primary goal of the facility is to act as a catalyst for young entrepreneurs to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to capacitate them. They already have the brilliant ideas in them but they don’t have a strong foundation on the business aspects and that is where we come in,” Mr. Benablo added.
Dr. Enrico Paringit, Executive Director of DOST-PCIEERD, said he is very positive that the MARIAN TBI will encourage more startups in the health and ICT sector to prosper. He said that DOST-PCIEERD will continuously support and collaborate with the University to bring innovation closer to people.
Dr. Paringit also lauded the City Government of Davao for passing the Innovation Ordinance to foster and sustain a supportive and sustainable ecosystem for local inventors and innovators.
“Our local talents sometimes get tapped by multinational companies to join them or local talents go somewhere else to find employment. If the local government provides the very much-needed boost to the locals to start up their own businesses, then they will be retained here,” he added.
Councilor Bernard Al-Ag also hoped that the facility will help produce more employers rather than employees citing that there are 70,000 Davaoenos employed in the ICT sector but the majority are working under international companies.
“Our local talents are more than capable of producing world-class innovations and we want our next generation to lead the ICT sector,” he added.
Davao City Mayor Hon. Sebastian Duterte through Councilor Pilar Braga commended UIC for their efforts to foster the potential of startup entrepreneurs and nurturing their budding ventures in Davao City.
“Know that the City Government of Davao is one with you in the aspiration of creating an environment that fuels economic growth toward sustainable progress of our society,” Mayor Duterte added.
Among the projects that the MARIAN TBI is currently assisting in their initial stages are ChumSpace, a social media application for people with Down syndrome, EduCaNet, a learning mobile application to connect special education students and teachers, and NurtureMoms, a mobile application designed to support new parents on their journey towards physical and emotional well-being after childbirth.