Chancellor’s Speech in DTI SlingShot Maker 2017 – “Building Communities to Accelerate the Innovation Economy”

DTI officials, makers movement, enablers, the Cebuano local makers’ community, creative entrepreneurs, start-ups and heads of academic institutions, participants, welcome and maayong buntag!

UP Cebu, together with the rest of the UP constituent units just tarted its school for this second semester. This is just actually our second week of classes.

A lot of you must have experience during start of classes when parents will mostly tell you to study well so you will get good grades, so you can find a high paying job. Very seldom do you hear parents motivate a child with an encouragement, to study hard so he or she, will become a scientist, a businessman or entrepreneur. Going into business and embarking on your own enterprise, or becoming researchers, and advancing in the field of studies especially in sciences, are options, we, in UP, strongly encourage after graduation from the University.

Here in UP Cebu, we encourage and nurture an innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Our tagline articulates it for us: “Nurtured to Create, Inspired to Innovate and Destined to Serve”. This is best manifested thru our academe based shared services’ facilities or SSFs. These shared services facilities cater, and provide opportunities internally for our students, faculty and staff, for them to harness their innovative talents and entrepreneurial skills. And as part of our public service, externally, for our alumni and the whole community as a whole, these SSFs, provide the real life laboratories where they can do test runs of their ideas.

UP Cebu, as an academic institution is fortunate, to collaborate with other government institutions who are of the same min in giving value to the innovative and entrepreneurial culture. Here in UP Cebu, we are host to both DTI and DOST sponsored facilities, consisting of: the DTI’s UP Cebu FabLab, Go Negosyo Center and Co-working Space, and the Creative Digital Media Production Center where Cebuano musicians are given the support to produce their compositions. While for DOST, under the umbrella of UP Cebu’s Technology Transfer and Business Development Office (or TTBDO), we host the Technology Business Incubation Center, together with the Innovation Technology Support Office (ITSO) and the Technology Transfer Office (or TTO). The latter two offices are being assisted by the Intellectual Property Office (IPOPhil). Of course, these are aside from the other DOST sponsored project we host here in UP Cebu, called the Light Intensive Detection and Ranging or LIDAR projects.

The sustainability of these SSFs, are more assured for having been located inside a university. We have tried and tested this under our Technology Business Incubation model which we call the CEBUinIT, which first started in 2009. CEBUinIT has assisted various start-up companies, which have graduated and are now commercially operating, while for others, have averted their losses, after they learned the non-viability of their business models. In here, we provide our faculty coordinators with administrative load credits and/or honorarium for running these SSFs. We conduct and host, and participate in various activities to encourage the creativity and innovativeness of our students and community.

For those who may not be familiar with Cebu, Cebu is a hub for around 200 BPO’s, sea and air transports and high and low manufacturing, and is home to around 700 copyright based industries, or better known as creative industries. As they say, Cebuanos are very creative and artistic.

We regularly conduct here Idea Challenge and for a few times ahd hosted Start-up Weekend. I recall in on Start-up Weekend I attended, wherein one participating group, introduced innovations ot the AirBnB. But this time, instead of regular guests and travellers to be hosted thru sharing of spaces, their concept was sharing of spaces for funeral wake. Can you imaging your house’s garage, or your vacation house in the province, earning income, by regularly hosting a wake? It might be a crazy idea right now for us. but that’s how innovative ideas re regarded at the onset of there conceptualizations. The doomsayers will always be fast to tell you, “you’ll never make it”, like the Gulliver’s Island.

I recall a few times I was using somebody else’s laptop and I was swiping a spot on the screen, but it never moves, only to remember it is not a touch screen laptop, nor like our smart touch screen phones. One time, while watching TV, i wanted to transfer channel and kept on pressing the control, but it doesn’t move, only to find out I was using my cellphone as the remote control. Or how I wanted to open up my car, and it just won’t, because again it was my cellphone I was using as a remote. Oh well, anyway there ar enow keyless cars.

These are some of the wonders of modern day gadgets and technology which we never had before, but which we all had gotten used to nowadays, and had made our everyday live easier.

If we al pool in our efforts and talent, through policies and support for our makers’ talent, to heighten their movements’ “cause”, I believe, it will just be a matter of time that we create the innovative community culture. Not only it will provide us solutions to day-to-day problems, but it will necessarily result into high value products and services. And these high value products and services, needless to say, make us more competitive in attracting investors. Where the talents and skills are more knowledge based and not easily replicated, ti gives us more leverage and competitive edge. And we can expect, that where there are more investors, the more it will generate quality employment. And with its multiplier effects, it will surely redound into a highly beneficial economy for all of us.

SO YOU, THE MAKERS’ COMMUNITY, START-UPS, CREATIVE ENTREPS, AND OF COURSE THE ACADEME, LET US ALL PITCH IN, TO ACCELERATE IN TURNING OUR COUNTRY INTO AN INNOVATION CENTERED ECONOMY.