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Faculty Training 2019: Enhancing Technopreneurship Education

David Law, Director of Global Academic Programs at University of California Berkeley

David Law, Director of Global Academic Programs at University of California Berkeley

Last September 16 to 21, over 70 professors and educators from PhilDev’s partner TechHubs and its cohorts participated in a Faculty Training on Technopreneurship teaching which aims to integrate social impact concepts in the Technopreneurship 101 (T101) subject.

In partnership with UNDP Philippines and the Australian Embassy in the Philippines through the Innovation for Social Impact Partnership (ISIP) project, participants underwent a six-day training where they experienced building their own startups which impact is aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ken Singer, Managing Director of the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley); and David Law, Director of Global Academic Programs also at UC Berkeley, lead once again the training sessions where they shared with the participants knowledge, skills, and tools to be able to develop an enhanced T101 course outline with integrated social impact concepts and frameworks.

This is not the first time Ken and David trained faculty members in the Philippines on technopreneurship. PhilDev has sought the expertise of the two Berkeley professors to strengthen Philippine higher education institutions’ capacity to teach T101 in the previous years.

Simulating the Startup Journey

According to Ken, the best way to teach entrepreneurship is to experience being an entrepreneur. One of the main outputs of the professors in the training is to build their startup. Participants simulated the startup journey throughout the training and were able to ideate diverse business solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

In processing the exercise, Ken and David introduced the Masterclass method to the participants. According to Ken and David, they use the Masterclass method when evaluating their class at UC Berkeley. The method allows them to evaluate the students through the critiques and recommendations they provide to the presenters.

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“Masterclasses are incredibly important because the team gets very comfortable talking in front of people and defending their ideas. But it also gets the audience active in the learning process, they become inquisitive and critical,” Ken explained.

Ken and David recommend that the professors use the Masterclass method as well in teaching the Technopreneurship course as it will enhance their students’ critical thinking skills.

Aside from the Masterclass method, Ken and David also introduced video blogging (vlog) as a way to draw out the students’ insights and feedback on a topic or class activity. Ken and David asked the professors during the training to also record vlogs to showcase their reflections and lessons from the topics they learned.

As part of their startup journey in the training, participants were also allowed to seek advice from mentors. Most of the professors are also experts in a particular STEAM field which allowed them to also provide inputs to other groups’ startup ideas. 

Once these professors return to their universities, they will also provide mentorship opportunities to their students taking T101. The university, according to David, is a “perfect kind of fertile environment” for students to have this. “The university is a place where they can find great mentors or just people who can provide professional development advice for them,” David added.

Taking the Lead in Technopreneurship Education

Dr. Rigoberto Advincula, principal author of Technopreneurship 101 and PhilDev Trustee

Dr. Rigoberto Advincula, principal author of Technopreneurship 101 and PhilDev Trustee

In an interview, Ken was impressed with the implementation of T101 in the Philippines nationwide. “This is, in fact, the first place in the world that I know that has mandated all students who will be graduating from a particular college [Engineering]. I think that’s amazing and I think that’s fantastic. I have not seen that anywhere else. It’s an opportunity to take a lead in that space,” Ken shared.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) rolled out T101 across all 539 higher education institutions in the country in 2018. Supporting this rollout is the establishment of the TechHubs strategically located across PhilDev’s partner universities nationwide. Part of the TechHubs’ objectives is to help professors and educators enhance further their knowledge and skills in technopreneurship. 

Dr. Mary Rose Imperial, Head of the Technical Working Group on Technopreneurship at CHED, shared the importance of building the capacities of faculty members in teaching technopreneurship, “Before they [professors] can even facilitate T101 in their classrooms, they should have a different perspective, a different mindset, and that is the mindset of a technopreneur.”

Dubbed as the great equalizer, the T101 was established to create individual technical entrepreneurs according to Dr. Rigoberto Advincula, principal author of T101 and member of PhilDev’s Board of Trustees.

Aside from CHED, PhilDev collaborated with leading universities in technopreneurship education in the Philippines and the United States in developing the subject.

Reflecting on the Journey

Participants also expressed their positive feedback regarding the training. Laila Lavandero, a Civil Engineering professor at Central Luzon State University (CLSU), shared the lessons she learned from the training.

“Before the Faculty Training, I expected to teach T101 in a one-size-fits-all manner. We just follow a pattern and that’s it. But through the Faculty Training, I realized that the approach varies on the kinds of students you are teaching, from time to time you need to learn how to adjust and adapt to the class,” Laila realized.

Laila Lavandera, Civil Engineering Professor at Central Luzon State University (Center)

Laila Lavandera, Civil Engineering Professor at Central Luzon State University (Center)

Miguel Remolona, Chemical Engineering Professor at University of the Philippines Diliman

Miguel Remolona, Chemical Engineering Professor at University of the Philippines Diliman

Miguel Remolona, a Chemical Engineering professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman (UPD) and also a startup founder himself, noted as well the advantage of having a social impact aspect in a startup.

“For me, it builds your credibility when you target social impact. When you say that your solution is trying to achieve a social impact, more people are willing to listen. In the entrepreneurship perspective, when you get people to listen, you get people to buy,” Miguel shared.

At the end of the program, groups with the best ideas and pitch presentations were recognized. The following groups were awarded:

Nexcellence, Best Pitch Presenter during the Faculty Training

Nexcellence, Best Pitch Presenter during the Faculty Training

  • Nexcellence (1st Placer)
    Idea: An immersive mobile video game that aims to raise awareness of domestic violence

  • BESTplus (2nd Placer)
    Idea: An online marketplace that offers herbs and spices locally grown by women in organized communities

  • MomSee (3rd Placer)
    Idea: A mobile application that can help pregnant mothers monitor their health and increase access to maternal medical care information and services

The best vlog for the week was also awarded to Cris Hate, a Computer Engineering professor at the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP).

David, who has been training professors and educators on technopreneurship with PhilDev since 2015, expressed the importance of technopreneurship in the country’s development, “Technopreneurship is really critical to economic development. It crosses boundaries in both developed countries and developing countries. It is a really important engine for economic growth.”

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The Faculty Training is one of the activities of the ISIP project, a project co-implemented by PhilDev, UNDP in the Philippines, and the Australian Embassy in the Philippines.

Visiting Professors 2019: Integrating Social Impact into Technopreneurship

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Since its launching in 2014, PhilDev has been successful in deploying various international professors to Philippine universities for the Visiting Professors Activity. A total of 26 US professors have visited 19 universities in the Philippines since its first implementation. 

The Visiting Professors activity provides a venue for knowledge exchange and sharing of expertise and knowledge on entrepreneurship and aims to forge long-term partnerships and collaborative opportunities between local and international universities. It also helps develop and strengthen the TechHubs housed in these partner universities. The crafting of the Technopreneurship 101 subject was one of the outputs derived from feedback from previous deployments.

Through the Innovation for Social Impact Partnership (ISIP) project which PhilDev co-implements with UNDP in the Philippines, and supported by the Australian Embassy in the Philippines. It aims to support the implementation of the Technopreneurship 101 subject by integrating social impact. This year’s Visiting Professors activity commenced in August. 

The first batch of professors include Meike Siegner, a PHD candidate in Sustainable Management from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada; and Eugene Noh, a returning professor, Program Director of the Bay Area National Science Foundation Innovation-Corps (NSF I-Corps). Both professors were deployed for 5 days in their respective host universities. 

Innovation and Sustainability Management

Meike was deployed in the University of San Carlos (USC) in Cebu City where she provided lectures, discussions, consultations, and mentorship focusing on sustainability management, digital storytelling, and topics on circular economy. She also had one-on-one mentorship sessions with the startups in the USC TechHub Incubator program. 

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“I am very impressed with the existence of a very active entrepreneurial ecosystem and many local solutions tackling pressing social and environmental issues. There is great awareness already. I am impressed with how much innovation and insight is present on the ground and how much ingenuity is already being applied” said Meike about startups she met with in Cebu. 

Kenneth Joseph Baylosis, CEO and Founder, Zoog Technologies and Micab Systems Corporation, is one of the startup founders in USC’s Incubator. He was present during the mentorship session with Meike. “It’s always better to link [up] with people outside of your box so that you will know what’s really going on around. That initial talk [with Meike] is giving me ideas like in considering expanding the business to other areas. I learned that in her area in Vancouver, there is a potential for expansion of my business,” explains Kenneth.

USC has been hosting Visiting Professors from 2014 until 2016. Dr. Evelyn Taboada, Dean of USC’s College of Engineering shares the value that the Visiting Professors bring to their university. “We always look forward to this Visiting Professor activity because as an academic institution, we always benchmark to other universities and we appreciate experts in the field, and we are willing to learn from them. Especially when professors are very open to also learn and share their expertise,” she said. 

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Meike’s experience with USC has opened up opportunities for learning for her as well. “I had a great experience at this university [USC]. USC, to me, is an excellent example of a place of thoughtfulness, innovation, inspiration, and a lot of already existing opportunities and initiatives that have been already built over the years. I felt very honored to be entering into a very active system of incubators, startups, teaching innovation in the areas of sustainability and social entrepreneurship. I found it a great place to connect my research and background in circular economy models in place-based, natural-resource based social enterprise activities,” said Meike.


Continuing the Collaboration

Eugene Noh was first deployed as a Visiting Professor in the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) in 2016. Three years later, he returns to the same university to share further his expertise and experience on entrepreneurship and innovation. 

“Since we started this together with Prof. Noh three years ago, it just validates that we are moving in the right direction. He was even surprised that there have been a lot of activities going on not just in TechHub but also for other projects. So we are as excited as him to continue this and hopefully, through collaboration with departments inside USTP, we could move to another level,” explains Engr. Bronson Mabulay, USTP TechHub Manager.

During his deployment this year, Eugene conducted lectures and sessions that focused on Technopreneurship and market validation. He shared UC Berkeley’s best practices in technopreneurship and social entrepreneurship education. 

Eugene draws the same observation as Meike when it comes to the local entrepreneurship landscape “One of my observations was that there is a deep awareness of the social problems whether they be access to water, food security, or transportation, or job creation. The problems are ones that people experience on a daily basis,” he said. 

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Anchored on his concrete  experience in incubator management from Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology and at the Citris Foundry, Eugene conducted workshops on incubation management with the members of USTP’s TechHub staff. During the workshop, he discussed the essential elements of an incubation program, including capacity building through trainings. Eugene also shared tips on how to select and onboard mentors in the incubation program. 

One of the main activities during his deployment was the Investment Forum which was participated by faculty members of USTP, incubatees of the USTP TechHub, startups, local cooperatives, and representatives from the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Information and Communications Technology. It aims to bring together key decision-makers, investors, entrepreneurs/startups in the region and address the existing investment gap in the startup ecosystem in Mindanao. He sat as one of the panel members of the forum along with Mylah Cariño of NEDA Region X, Jonathan De Luzuriaga of Spring Valley Tech, Dr. Ambrosio Cultura, Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation of USTP, and Eileen San Juan, Local Economic Investment Promotion Officer of the City Government of Cagayan de Oro. He shared about the different the different types of investors in Silicon Valley and the types of investments. He also shared tips on how to increase chances of getting invested in. 

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“When I was here in 2016, we can only imagine who potential investors might be. And now three years later, some of the local cooperatives have not just expressed deep interest [in investing], but gone as far as to sign a memorandum of agreement to run a startup training program alongside USTP and CDO b.i.t.e.s,” Eugene shared.

PhilDev has been working with USTP in various projects on innovation and technopreneurship education.  In 2018, they formally became part of PhilDev’s TechHub Networks. “One of the missions of USTP is to support entrepreneurs, so therefore TechHub is the front and center into leading and operating this mission. We have decided to become a Center, an institution under the university after the CHEd funding, so that we could really execute what was in the mission,” said Engr. Bronson. 

Dr. Bronson also emphasizes on the value of partnering with PhilDev on the TechHub project. “Before the TechHub, we already have partners in the industry. But through this, I think we could accelerate our partnerships.”

“It’s exciting to see the impact that my efforts could have. As much as I’m impressed with what they’re doing, the fact that I can come in and help accelerate their efforts, it seems like a dynamic place so I’m personally fulfilled to be involved in the [Visiting Professors activity],” Eugene shared.

PhilDev U.S. Study Visit: Benchmarking in Cleveland, Ohio

Last September 2018, Dr. Ambrosio B. Cultura and Engr. Bronson G. Mabulay from the University of Science and Technology of the Southern Philippines (USTP) teamed up to go on a study visit in Cleveland, Ohio to benchmark best practices of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) in effectively and successfully managing its tech incubator.

The study visit aims to look at how tech entrepreneurship is taught in universities in the US, and to know who the different stakeholders are in a startup ecosystem. These support the establishment of a Technopreneurship Hub (TechHub) at USTP and the integration of a Technopreneurship 101 subject to the university’s engineering curriculum.

Dr. Cultura is currently the Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at USTP. He holds a doctorate degree in Electrical Engineering and has published papers on electrical power and renewable energy.

Along with Dr. Cultura is Engr. Mabulay who is leading the TechHub implementation at USTP. He is an engineering instructor whose fields of expertise are in plant operations management and process redesign/streamlining.

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Prof. Daniel J. Lacks, Department Chair of the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at CWRU, welcomed the two USTP officials when they arrived at the US-based university for their visit.

Starting off their activity, the three went to CWRU’s Sears think[box], an idea-nurturing seven-story hub where each floor is designed to cater to a specific need of a user-entrepreneur from ideation to incubation. The officials described it as the “perfect model” for their TechHub at USTP because of its design.

Sears think[box] is open and free to anyone who has an idea to nurture. Dr. Cultura and Engr. Mabulay would like to have these qualities in their TechHub at USTP; a TechHub that provides and supports aspiring student-entrepreneurs and innovators in bringing their ideas to life.

Culminating their study visit to CWRU, they focused on learning the teaching pedagogy of the Institute for Engineering and Management (IEM) and touring the university’s 3-D Printing laboratories.

The USTP officials met with Dr. Fehmida Kapadia, faculty member of IEM and President for the KAPAMED Consulting and JumpStart Inc., to learn about CWRU highlights Design Thinking and Customer Discovery in their engineering curriculum.

Welcoming the USTP officials at the 3-D laboratories is Dr. Rigoberto Advincula, a Professor in the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering at CWRU. In their tour, they learned how 3-D printing can revolutionize the manufacturing industry in the Philippines and create new value for Filipino-made products. According to Dr. Advincula, honing more Filipino experts in 3-D printing is one of the ways our country can accelerate its innovation ecosystem.

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The US Study Visit is part of the activities of the TechHub Project, a project co-implemented by the Philippine Development Foundation (PhilDev) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd). It aims to spur innovation and entrepreneurship in the Philippines by strategically developing a network of technopreneurship hubs nationwide.