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PhilDev, USAID, SCET hold 3-day bootcamp for Filipino professors

A three-day bootcamp to train Filipino engineering faculty in entrepreneurship pedagogy was held from March 28 to March 30 at the Asian Institute of Management, Makati City, Philippines. The event, which was sponsored by the Philippine S&T Development Foundation (PhilDev), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology, Berkeley (SCET Berkeley), was attended by 60 professors from 34 universities across the Philippines. It was lead by Dr. Ikhlaq Sidhu and Prof. Ken Singer of SCET Berkeley.

The Faculty Bootcamp is part of a three-year program called Innovative Development through Entrepreneurship Acceleration (IDEA). Now on its third year, the program is a partnership between PhilDev and USAID. IDEA aims to strengthen a sustainable, science and technology-based entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Philippines.

As part of this objective, PhilDev and the Philippine Commission on Higher Education (CHED) signed a memorandum of understanding on December 17, 2014 that includes the course development and infusion of “Technopreneurship 101” into the engineering curriculum of all national engineering colleges. It also provides for the strengthening of knowledge and skills of the engineering faculty to teach this subject.

Towards this endeavor, PhilDev and USAID engaged SCET Berkeley to bring the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship (BMoE) to the Philippines under the IDEA Program. The IDEA Faculty Bootcamp trains science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and business professors on better methods of teaching entrepreneurship to science and engineering students.

The IDEA Faculty Bootcamp trains professors from all over the Philippines as they return and teach "technopreneurship" back to their universities.

The IDEA Faculty Bootcamp trains professors from all over the Philippines as they return and teach "technopreneurship" back to their universities.

“The norm for most engineering professors is to focus on teaching students technical methods in solving problems and in doing research. There are a lot of students with outstanding ideas that have so much potential to help the community, but these are only kept on shelves, written to comply with school requirements rather than applied in the real world,” Professor Corazon Ocampo said, a bootcamp participant and an industrial engineering professor from St. Louis University in Baguio City. “For me, the bootcamp is a great opportunity to learn from SCET Berkeley through Dr. Sidhu and Prof. Singer. Interacting with other professors from different universities in my country made me realize that we face similar problems with our students and challenges with our own administration”.

Prof. Ocampo also hopes to be selected as one of four delegates to a study visit to UC Berkeley. “I believe that the study visit will help me become a better teacher and mentor to my students. I want to become the champion of technopreneurship in my university, to instill entrepreneurial mindset in my students, and to overcome cultural challenges to help create entrepreneurs that will make a difference.”

While on its third and final year, PhilDev hopes to build on the momentum gained from the success of the faculty bootcamps. “We’ve begun discussions with USAID for the continuation of these programs in a future engagement. Additionally, we are also speaking with CHED for possible expansion of this type of training in the run-up to the Technopreneurship 101 roll-out in 2018. We must prepare and support our professors to evangelize and foster technopreneurship in their schools. SCET Berkeley is a mighty tool we have toward seeing this through,” stated Alexis Kayanan, PhilDev Executive Director. With some luck, PhilDev will be able to solidify this program for another three years.