UPGRADE, DOST-PCIEERD train 27 HEI-based TBI teams on proposal writing to secure funding

Diliman, Manila (UPGRADE/September 16) – To earn the grant funding from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in launching their respective technology business incubators (TBIs), the 27 university-based TBI teams under the Higher Education Institution Readiness for Innovation and Technopreneurship program underwent an intensive proposal writeshop. 

Held on September 14 to 16, 2022 at the Henry Sy Sr. Innovation Center, Miriam College in Diliman, Manila, the TBI teams were guided through the technicalities and the relevant information to be included in their plans and proposals for a sure fire approval of their TBIs. 

The writeshop was jointly organized by UP Growing and Developing Enterprises and DOST – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, Emerging Technology Research, and Development (PCIEERD).

Russell M. Pili, chief of Research Information and Technology Transfer Division (RITTD) of DOST-PCIEERD, walked the TBI teams on each part of the proposal which they will submit and present to the DOST-PCIEERD Technical Panel (TP) and the Governing Council (GC).

She encouraged the teams to work more on the content of their proposal and anticipate the possible questions that they might be asked during the TP and GC presentations. 

“Your goal is to convince the Technical Panel and Governing Council that you can survive after the grant.In your proposal, it is not about the fancy writing. It is the execution plan. Show (them) the how,” she told the designated university-based TBI teams.

Aside from that, RITTD Senior Technology Transfer Officer and Science Research Specialist Liezl Sueno explained each item in the Line-Item Budgeting (LIB) that is necessary to be included in their proposal.

The writeshop also became an avenue for the members of the TBI teams to learn from the experiences, tips and strategies and lessons learned by the managers of established TBIs in the country. 

QBO Innovation Hub Executive Director Kat Chan ran down their process of identifying the appropriate mentors and partners in her talk Ecosystem Mapping: A Private TBI Perspective. 

Engr. Albertson D. Amante, Batangas State University (BatSU) Vice President for Research, Development & Extension Services, discussed the importance of the university’s brand of excellence, access, social relevance, inclusive innovation, capacity, and sustainability in building a university-based TBI. 

The internal dynamics within the university may contribute to the acceleration or downfall of a university-based TBI. 

Shearyl Arenas, TBI manager of Technological Institute of the Philippines  (TIP) NITRO, shared how they surpassed these challenges and eventually were able to engage the key decision-makers and other partners inside their HEI. 

Finally, QBO Innovation Hub Community and Ecosystem Department Head Dave del Rosario gave the TBI teams the idea how to assess and spot potential startup and student teams to incubate. 

The experienced TBI managers also shared their highs and lows in running their respective TBIs in their own context such as being attached to the university, as a foundation, or as a private TBI in a panel discussion. Invited panels include Arenas, Del Rosario, Miriam College TBI manager Cristina Ibanez, AnimoLabs Executive Director Federico Gonzales, and UPGRADE Project Lead Miguel Carlo Guillermo. 

The TBI teams continued to probe on the experiences of the TBI managers in an intimate speed dating activity where they were able to ask questions about designing incubation programs, implementation of virtual incubation, sources and ways to secure funding, finding investors, unique challenges, keeping mentor pools, and sustainability, among others. 

On the last day of the writeshop, Pili discussed the budget items that will be included in the proposal as well as mentored the TBI Teams on a very important aspect of creating a 5-year operational plan as they establish a TBI in their universities. 

PCIEERD Technical Panel Chair Diane Angela Eustaquio also shared the lessons that she learned from her 10 years of experience handling and championing Philippine startups and strategies to wade through the challenges in her talk, “Tying it all together: The Technology Business Incubation Strategies”.

The proposal writeshop was capped off in a Mock Technical Panel Presentation in breakout rooms where TBI teams faced the some members of the Technical Panel and delivered a 15-minute presentation. 

They also received valuable inputs and recommendations to improve their proposals ahead of the actual TP presentation. The TP members include Eustaquio, UP Los Banos SIBOL TBI manager Glenn Baticados, and QBO Innovation Hub Startup Development program head Alwyn Rosel.

The proposal writeshop is one of the foundational activities in the second time implementation of the two-year HEIRIT or the Handholding Starting Incubators from HEIs for Readiness towards Innovation and Technopreneurship Preparatory and Skills Acceleration for TBI Managers Optimizing Regional Startup Ecosystem (HIHEIRIT PA MORE!).

The HIHEIRIT PA MORE! was designed to provide a structured and immersive training program with one (1) year handholding support to mentor incubator’s project management teams in solving operational concerns during their implementation and establishment of a supportive startup ecosystem within their university and region.

It is in collaboration with UP Sustaining Collaboration in an Advanced Learning Environment ​(UPSCALE) Innovation Hub, the TBI of UP Diliman (UPD) and in partnership with E3 Entrepreneurs Hub, Animo Labs Foundation, Inc. (AnimoLabs), and Villgro Philippines which are serving as the training providers for the duration of the project.