PWC of Davao TBI tops nationwide DOST HEIRIT P220M funding grant search

The Philippine Women’s College of Davao Creative Hub for Industry 4.0, or PWC CHI+, is the top performing school among 27 higher education institutions (HEIs) in the country to be funded by the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

The PWC CHI+ leads the first 15 of the 27 technology business incubators (TBIs) that will receive a total of P220 million in funding to establish TBIs in the next two years after rigorous project management and technical panel evaluations. DOST-PCIEERD executive director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit confirmed the allocation of funds during the MOA and MOU signing last November 16.

The PWC CHI+ is envisioned to Capacitate PWC students, alumni, and community collaborators to scale-up thesis-to-business (T2B) and Institutional Management Enterprise (IME) projects and ventures into start-up enterprises; Harness the access of the incubatees to market, funding, and business support facilities; Instate to the industry the incubatees and their enterprises; and Spread good practices and build the Bio-Circular-Green Creative Services nerve center to network and impact across the BIMP-EAGA Region.

As a pioneering HEI for fashion design and food technology in Mindanao, PWC set forth Bio-Circular-Green Creative Services for CHI+, focusing on the intersection of Food and Fashion. Two fully operational shared service facilities, the Food Processing and Innovation Center (FPIC) and the Simulation and Training for Industry-bound and Technology-transitioning Creative Hubs (STITCH), support the TBI’s banner program manifested by the institution’s distinct T2B and IME programs during the last ten years. Success stories of graduates in Fashion Design include NinoFranco, Toping Zamora, Che Aranjuez, and Hilyah Signorina, among the many social enterprise brands produced.

Meanwhile, the PWC FPIC, a research and development hub for the Food Technology Program, is the country’s first groundbreaking and multi-awarded food innovation center, producing more than 36 utility models. In 2020, it was awarded a Government Best Practice Recognition. It was also given a NAST Intellectual Award for three (3) utility models in 2020 and for thirteen (13) in 2022.. In 2016, the FPIC won the Davao Region Excellence Award in Project Implementation. FPIC champions the development of emergency foods to date.

The PWC’s creative enterprise initiatives and support facilities earmarked social impact, which the PWC CHI+ TBI envisions espousing for the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area’s creative economy zone.

In his commitment speech on behalf of the 27 TBIs, PWC Chancellor Prof. Vicente Antonio V. Pijano III thanked DOST-PCIEERD for recognizing the creative industries in this batch of TBIs. Five of the first 15 TBIs to receive funding are from the creative cluster. Prof. Pijano commended the agency for recognizing and honoring “the reach and context of this batch of university-based TBIs across the country, from Luzon to Mindanao.” The “distinct identity, institutional strengths, resources, and networks matched our innovative teams composed of faculty, researchers, industry professionals, and entrepreneurs,” he added. He further commended the agency’s Pentahelix collaboration as a “deepening commitment of the academe and the government . . . to create the path for homegrown startups to become the country’s future tech champions.”

The same was echoed by Russel Pili, DOST-PCIEERD Research Information and Technology Transfer Division (RITTD) chief science research specialist. In an interview with UPGRADE, she highlighted the role of TBIs as an “engine of growth for innovation” that will “provide jobs to our people, attract investments to our local businesses, earn revenues so our communities can collectively progress, and drive economic growth for our country.” She reiterated the agency’s primary responsibility for the TBIs to make a difference in the lives of “our startups, our existing and future entrepreneurs, our homegrown heroes.”

Earlier, the TBIs underwent DOST-PCIEERD’s 10-month program through 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!) beginning March this year. PWC CHI+ Team included Emi Englis, Head of Center for Innovation and Social Ventures; Maria Christina Ramos, FPIC Manager; Michelle Autentico, Food Technology Program Chair; Maria Julieta Torres, LPDO Director, and Business Cluster Director; and Engr. Filmann Simpao, USEP ITSO. Entrepreneurs in residence to PWC also participated in the sessions, including Mary Grace Belviz, owner of Belviz Farms and president of the Food Processors Association of Davao; Dodjie Batu, fashion designer and president of the Davao Fashion and Design Council; and Dolly Saniel, owner of Lola Abon’s. The PWC Project Management Team, chaired by Chancellor Pijano and co-chaired by Dr. Aristotle Carandang and Raymond Cosare provided technical support.

The 15 universities are among the 27 HEIs undergoing DOST-PCIEERD’s immersive training program with one (1) year of handholding support to mentor the incubators’ project management teams in solving operational concerns during their implementation and establishing a supportive startup ecosystem within their respective schools and regions. These are Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU), Nueva Ecija University of Science & Technology (NEUST), Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU), De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), Isabela State University (ISU), Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), University of the Philippines Baguio (UP Baguio), Tarlac State University (TSU) in Luzon and Bohol Island State University (BISU) in Visayas. In Mindanao are Mindanao State University – General Santos (MSU-GenSan), Ateneo de Zamboanga University (ADZU), Philippine Women’s College of Davao (PWC), Surigao del Norte State University (SNSU), Sultan Kudarat State University (SKSU), University of Immaculate Conception (UIC).

Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, together with DOST Regional Directors and heads of HEIs, led the MOA and MOU signing ceremonies for all 27 TBIs at the 6th TBI Summit on November 16, 2022, at Blue Leaf Events Pavilion, Taguig City, as part of this year’s Philippine Startup Week activities. ###