LGU to fire up technology startups in colleges
By Jason B. Neola
Using its Digital Innovation Fund, the city government of Naga hopes that it can help students to become successful innovators one day from being learners who did well at their school projects.
With the program called the Idea2startup, the Naga City Investment Board (NCIB), in partnership with the Naga College Foundation (NCF), will promote the startup ecosystem by supporting the students in the generation of startup ideas, afterwards, funding the development of prototypes.
NCIB Head Reuel Oliver said that the program hopes to encourage students to come up with technology projects that are viable or have commercial potential, saying that the present generation is now in the innovation economy.
Commercial potential is the opportunity of commercialization of the candidate technology. Every new technology to reach market needs to thrive and prosper in a continuously changing and unpredictable business environment.
“The funds to be provided by the city government will help to inspire the students to produce prototypes of projects that can be commercially viable,” he said.
Fully-developed ideas and/or initial prototypes shall be presented to the city government through the NCIB Startup Development Committee, selected startup partners, and target users of the product. Those that pass the pitching can be granted funds for further research and development lasting one year, normally, but not necessarily, coinciding with the students’ senior year.
STARTUP Mayor Nelson Legacion (right) and NCF President Villanueva show copies of the memorandum of agreement that defines the idea2startup program which aims to boost the operations of startup industry in the city. JBN/CEPPIO
Faculty and students whose ideas did not pass the pitching stage may still opt to pitch a refined or new idea before they work on “technopreneurship” or “senior projects” during the next school year.
The LGU Naga-NCF collaboration shall also work for the release of incentives, grants, and benefits to attract investments, and nurture an environment conducive to the development of startups – local or foreign – and other businesses crucial to their growth and expansion.
The program is aimed to pursue the growth and advancement of an innovative economy in the city as mandated by RA 11337 or the “Innovative Startup Act.”
As a support to the startup industry, the Sangguniang Panlungsod enacted Ordinance 2021-057 which created the Naga City Digital Innovation and Startup Development Program and Ordinance 2020-016 that established the Naga City Digital Innovation Hub.
The startup industry was identified by the NCIB, the LGU’s investment arm, as among the city’s investment sectors. Promoting and strengthening the digital/technology innovation ecosystem is among the promotional strategies to strengthen it.
NCF President Mario Villanueva said that with the implementation of the program the students will realize that their school projects will serve not only as proof of compliance required by their schools. “The students will be recipients of trainings that will allow them to continuously engage in producing or innovating technology projects,” Villanueva said.
In the memorandum of agreement with the LGU, the NCF shall promote multi-disciplinary collaboration among participating colleges in developing startup projects. Among the provisions in the agreement said that NCF students and faculty members can access funds needed to develop prototypes that can be turned into viable technology startups.
The program is open to all colleges or special programs that the NCF may deem to include in the multi-disciplinary program.