The DOST-TSU Aslagan, the technology business incubator (TBI) of the Department of Science and Technology and Tarlac State University, was officially launched earlier today (July 24) with a memorandum of agreement signing and marker unveiling at the Alumni Center, Lucinda Campus.
Funded by the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), the DOST-TSU Aslagan TBI, managed by the Office of Technology Development, Transfer, and Commercialization Office, hopes to create a sustainable community of startups and nano- and micro-entrepreneurs that will help build a more livable society.
The unveiled marker symbolizes the DOST-TSU Aslagan TBI's commitment to fostering innovative solutions for food technology and manufacturing startups, also known as incubatees, highlighting food technology as its niche.
Moreover, the TBI's first batch of incubatees, composed of 15 business startups who passed the application process, signed a MOA with TSU and DOST for a nine-month business incubation program from July 24, 2023 until April 24, 2024.
The startups are expected to progress or "graduate" after nine months as full-fledged businesses or be incorporated into established companies through the TBI’s mentorship and sharing of facilities.
DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, the event's keynote speaker, shared the importance and impact of technology business incubators in the community, which would help the business and employment landscape of the Tarlac Province and Region III.
He also discussed the five measures of success for TBIs, namely the number of startups incubated, graduation of startups, level of income, number of investors, and number of jobs generated as its multiplicative effect.
Dr. Paringit congratulated and thanked the university for its commitment to starting and sustaining its TBI.
"It's not easy to put up a technology business incubator. Once you decide to go through it, there must be a sense of dedication; there must be some commitment required. Again, I'd like to thank Dr. Arnold Velasco for committing to this sort of an investment in the future of innovation in this part of the country," he said.
He also said TSU has one of the most significant potentials to make innovation happen in this part of the country.
“You are also a regional hub, kasi nasa gitna kayo ng lahat. You are at the crossroads of those coming from northwestern Luzon, southern Luzon, a corridor going through and from Metro Manila to the northernmost parts. What are the opportunities? What are the possible [technologies] that could help support it? Malaki ang agricultural production sa mga northern part ng Luzon, but they need an area where these products could be processed. They need an area where these products could be handled well," he added.
DOST III Director Dr. Julius Caesar V. Sicat also shared the same sentiments as Dr. Paringit, noting that Tarlac Province has been known as the "melting pot" of Central Luzon.
"This (TBI) is really strategic for Tarlac State University to play a pivotal role in the development of this region and this province," he said.
He also shared that TSU has been a "very strong" and longtime partner in food technology initiatives, citing how Office of Extension Services Director Dr. Lea Milan and Center for Food Technology and Research Director Dr. Leah Matias have been the backbone of the Regional Food Safety Team.
"I'm very, very happy that today, ga-graduate na tayo from technical consultancy. Heto na 'yung ating business incubation facility, which we are really looking forward to," he added.
Furthermore, he expressed his commitment to allot funding for the equipment needed by the CFTR aligned with the incubatees' needs.
On behalf of the incubatees, Ms. Marie Tessibeth Cordova of Cordova Farm Products Manufacturing thanked the university, DOST, and DOST-PCIEERD, as she felt hopeful that the government is one in helping small businesses.
“Before I thought it was just government propaganda na ang gobyerno ay may malasakit sa bansa. But with this strategic initiative of DOST [and] TSU, we can feel it. Damang-dama po namin,” she said.
She also expressed that the 15 incubatees have pledged not to look at each other as competitors but as partners who will help each other.
In a message, TSU President Dr. Arnold E. Velasco vowed to support the TBI and its future programs.
"I'm very hopeful that with the help of DOST, along with the other stakeholders, partners, and collaborators, and along with the help of God, this will be the start, and there will be more fruitful, impactful, purposeful, and significant programs that will be undertaken with the help of everybody," he said.
TSU started its TBI journey in 2021 through the effort of former University President Dr. Myrna Q. Mallari and former Vice President for Research and Extension Services Dr. Armee N. Rosel.
With the leadership of OTDTC Director Dr. Wilmark J. Ramos and TBI Manager Mr. Aldrex G. Laxamana, the university's TBI underwent two proposal defense stages leading to MOA signing last November 16, 2022, during the 6th TBI Summit.
Also, TSU's TBI placed seventh out of 43 Philippine universities and colleges in the Higher Education Institution Readiness for Innovation and Technopreneurship-TBI (HEIRIT-TBI) Preparatory Program in June 2022. (jlmm-OPA)
Photos by Franc Lewis R. Juanatas