The Benilde Hub of Innovation For Inclusion (Benilde HiFi) officially commenced its partnership with the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) as they launched Benilde HiFi as a DOST-accredited Technology Business Incubator (TBI) on March 22 at the Peter D. Garrucho Innovations Institute in Malate, Manila.
After ranking first among 27 universities and colleges that will receive a TBI grant by DOST-PCIEERD, Benilde took it a step further by extending its concept of innovation and inclusion beyond the walls of the College. Strengthening its unique identity as a trailblazing Lasallian institution, the College promoted its dynamic thrust as the country’s premiere creative intelligence hub.
Hosted by the founder and former chair of the College’s Digital Filmmaking program, Mr. Jag Garcia, the event featured two outstanding startup projects namely FSL Buddy 2.0 and EdukSine. HiFi also announced its plans for the next two years which included incubation programs, workshops, a series of talks, and other activities intended to foster innovation and inclusion.
Forging ahead with technopreneurship
Benilde President Br. Edmundo “Dodo” Fernandez FSC formally opened the event with his opening remarks that highlighted the significance, goal, and mission of the partnership. In line with the motive behind Benilde HiFi, which is to seek innovation as a response to inclusion, Br. Dodo mentioned that the Benilde-DOST partnership shares the same goal of nurturing financially viable business startups into sustainable operations.
Moreover, the partnership will allow the College to provide access to a multitude of resources and networks that are essential for bringing innovative ideas to life.
As Benilde HiFi explores ways to cultivate aspiring startups since 2016, HIFI-DOST TBI aims to create a culture within and across the Lasallian community that will enrich the entrepreneurial spirit of Filipinos at large.
“May our partnership with DOST be just the beginning of something big for start-ups in the country,” Br. Dodo concluded.
The trailblazing team
The opening remarks were followed by the presentation of HIFI-DOST TBI’s core team as introduced by Mr. Paul Pao, director and TBI manager for HIFI-DOST TBI. The DOST-accredited TBI was a collaboration among different departments namely Benilde HiFi, the Center for Intellectual Property Management (CIPM), and the Center for Partnership Advancement.
The TBI Core Team was composed of ITSO Manager Atty. Ma. Janice Tejano, TBI Manager Mr. Paul Pajo, Principal Investigator Mr. Robin Serrano, Incubation Head Ar. Alexander Abear, Entrepreneur-in-Residence Ms. Camille Albarracin, and Partnership Lead Ms. Patricia Go-Manere.
Fueling the spirit of innovation
For HIFI-DOST TBI’s plans, Ar. Abear bared glimpses of lined-up programs and activities in the next two years. This coming April, they will hold Benilde MetaCon and Benilde MetaDT under Social Innovation Talks (SITalks), Benilde Trailblazer Startup Bootcamps, and IP Innovation Challenge.
The Benilde Trailblazer Startup (BTS) is the latest startup incubation program of Benilde HiFi that was proposed to be supported under the DOST Banner with the general objective of curating and incubating startups related and connected to the Digital Interactive Media and Design domain.
Meanwhile, some events to be expected in May are the return of the Benilde Alumni Technopreneur Awards (BEAT Awards), the launching of the Taft Love Open House, and the start of Social Innovation Town Hall (SITownhall).
To better grasp HiFi’s program, a couple of start-ups founded by Benilde’s very own homegrown talents were showcased in hopes of sparking inspiration and hope in their fellow Benildean-Lasallian innovators.
Bridging the gap between Deaf and hearing people through innovative solutions, the Filipino Sign Language Buddy App 2.0 or FSL 2.0 is an application that features over 260 words available for sign language translations designed for those who want to learn sign language. It is an enhanced version of the FSL Buddy released in 2018. Ms. Giselle Montero, Dean of the School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies, shared that the said project was an answer to the longtime dream of bringing sign language to hearing people. The app is set to launch in May.
Meanwhile, Business Administration alumna and CEO Ms. Karen Jane Saluta turned her passion into purpose after finding a way to make independent Filipino films accessible to every Filipino through EdukSine. EdukSine is an app and website platform that houses online, hybrid, and face-to-face block screenings and individual screenings so independent filmmakers and producers can screen their films. It is the first and only block screening platform for educational and socially-relevant films in the Philippines. The EdukSine app will have its launching this Friday, March 24, at 10 a.m. at the ARG Theater in Taft Campus.
The inclusive dream
DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringgit also delivered his keynote speech expressing his gratitude to the College for taking on the challenge and the opportunity to serve the community of innovators. He also commended the people behind the HiFi-DOST TBI and shared that the DOST has always admired Benilde for their extraordinary efforts to bring inclusivity outside the institution.
“I hope the [DLS-CSB] community and the De La Salle community will continue to expand this ripple of innovation, inclusivity, and impact in the society in general,” he shared.
As the launch came to a close, Chancellor Benhur Ong began his closing remarks by expressing his gratitude and admiration to everyone who made the TBI successful and possible. He also shared that the partnership hopes to expand HiFi’s reach and help more incubators achieve their dreams by providing mentorship, networking opportunities, and financial assistance to our startups.
Chancellor Ong concluded his speech by reinstating the mission of HiFi, “The Hub of Innovation for Inclusion and Benilde will always be dedicated to driving social innovation and inclusion.”
For more information, visit Benilde HiFi ‘s Facebook page here.