Saturday, November 29, 2008

Transforming ideas into real businesses

We pushed through with the business pitch at the Ayala TechnoBoot Camp, and I think we did quite well. We got the people interested and received pretty good comments from the mentors. Their advice: get patents and establish our own company. That was solid.

Aside from us, various teams—mostly from Engineering—presented their business concepts, too. I was amazed at the sophistication of the ideas, ranging from a machine that prevents laptop snatching to devices that predict landslides.

The mentors were insightful. They gladly shared their thoughts, keeping in mind that we—the people they were talking to—did not have a clue of how to run a business. They were generous in giving compliments but never harsh when they saw something wrong.

If there's one good lesson I learned from the TechnoBoot Camp, it is this: that scientists and engineers need to learn the skill of creating a link between their inventions and the market. That's lacking in UP. Undergrads cook up amazing ideas for their theses, but these end up in dusty shelves, never to be read again.

I'm happy that the University is taking pains to create something worthwhile—like start-up businesses, for example—from the intellectual fruits it steadily produces. I was particularly encouraged by what one of the mentors said: “Imagine what this can do to the country. When we keep the ideas from flowing out, we keep the money flowing in.”

It's about time.

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