Tuesday, March 6, 2012

MVP's Philippine "Silicon Valley"

IN THE NEWS from PhilStar.com

Manuel V. Pangilinan yesterday launched a multimillion-dollar program that seeks to emulate the Silicon Valley technological entrepreneurship incubator model. IdeaSpace Foundation Inc. is a non-profit foundation established exclusively to implement the program. The foundation is supported by the following companies: First Pacific, Metro Pacific Investments Corp., (MPIC), MPIC hospital group, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), Meralco, Smart Communications, Digitel, Sun Cellular, SPI Global, ePLDT, Indofood, Philex Mining, Maynilad, MediaQuest, and TV5.

IdeaSpace will act as an incubator and accelerator program to support technology entrepreneurs in the Philippines and for the global market through partnerships between the MVP Group of Companies and global IT companies. The seed fund being invested will be augmented with parallel activities for mentorship, resources and support. The program goes beyond “angel investing” and provides incubation and acceleration with access to a wide group of companies to share and learn experiences, fast access to be defined market runway and opportunities to be connected to potential investors.

This is another laudable initiative of MVP that is aligned with national development efforts. What strikes me as odd, though, is that there is no mention of any partnership with the academe in the press release. The role of the universities in the technology-based business incubator model is crucial as they supply the researchers, engineers, and scientists that are necessary in making the model work. We see this role exemplified by the relationship between Stanford and Silicon Valley, between Harvard and MIT and business accelerators in the Massachusetts area, and locally between the University of the Philippines and the Ayala Technopark. I would have expected the program to involve Ateneo de Manila University, at least, given MVP's close ties with the institution, but as far as I know no such involvement exists.

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