MANILA, Philippines — Archie Bautista, a former computer engineering (CoE) student at the Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT) in Makati, may have taken a few pages off the books of renowned technology idols Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs.
For one, Bautista’s aptitude and enthusiasm for technology has recently earned him and his team the top plum during the recently held Technopreneurship bootcamp organized by Junior Chamber International (JCI) Manila and IdeaSpace, the PLDT Group’s start-up incubation hub.
The group’s mobile application, dubbed Healthify, is a highly localized dietary planning tool that takes into account Filipinos’ culture and eating habits, facets that are not present in most dietary applications today.
Healthify’s intuitive design and prototype has earned the admiration of judges during the bootcamp, which featured successful Filipino technopreneurs and venture capitalists as mentors to the MIT students.
But the parallelism doesn’t stop there. Like the successful tech icons of today, Bautista has had troubles with his academics while at school. “I had a series of failing grades term after term,” Bautista told InterAksyon following the awarding. “I realized that CoE is not for me, and I wanted to shift to Computer Science.”
Unfortunately for Bautista, his application to shift was turned down by his school, which prompted him to look elsewhere. Nonetheless, this did not stop him from pursuing his passions.
“[This win] only means that failing in school doesn’t necessarily mean also failing at life,” Bautista declared, almost tearfully, as he received the grand prize award from his team.
Bautista is a prime example of the kinds of potential entrepreneurs IdeaSpace, the MVP-backed start-up incubation hub, would like to admit into their program, according to Earl Valencia, the incubator’s co-founder.
“We thought of making Mapua the launchpad for the campus program of IdeaSpace, because it is where a lot of good engineers come from,” Valencia said. “We’re really impressed. We were proven right.”
Beginning June, IdeaSpace will be making the rounds of the country’s top universities and colleges to promote the incubation initiative, which seeks to fund and mentor potential start-up companies in the fields related to technology, energy, media, agriculture, water, and outsourcing, among many others.
Valencia said they are going to stage similar bootcamps — which give students a one-day crash course on putting up a business and getting it off the ground — at the Ateneo de Manila University, De La Salle University, and the University of the Philippines in the coming months.
Regional editions of the bootcamps are also coming soon, he added.
“This will become a roadshow toward the main competition,” Valencia explained, referring to the official contest period for the IdeaSpace search, which should begin in August. “We’re hoping that because of this drive, students will be inspired to take it further and submit their prototypes for the national competition.”
Once admitted to the IdeaSpace program, each start-up would have to undergo a structured program hosted by the Leadership Academy, “to teach them the fundamentals on how to run a successful and scalable business,” the group said.
An initial P500,000 fund will be awarded to each start-up company, which will have the option for more funding once talks after the incubation eventually bear fruit.
Other benefits include mentorship from executives from the group companies, access to resources including legal assistance and advice, operational control, and a clear partner route to markets served by any company in the group – whose range of business translate to millions of households, subscribers, motorists and others.