Report: Experience sharing Workshop of Incubation Centers in Asia-Forging Partnerships, July 14-18, 2014, Taipei, Taiwan

APO delegates visited  NTUST’s Taiwan Tech Innovation and Incubation Center

APO delegates visited NTUST’s Taiwan Tech Innovation and Incubation Center

BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECT

The APO has been promoting innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship in the region, especially through SME promotion. SMEs are the backbone of industrialization in most countries in the Asia-Pacific, in the Philippines SMEs comprise approximately 80% of all industries and contribute significantly to the local economy. Technology/business incubation is one of the innovative measures that is proven to be effective in energizing and developing local businesses as seen from the experience of more developed Asian countries like Japan, Singapore, India and Taiwan. Technology/business incubation has been promoting economic development since the late 1980s. As a result, initiatives to set up such institutes in association with the government, business groups and/or universities has increasingly been recognized. Furthermore, one of the keys to achieving more rapid economic growth is to focus on developing entrepreneurial skills among professionals dealing with and managing SMEs, thus, the importance of incubation centers that will help and develop SMEs until they become fully stabilized.

This workshop focused on business incubation experiences from the Asia-Pacific and enhancing partnerships among such incubation centers for promotion of entrepreneurships in the region. In the workshop incubation success stories from Canada, Australia and India were shared. Furthermore, venture capitalism as a mode of business development in the US and Japan was also introduced.

OBJECTIVES FOR PARTICIPATION

PHOEBE L. GALEON

The participant primarily applied for this APO project because she believed that learning from this experience sharing will be very relevant in the success of MUST’s Regional Food Innovation Center. The center is currently in its infantile stage, however, the participant as it’s focal person have very high hopes for it to take off. With all the support of the University’s administration, collaborating agencies and the local SMEs the center aims to become very relevant in energizing the local economy. Learnings gained from the workshop will be a great help in realizing the success of the center.

Technology intervention through extension services of the university is one of the four important mandates of the MUST. The participant believes that the university’s academic programs can become more relevant if it can extend its services through research and consultancy to the local industries, this somehow validates the social relevance of the program in the improvement of the country’s economy. One way of doing this is by supporting entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial activities and this is where the center can come into the picture. The center intends to provide a one stop shop for production, packaging and labelling needs of entrepreneurs in the food and related business sector. Learnings and lessons in how to manage incubation centers like these can be gathered from this workshop, mistakes can also be minimized through the experience and learnings of others particularly in the ASEAN region.

LIZA D. CORRO

To learn from the other participants on their best practices in the operation of their incubation centers in order to apply to be able to apply them to our incubation center, and to come up with recommendations to the ASEAN country members how to improve their incubation centers. Also to create networks among incubation center practitioners.

PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS

The workshop was participated by a total of 18 participants from the different Asia-Pacific countries, 3 resource speakers, 1 from the APO Secretariat, 3 from the CPC and 5 local (Taiwanese Entrepreneurs) observers. From the Philippines there were 2 delegates, one of these was Atty. Liza D. Corro, the Acting Chancellor of UP Cebu, she heads the Incubation Center of UP Cebu called CebuInit. It is an ICT based incubation center which was initially funded by PCIERD but has attained self-sufficiency after 4 years of operation. They give assistance to starting ICT based SMEs by providing them with office space, ICT facilities and promotional assistance in various ICT fairs.

Another delegate is Ms. Phoebe L. Galeon (the author of this report), currently the chairperson of the Food Science and Technology Department of the Mindanao University of Science and Technology of Cagayan de Oro City. She is also the Officer-In-Charge of the Food Innovation Center, a technology/business incubation center designed for food processing related SMEs. This center received various equipment grants from ITDI-DOST, DOST-X and DTI-X. Although the center will be fully launched by the end of year 2014 still, this delegate has been doing technical consultancy works with food manufacturing SMEs in the Northern Mindanao Region.

Most of the other participants are managers of incubation centers in their respective countries, which are either operated by the government, universities or private sector.

SCOPE, CONTENT AND METHODOLOGY

The inputs on the technology/business incubation topics discussed were delivered through lecture aided by power point presentations, the topics were the following:

Day 1 (July 14, 2014)

4.1. Incubation Centers, their role in Developing Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and How APO Supports their work in the Asia Pacific Region by K D Bhardwaj
4.2. Incubation and Entrepreneurship : Case Study from Australia by Dr. Sukanlaya (Sukie) Sawang
4.3. Incubation Centers in Canada: Forging a Collegial Culture with Community, Industry, Government and Academia by Dr. William Douglas Beynon
4.4. Connecting Venture Capital with Incubation Centres: Experience from Japan by Mr. Takaaki Hata

Day 2 (July 15, 2014)

4.5. Incubation Centers: A Framework for Assessing Effectiveness and Development by Dr. William Douglas Beynon)
4.6. Venture World: Opportunities for Commercializing Businesses through Collaboration with Incubation Centers: Case Study from Japan by Mr. Takaaki Hata

Day 3 (July 16, 2014)

4.7. Engaging Industry in Incubation Centers: Creating a Win-Win Collaboration: A Canadian Success Story by Dr. William Douglas Beynon
4.8. Business Incubation for hi and lo tech firms: Australian Practices by Dr. Sukanlaya (Sukie) Sawang
4.9. Innovative Strategies in National Incubation Policies in Taiwan by Dr. Chih-Yen Huang

Day 4 (July 17, 2014)

4.10. In the afternoon of Day 4 as site visit to The National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) – Taiwan Tech Innovation & Incubation Center was conducted. The participants were given an orientation of the set-up of the College of Research, Development and Incubation Services. Talks on the following topics were given by the Dean of the College and other Research and Business Incubation Mentors.

Highlights of Philippine Country Paper

The Mindanao University of Science and Technology;S (MUST) academe-government-industry partnership in the recently launched, project. The Regional Food Innovation Center of Northern Mindanao (RFIC-NM) is the first of its kind in the region. Initially it will focus in providing technology intervention in food product packaging and processing, but later also intends to assist SMEs in their marketing and management needs. The venture is a collaboration of DOST-X,DTI-X,ITDI-DOST, FNRI-DOST, The Office of the 2nd Congressional District of Cagayan De Oro City and the Food Processor Association of Northern Mindanao (FOPANORMIN). The government line agencies provide the funds for the procurement of the needed equipment, while MUST provided the infrastructure needed and the human resources needed to fully operationalized the project. Furthermore, since MUST is the host institution it also provided the management structure and operational mechanism for the project,

On the other hand, the Office of the 2nd Congressional District of the City coordinated with the local government units for dissemination and marketing of the services and FOPANORMIN members, the clientele, will also help in the promotion of the services by referrals and recommendations. For MUST the venture has always been exciting and full of prospects because it complements the objectives of the academic program in the Food Science and Technology curriculum. One of the success stories of CEBUinlT, the incubation center of the University of the Philippines Cebu is that of its graduated locator, Codetoki: it created a cloud-bases coding game which empowers Filipino Youths, and drives new employment prospects. Codetoki helped devise an online game that tests and scores coding skills. They keep a record of each player’s score and make them available to potential employers. This helps students prove that they have a specific IT skill level when applying a job. Codetoki has attracted over2,745 players from 155 schools all ver the country. This was supported by Microsoft through BizSpark program, Microsoft Azure for cloud hosting services as well as technical support; Won 1st palce in Apps fgor Asia competition and being showcased in 46th Annual ADB Board of Governors Meeting in New Delhi, India; 3rd Place during the 1st Startup Weekend Cebu; One of the 13 startups JFDI’s first accelerator programme for 2014. In the presentation of country papers, participants were grouped. The undersigned was group together with representatives from Malaysia, Nepal and one from Taiwan’s representative observer. The Ms. Corro was the group’s presentor for their consolidated country papers reports. And our group was awarded as the best presentor.

Seminar

1. Taiwan’s incubation industry development and policies (SMEA tbc).
2. The innovation approaches and important achievements in the field of incubation shared by the NTUST.
3. The possibility of establishing a regional incubator alliance and a cooperation network will be discussed among the APO and overseas experts.

In the afternoon of Day 2 (July 15, 2014) the participants were divided into 5 groups and they were given some cases by Mr Hata. In the first activity Mr. Hata provided each group with the same SME cases and asked the participants to analyse the cases. These cases were real SME clients of Mr. Hata’s Venture Capitalist Company in the U.S. and Japan. Each group were then required to present their own synthesis of the cases with justification on how they arrived at these syntheses. In the second activity Mr. Hata provided all groups with certain data about a specific ICT start-up SME that his company has incubated until it turned into an IPO. For this activity each group were given roles like SME, incubator, venture capitalist 1, 2 and 3. Each group were instructed (and guided by Mr. Hata) to haggle and negotiate to protect their own business interest (in terms of stock and ownership trading) from start-up to IPO stage of the SME. This was a very stimulating exercise that illustrated very well the concept of venture capitalism, a business concept very much practiced in more advanced economies but not very popular in developing countries.

In the afternoon of Day 3 (July 16, 2014), the participants were again broken into another grouping and were asked to discuss among themselves the current status, the similarities and differences of the Technology/Business Incubation Programs in their respective countries. They were then required to summarize the results of their discussions in a power point presentation which was to be presented on the next day.

In the morning of Day 4 (July 17, 2014) the participants presented their output of the previous day and after the presentation they were again given time to discuss their recommendations for the APO and member countries. In the afternoon of the same day, the visit to NTUST was conducted.

On the 5th day (July 18, 2014), the consolidated recommendations were presented, discussed and finalized. On the afternoon of this day, certificates were awarded to the participants.

OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION

PHOEBE L. GALEON

This workshop was indeed a very fruitful experience for the delegates, it did not only provide an avenue for experience sharing, it also provided the participants a view of the existing conditions of incubation centers in other Asean countries, their problems, the barriers to success and even the environment that contributes to success. Since the countries have different degrees of development, have varied culture and each have a unique science and technology environment, it can be said that no specific model can fit to all of the different countries’ situation. As stressed by Dr. Sukie Sawang, one has to understand one’s people and one’s society to be able to adequately address the needs of a specific society. Since the business ecosystem of a country or a locality is often dependent on the practices of the people, the infrastructure support, the government support and the general social situation, a model that will work in one place might not be exactly what is needed by another place. It is just a matter of discriminating which models/methods may be adopted/modified for ones needs and forgoing models/methods that may not work.
Dr. William Beynon also emphasized that recently private-public collaboration has been observed to really work in incubating SMEs whether in highly developed or not so developed business ecosystems. In Waterloo (Dr. Beynon’s place) a very small Canadian City, the private-public model for business development is responsible for Waterloo’s very high productivity. Coordination and dissemination of available technologies and creation of a favourable business ecosystem have been known to really encourage creativity, innovativeness and business enthusiasm among small entrepreneurs, regardless whether the technology used in the business is high or low tech.

These learning gave the delegate a realization that there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to make her innovation and incubation center really successful. Her first program of action would probably be to engage in more coordination and dissemination work so that relevant SMEs will come to know about the center and its services. Furthermore, all possible avenues for extending and making the concept of business incubation understandable to the business community particularly the SMEs should be engaged to make it easy for them to accept the idea/concept and open their doors for linkage. SMEs need to understand that there are supports/services/resources that can be accessed to improve their business. These are the resources of a university that can apply theoretical principles in more useful innovative technologies for commercialization. Emphasis should be placed on commercialization to contribute more to the local economy.

Moreover, the delegate gained some insights on this exposure, as an educator she has to shift her paradigm that education should be achieved not just to get employment but education should be achieved to become an innovator and entrepreneur to primarily, benefit oneself and eventually to benefit the country. She has to emanate this paradigm shift to her students and mold them to become techno-preneurs rather than just employees of big food manufacturing companies. She just realized that theoretical and skill competency should not be her first priority in developing her students in the program, but business competitiveness, creativity/innovativeness and risk-taking should be developed in students to create successful entrepreneurs.

LIZA D. CORRO

Yes, the experience sharing workshop was very beneficial and effective. We were updated on the different models for operating the incubation centers, and the different countries respective best practices in the operation of their incubation centers, as well as the problems encountered. I had met several people in the practice of incubation center and expect to develop a network with them. Likewise, the recommendations we formulated during the workshop was very important, be use through it, we are able to impart and relay to the APO, NPO and our different countries what else needs to be done to meet the objectives of APO in order to proliferate the presence of incubation centers in the different countries. The resource persons were very knowledgeable and interesting to listen to, and very generous in sharing their knowledge and expertise.

SUBMITTED BY:

PHOEBE L. GALEON
Chairperson, Department of Food Science and Technology
and Officer-In-Charge, Regional Food Innovation Center
Mindanao University of Science and Technology

LIZA D. CORRO
Dean
University of the Philippines Cebu

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s