23 May 2023

To continue on its modules on innovation and technopreneurship, the Department of Science and Technology - Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) and Leave a Nest Philippines, Inc. (LVNS PH) held its sixth session on Scholars Entrepreneurship Training, more popularly known as Project SET, last April 29, 2023 at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

The training program mainly aims to inculcate ingenious and innovative mindsets to scholar-participants to help them easily innovate things, bring these innovations to their communities, and use such to make a lasting positive impact to society. Most importantly, the project intends to train DOST-SEI undergraduate scholars in helping cultivate and nourish a culture of science and technology in the country by informing them of how entrepreneurship can add value to the STEM fields that they are in.

Project SET is a program that gives science students the mindset necessary to innovate and share their discoveries with society,” DOST-SEI Director Dr. Josette Biyo explained. “The potential to favorably impact the economy will be given to students by this training program, which will also help them to enhance their entrepreneurial talents,” she added.

Upon conclusion of this training program, the institute hopes that the teams of scholar-participants can create deep technology startups that can decently operate well as actual companies and thrive in the globally-competitive world.

Step by step

The latest session of Project SET featured a talk by LVNS PH External Director Peter Jeffrey Maloles, who focused on discussing the different strategies on how to make a research plan. In his lecture, Mr. Maloles taught the scholar-participants the step-by-step process of creating and building proposals for their project pitches.

Leave a Nest Philippines, Inc. External Director Peter Jeffrey Maloles reminds the scholar-participants to not rush and to take it slow, “Take things step by step.”

Mr. Maloles emphasized the need for goal setting and for making their project objectives SMART — Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. He also encouraged collaboration among the participating teams in order to realize and to reflect on their ideas.

The modules’ activities were designed to continue preparing the scholar-participants for the final Demo Day in October this year. And to help them finalize their entrepreneurial proposals, Mr. Maloles disclosed the four (4) criteria for the selection of the final eight project pitches, which include 1) novelty, 2) passion, 3) feasibility, and 4) impact on society.

LVNS PH Managing Director Dr. Yevgeny Aster Dulla expressed hope that such a disclosure of the criteria could allow the teams to arrive with carefully-designed and deeply-thought of research proposals. “We want to make sure that you have a more detailed strategy [in attaining your goal],” Dr. Dulla reiterated.

The afternoon part of the session was mainly allotted to allow the scholar-participants to brainstorm for their project pitches. Among the pitches presented include proposals on solving transportation and commuter woes, utilizing artificial intelligence to assist farmers, repurposing food waste for reconsumption, improving navigation systems in the country, and making education “more accessible.”

Both Mr. Maloles and Dr. Dulla then gave valuable feedback on the pitched ideas, pointing out the good points raised and also the areas that need improvement.

For Mr. Maloles, the teams had fully formed ideas for their projects or startups. However, he also pointed out that some pitches were lacking in terms of upscaling. “I think it would further improve and make their projects even more meaningful and impactful if they go the extra mile and research more about the market, what’s existing, how it can help society, and combine their different expertise in upscaling and moving toward their goal,” the external director said.

Nevertheless, he emphasized that the scholar-participants’ project pitches are definitely on track, “They are in different stages in their ideation and execution, but everything was good. The foundation was there.

Steps back

Project SET officially kicked off at the same venue last January 28, 2023. A total of 80 scholars from various universities in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Region IVA - CALABARZON attended and participated in the activities.

Prior to the sixth session discussed, the scholar-participants also underwent the first five modules of the project, which tackled a) the concept and mindset that drive innovation; b) the QPMI Cycle and examples of success stories; c) issue excavation and team creation; d) formulation of idea technology or service to solve identified problems; and e) bringing technology to society.

Among the 80, most of the scholar-participants have continued to go through the modules successfully, with guidance from both Leave a Nest Philippines and The Filipino Patriot Scholars Project.

The succeeding session intended for the discussion of the next two modules, which will dwell on intellectual property and technology transfer and looking for collaborators and negotiation, will be held on June 24, 2023 in PICC.

The Project SET is set to conclude with its Demo Day in October this year as part of the activities during the first National Youth Science and Technology Innovation Festival (NYSTIF).