Eleven Palawan-based business startups incubated at the Palawan State University (PSU) were awarded financial grants to further develop their products and services in an online expo and exhibit held Tuesday (October 20).
According to Palawan International Technology Business Incubator (PITBI) OIC director Evangeline Tapar, most of the products and services were chosen because they responded to specific needs brought about by the pandemic.
During the first-ever online expo and exhibit by the PITBI, a sub-branch of PSU’s Research and Development Extension Office, eleven business startups and budding small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were given the Seed Grant, a financial support grant meant to develop and market their products and services.
“We’ve given Seed Grants to 11 of our incubatees which were a part of our pitching competition held in July,” said PITBI OIC director Tapar.
Notable exhibitors and awardees included GoPalengke, a delivery services for essential goods, and Bookvan, a ride-hailing app designed for Palaweños who travel to the municipalities through public transport. Tapar said that most of the chosen startups provided solutions to problems brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Majority are our startups are actually products or solutions responding to the pandemic. We have solutions for transportation problems, logistics, delivery of medicine and food. We even have a professor of PSU who invented a water-based solution that can prevent growth of microbes for five hours,” said Tapar. The solution, C-19, is an invention by Dr. Arnie Estrobo, and is preparing for mass distribution and patenting.
The Seed Grants amounted to P50,000, P60,000 to P100,000, depending on the need of the startup. PSU president Dr. Ramon Docto facilitated the awarding through Zoom.
“We are actually under a project that aims to enhance capabilities of business startups in the country, under the DOST (Department of Science and Technology). Isa sa mga components ng project is to support startups with funding na gagamitin para makapagsimula sila sa kanilang paggawa ng product o service, lalo na ang mga prototype, at not necessarily for operations,” said Tapar.
According to Tapar, two startups have already matured under PITBI’s tutelage, namely, IT-era and Future Aviation and Maritime Enterprise (FAME). IT-era is a technology solutions firm that began with a company of three people, while FAME developed a maritime transponding device that tracks the movement of fishermen.
“During the expo, we also recognized two of our mature startups. One started two years ago, the other three years ago. They are already in the acceleration stage, naka-graduate na sila sa incubation stage,” she added.