Students urged to join free startups coaching program in Davao Region

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 20 March) – Students in the Davao Region aspiring to establish their own startup businesses are encouraged to avail the free three-month intensive entrepreneurship and technopreneurship coaching program of the Davao City-based business incubator Upgrade Innolab (Upgrade).

Rob Gumba, Upgrade communications and marketing head, told MindaNews on Monday that the InnoVersity Business Leaders Program (InnoVersity), which is implemented under the Innovation and Development Accelerators Consortium for Startups (IDEAS Davao), seeks to help individuals develop “their business acumen towards building their dream startups.”

Registration is ongoing until March 31. Upgrade is the lead implementer of the consortium.

Gumba said the InnoVersity, which will start from April to June 2023, is an “ideation-to-validation” program where students will be taught about the fundamentals of starting and running a scalable enterprise, refine their startup ideas and validate their markets to see its potential for launch.

The program includes, among others, a series of learning sessions on entrepreneurial mindset, technopreneurship, design thinking, market research and validation, business model canvas and finance, and a deep mentoring session.

He added that that they welcome participants in education, agriculture, sustainability and  smart industries, to name a few.

Gumba noted that they hope to have around 50 startup teams, with five members each, for the learning sessions.

Students from different universities in Davao City race to build tech innovations to address looming problems in the city in a hackathon during the first Davao Startup Week in August 2022. MindaNews photo courtesy of Jomari Valdez / Upgrade Innolab

At least 10 teams will be picked for deep mentoring and incubation with partner technology business incubators (TBIs) in the city at the end of the program, he said.

He said that TBIs may assist and connect their incubates to potential investors or co-write proposals for possible funding.

“There is usually no direct funding or investments when startups undergo business incubation programs from the TBIs. The amount of seed fund that the startups may get, if ever there are indeed investors which is rare for early-stage startups, depends on many factors, including valuation, needs and due diligence,” he said.

According to a briefer, InnoVersity is designed to spur the interest of participants “in entrepreneurship and technopreneurship as a catalyst for social impact, mainstream a culture of innovation in addressing social problems, and promote technopreneurship as an alternative career pathway for the youth.”

Topics will include Psychology of Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Development Goals and Impact Business, Design Thinking, Design Sprint, Team Work and Dynamics, Technology Design, Business Model Canvas and Development, Market Validation, Go-To-Market Strategy, Finance 101, and Pitching, it said.

It added Upgrade has partnered with the Singapore-based youth-focused startup accelerator Reactor School, Malaysia-based business accelerator E3 Entrepreneurs Hub, and several universities in Davao Region through IDEAS Davao. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)