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AIM taps PhilDev chief for incubator program

CEBU, Philippines - The Asian Institute of Management (AIM) has partnered with Filipino technology innovator Diosdado Banatao, chairman of PhilDev Foundation, to give startups in the Philippines an incubator program.

The goal of the new incubator program is to accelerate the development of startups and open up more local opportunities for entrepreneurship.

AIM, in partnership with PhilDev, received an initial funding of P14.8 million for the AIM-Dado Banatao Incubator under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Incubator Creation Program.

The incubator center, which was launched yesterday and can incubate up to 11 startups, is located in AIM's campus in Makati City.

"Startups belong to the biggest drivers of the Philippine economy, micro enterprises and small businesses," AIM President and Dean Jikyeong Kang said.

"Of the 99.6% of local companies that make up the backbone of the local economy, a mere fraction of a percent belong to medium enterprises. The bulk belongs to enterprises with less than 10 employees," she said.

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"One of the fastest ways we can achieve this is to give the country’s biggest economic engine the rare opportunity to benefit from the mentorship of global visionaries, such as Dado Banatao," Kang said.

In a press conference yesterday at thre AIM campus in Makati City, Banatao said that innovation is one key to unlock the country’s economic potential.

"It's only in innovation that we are able to further develop the economy," he said, citing the importance of combining innovation and entrepreneurship, elements that are seen vital to address poverty.

"Entrepreneurship and innovation will solve this huge gap between the rich and poor," he said.

Banatao founded several Silicon Valley companies including Chips & Technologies, S3 Graphics, SiRF, Marvell and Inphi.

He has also made major investments in Cyras Systems, Stream Machine and Wilocity.

The Silicon Valley tech pioneer is best known for pioneering two technologies that are widely regarded as the cornerstones of today's personal computer: chipset and graphics acceleration architecture.

"Aside from providing qualified startups rent-free working space, AIM will also gladly make accessible to them a mentoring program and the expertise of our faculty and alumni," he said.

"We do this in hopes of encouraging more angels and VC (venture capitalist) funds to invest as well as lowering the assumption-to-knowledge ratio of startups in the incubator as painlessly as possible," she said.

The incubator intends to support early-stage startups with deep technology, science or engineering solutions to the neglected problems of an emerging world.

The AIM-Dado Banatao Incubator Program has set certain criteria for startups to be qualified: founder; technology (early product demonstrating a strong core science, technology or engineering innovation; stage (early-stage startups); and industry (focus on sectors that need science and technology-based innovative solutions in communications, agriculture, health, artificial intelligence, and Internet of Things, among others).

The program also accommodates software, hardware and business model innovations.

AIM said qualified startups will have access to world-class mentorship from serial entrepreneurs, top executives, industry experts, including individuals with successful track record in Silicon Valley; access to global funding network of Banatao, PhilDev and AIM; education and training calibrated to the needs of the startup's founders; resources from selected partners; rent-free office space in AIM Campus; and exclusive networking events for business development and investments.

Startups from outside Manila can also apply for the incubation and application is on a rolling basis as long as the incubator has enough space to take in another startup. (FREEMAN)

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