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Smart, DOST aid mobile app entrepreneurs

By Alexander Villafania
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 08:03:00 11/13/2008

Filed Under: Technology (general), Innovation (invention), Science & Technology

MAKATI CITY, Philippines ? Smart Communications partnered and the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry and Energy Research and Development (DOST-PCIERD) are working together to help turn homegrown mobile applications into big business.

This partnership emerged with ongoing Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP), an annual competition for colleges and universities in the Philippines to create innovative mobile applications.

Darwin Flores, Smart communications senior manager for community partnerships, said that none of the participants and even winners of previous SWEEP competitions have made the mobile applications commercially available.

The SWEEP program started five years ago.

"We already removed the ownership requirement in February," Flores pointed out, as he explained that Smart has removed the clause requiring top finalists during each competition to turn over ownership of their applications to the company.

Flores said this new development will allow participants to keep and develop their mobile applications for commercial ventures.

Meanwhile, Arlyn Romasanta, PCIERD IT head, said applicants of SWEEP will enjoy financial grants under their Grants-in-Aid program targeting local entrepreneurs.

Romasanta did not give a specific maximum amount of loan for SWEEP participants but she said projects can get over P1 million. However, projects have to go through the required evaluation by PCIERD to see if these are viable commercial ventures.

For this year's SWEEP program, 76 entries have submitted their project proposals, of which 10 were chosen. Four proposals came from Ateneo De Manila University, one from Ateneo De Davao University, three from Bulacan State University, one from Systems Plus College Foundation and one from University of San Carlos.

Winners will be announced in March 2009 and they can win P150,000 to P500,000.

Flores said there are more participants this year compared to previous years, which registered between 50 to 60 schools. This increase indicates more interest from other schools to develop applications for the mobile space.



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