Cebu startup to receive UN award-A A +A
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
A CEBU technology startup supported by Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and incubator IdeaSpace Foundation, Inc. (IdeaSpace) will receive a United Nations award next month for creating a mobile application that provides users and emergency agencies critical information for emergencies and disasters.
Technopreneur Yvonne Loremia, who co-developed the “Tudlo” app with her husband Vince, is one of 10 entrepreneurs from all over the world who have been named winners of the 10 Young Innovators Competition organized by the UN-backed International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom. The winners, all aged between 18 and 26, will join the ITU Telecom World 2013 event next month in Thailand for a four-day accelerator program of pitching sessions, workshops and mentoring. They will also get the chance to win funding of up to $10,000.
The Loremias and their developer-teammates came up with “Tudlo” (a Visayan word which means to “teach, guide, or point” ) during a hackathon or coding marathon organized last year by the Smart Developer Network (Smart DevNet), Smart’s developer community program. Tudlo was recognized as the event’s Best Community App. It later on became one of the finalists of the IdeaSpace National Competition for startups last March.
The mobile app can be used to give government agencies, organizations, and individuals immediate access to disaster warnings, advisories, location data, and disaster mappings. It features step-by-step instructions that can guide users to safety during disasters. The app also enables users to contribute information to emergency agencies and make donations to disaster victims more easily and quickly. Tudlo can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.
Seeing the app’s potential to save lives during emergencies like earthquakes, flooding, landslides, and fire, Smart gave Tudlo a grant through IdeaSpace to help the Loremias turn their big idea into a startup. IdeaSpace, which is backed by Smart and other industry leaders, is now providing the Loremias with mentorship and incubation support.
Smart also partnered with the app creators and Albay province to customize Tudlo for the use of the Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office, and possibly other local governments units also.
“We fully support what we call ‘apptivism’ or the use of mobile apps for social good.
We are happy that the Loremias’ efforts to help their fellow Filipinos through technology have been recognized on the world stage. We hope that more Filipinos would be inspired to create innovative digital solutions for the different problems we face,” said Smart public affairs head Ramon Isberto.
“Startups like Tudlo underscore the role of technopreneurs in helping solve the most pressing needs of emerging countries. In markets like the Philippines, disaster preparedness and response are critical for saving people’s lives and for boosting economic development and continuous growth,” said IdeaSpace president Earl Valencia.
Winners of the UN award were chosen based on the possible social impact of their business and its potential for success. The selection panel had to choose from more than 600 entries from 88 countries. Other winners included young entrepreneurs from India, Uganda, and Vietnam, who have sought to help address such issues as marine protection, food waste reduction and immigration.
“These are bright young minds with creative technological solutions to developmental challenges both in their communities and in the wider world,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré in an article posted at the UN website. (PR)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 31, 2013.