UC introduces IT students to startups

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Sunday, February 16, 2014


THERE are many tips on how to be a successful startup. Perhaps the most common is to not lose sight of one’s dreams.

This is what most speakers reminded students of the University of Cebu at the second UC ICT Conference last Saturday.

The university held the conference to help students learn from experts in the field, analyze the speakers’ experiences and apply what they learned.

Keynote speaker Dennis Posadas, a business and technology writer, said that most people don’t want to go against the norm. “It’s very hard to do something if you’re the only one doing it. That’s basic human psychology,” he told the students.

He said that if to become rich is the only motivation for becoming a technopreneur, not much will come out of it. “You need to love the craft. Enjoy what you are doing, otherwise, you are not going to last,” he said.

Most of the speakers agree that loving what they are doing forces them to continue, rather than just give up and find another project.

Take risks

It also makes them take more risks. Posadas said technopreneurs need to be comfortable
with taking risks.

For TechTalks founder Tina Amper, a can-do attitude will get one far ahead of others. “Take control of your career. Don’t wait for your teachers or parents to tell you what to do.”

This was echoed by Ademar Tutor, who co-founded CodeToki, a learning platform for programmers done through gaming.

Tutor cited the two types of personalities–those who find a way and those who just say things can’t be done. “You are the programmer of your life.”

He also encouraged students to not lose focus of what they want to achieve and to remind themselves daily so they don’t lose sight of it. He admitted it will be difficult, as most want to succeed instantly. But he said even the most successful people in the business had to wait.

He pointed out that Vietnamese game maker Dong Ngyuen started programming 10 years ago before Flappy Bird became an international success.

For Justine Raagas, freelance mobilizer of Elance, graduates can trade their skills to earn money and fund their project. She said admitted that the usual advice works better if one has money.

While most expect fresh graduates to start job-hunting, Raagas suggested freelancing as an alternative.

She pointed out that there is a big chance that regular employees are underpaid for their skills and that if one has a dream, it will take much longer to achieve it with the small income.

Raagas said that at Elance, one can earn P1 million a year if one can find the right freelance jobs and can get the freelancer enough to get by and fund a startup.

Aside from freelancing, startups also have support systems these days to make their lives easier.

Amper said they provide resources and connections to give startup companies a boost.

She said that meeting other individuals with similar interests can help one learn more and find better opportunities.

Funding

There are also companies willing to fund startups.

Pia Angeli Bernal is the investments manager of Kickstart, a wholly owned subsidiary of Globe Telecom that invests in seed-stage startups, and she assured that companies like Kickstart have favorable terms for startups.

As to why such companies are willing to risk investing in startups, she said, “an ecosystem with more innovation is better for business, overall.”

Since March 2012, Bernal said Kickstart has funded 17 companies from 47 founders and has created 177 jobs. Among these companies are Lenddo, Ava and Gift Launcher.

With better opportunities available for startup companies, all students have to do is learn the right skills and be able to do them well.

Marianne Beau Goldy Yancha, community development consultant of IdeaSpace Philippines also briefed students on building their own startups.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 17, 2014.

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