FINDING blood donors is a frustrating struggle for families who need blood in times of medical emergencies.

But that will change very soon when Cebuano students launch their innovative mobile app and website to the public.

A project by a team from the University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) that seeks to connect people who need blood with potential donors won the grand prize in the 13th SWEEP (Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program) Innovation and Excellence Awards.

The team that created BloodSeeker won P300,000 during the awarding ceremony at the Mind Museum in Taguig City last Feb. 9. The school also won half the amount in grants.

“We are overwhelmed by the win,” said Greg Gabison, dean of the USJ-R College of Information, Computer and Communications Technology.

BloodSeeker was built by USJ-R students Kirster Kyle Quinio, Alyzza Villahermosa, Harniel Salmeron and Sept Lozada.

The team spent weeks building their product and validating its market demand to make it sustainable.

BloodSeeker creators told judges that they have talked to potential partners like the Philippine Red Cross and the Department of Health 7 for their mobile app.

Gabison said the mentorship provided by SWEEP was a big help to their students.

“Going through a mentoring process is not common in universities. You’re actually being mentored by business leaders and technology gurus,” he said.

Providing mentorship on market potential and the business aspects of a product is a key component of SWEEP, which started purely as a way to boost engineering education.

“It just can’t be technology. You have to have a business model. You have to do market testing and validation. We’re helping these students complete the process,” said Smart Public Affairs Group Head Mon Isberto.

Three other projects from USJ-R made it to the 10 finalists – the most number from one school.

The projects were chosen from a total of 230 entries submitted by students from 52 schools all over the country.

The SWEEP Awards started in 2004.

SWEEP is a collaboration between Smart and various schools meant to raise the standard of engineering and IT education in the country. PR