Starting them young. Chris Waller, a post-graduate professor (right), explains the mechanics of the Mobile Application Venture Challenge. With him are (from left) DTI Cebu Director Ma. Elena Arbon, CIB.O managing director Wilfredo Saa Jr., DOST 7 Director Ed Paradela and DOST Cebu Director Tristan Abando. (SunStar Photo/Alex Badayos)

UNIVERSITY students are being challenged to help build the next generation of mobile applications.

Foreign post-graduate professor Chris Waller is working alongside the Cebu IT-BPM Organization and four government agencies to run the pilot program dubbed as Mobile Application Venture Challenge (MAVC) 2018.

The competition invites fourth year IT and business students to unleash their creative skills and build mobile applications that benefit the community and are sustainable.

Nine universities and colleges in Cebu have already signed up for the competition. Organizers of the MAVC are expecting at least six teams per school to join the competition.

Students may create mobile applications for financial technology or fintech, leisure and gaming products, and open class, an idea that involves around mobile technology for Android and iOS platforms.

On a technical level, each mobile app is expected to be creative, innovative, and well-designed. Participating teams must be able to demonstrate a revenue generating business model.

Waller said the winning team for each category gets home with a P150,000 cash prize; P50,000 for the second place; and P25,000 for the third place.

The winning teams will also receive an all-expense paid trip to Department of Science and Technology’s Innovation Center in Manila, which will expose them to new technologies and link them to a larger network.

MAVC, according to Waller, is developed and financially backed by a group of non-Filipinos who have high confidence on Filipinos’ creative and technical skills and entrepreneurial spirit.

“We are aiming to develop the next wave of entrepreneurs who think beyond Cebu and who bring tangible benefits to Cebu,” said Waller.

Besides CIB.O, MAV’s other partner agencies are Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Cebu, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development.

The MAVC 2018 will be soft-launched on Thursday. Deadline for applications is on July 31.

The first batch of elimination is scheduled on Oct.12. Qualifiers are invited to join the Acceleration Day on Oct. 27, an event that highlights presentations and sessions that are designed to move their projects forward to its final presentation.

Only 24 teams will be invited to this session with a maximum of two students per team. By Nov. 10, the qualifiers will undergo the second round of elimination, of which 12 teams will compete for the final round on Nov. 24.

“MAVC is an avenue for future entrepreneurs to develop and demonstrate innovative products that has business potential,” said Waller. “We also want to make sure they create mobile applications that sell.” DTI-Cebu Director Ma. Elena Arbon welcomed this new program, saying this could help Cebu develop its own pool of small and medium enterprises (SMES) with 21st century skills.

Moreover, CIB.O managing director Wilfredo Saa Jr. said this will strengthen Cebu’s footing in the innovation sphere.

Cebu is marketing itself as an Innovation Island. Saa said the industry is aiming to reclaim Cebu’s spot in the top 10 of Tholons’ survey.

“Programs like this help show that innovation is very much alive in Cebu. MAVC is an avenue where future innovators of the country and the world could come from,” said Saa.

DOST 7 Director Ed Paradela pledged the agency’s support for the program, especially that this could prepare the province’s talent pool to the era of industrial revolution (smart factories) and the future super-smart society (society 5.0).

“It’s quite a challenge and an opportunity to move on to the upper level with these new approaches,” said Paradela.

“We are aiming to re-enter in the top 10 Tholons List. We are hoping that initiatives like this would be magnified and improve our ranking in the global evaluation,” said DICT 7 Assistant Director Tony Padre.

As it aims to become an annual event, MAVC, according to Waller, will continue to link with the academe and encourage other schools and the business community to participate.