Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines in BSU
Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency, Toshinao Urabe, was in the University on September 17, 2012 to personally see the development of the Agri-based Technology Business Incubator /Innovation Center (ATBI).
ATBI received a financial grant of PhP 4M from the Japanese Government under the Grant’s Assistance for Grassroot Projects (GGP) program. According to Dr. Ruth C. Diego, who leads the ATBI program, the program is where young entrepreneurs are trained and nurtured to be successful business owners who will help address unemployment problem of the Region in particular and of the country in general.
Under the ATBI program, enrollees or incubatees get oriented and trained along general entrepreneurship in farming, food processing, and marketing. Dr. Diego referred to this as the value chain.
“Farming, food processing, and marketing are not businesses by themselves; they have to link with each other in order to grow,” she said while showing some pictures of the 77 farmers who already completed the ATBI program and who are now on their way to establishing their own farms.
Dr. Diego mentioned that among other things the ATBI program has emphasized to the incubatees to design their own brands or trademark for their products, develop processed products from fresh produce, and to sell services. As of September 2012, the program has “graduated” 46 incubatees. Aspiring entrepreneurs with a business idea, a micro-entrepreneur either in early-stage, expanding, and with established companies are welcome to join the ATBI program. To Dr. Diego, this means fresh graduates and farmers because she wants to help build up the confidence of farmers as businesspeople, not ‘just’ farmers.