USTP Balubal secures top 10 spot in Agri-Aqua Innovation Challenge

By Mark Anthony Bactong, USTP Balubal BAT Adviser

On July 1, 2022, the Campus Innovation team of the University of Science and Technology of Southern Philippines (USTP) Balubal secured the Top 10 spot at the National Level of the Agri-Aqua Innovation Challenge.

Participants of the Agri-Aqua Innovation Challenge last June 24, 2022

The Agri-Aqua Innovation Challenge is a startup competition organized by the Asian Institute of Management (AIM). According to an article on the AIM website, the competition aims to “inspire and engage the next generation of Filipinos in shaping a modern, progressive, and more relevant agriculture and aquaculture sector.”

This year, a team of second-year students from USTP Balubal entered the competition with their startup idea, FreshBox, a delivery system that uses agricultural box technology. The team is composed of Hannah Jasmin Cinco, Robert Mondejar, and Jerry Mae Zarate.

Ms. Jerry Mae Zarate pitch their startup idea, FreshBox

They are headed by Dr. Joevil C. Pepania, USTP Balubal Campus Director, and Dr. Dennis A. Apuan, Program Coordinator. They are also joined by Innovation Coach, Engr. Diogenes Pascua; Bachelor of Agricultural Technology (BAT) adviser, Mr. Mark Anthony M. Bactong; and Information Technology (IT) adviser, Ms. Marje Catayas.

The Agri-Aqua Innovation Challenge competition was made possible by the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) and the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP). They conduct a one-year Innovation Challenge to empower the country’s agriculture and aquaculture startups in addressing the country’s agriculture and aquaculture challenges.

The USTP Balubal innovation team seeks to continue its passion for creating innovative technologies, building young innovators, and joining startup competitions. The team pursues becoming one of the Top 5 finalists for this year’s competition.