Aimed at harnessing the creativity of today’s youth, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has launched an incubation program for youth-led digital solutions that enable Filipinos to surmount the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Presented by Smart Prepaid, Innovation Generation will tap college students to develop innovative solutions that utilize wireless technologies to solve community problems in such fields as livelihood, education, and transportation.
In its pilot run this year, participants in the incubation program will be drawn from students of the 34 member colleges and universities of the Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP), the company’s industry-academe collaboration program with educational institutions that offer electronics and communications engineering (ECE) and information technology (IT) courses.
The program’s tagline “(You)th Can Be Part of the Solution,” recognizes the valuable contribution of the youth in creating innovative solutions, especially in the time of the pandemic where Filipinos face daily challenges in adapting to the new normal.
“The younger generation easily adapts to technologies, and their fresh perspective brings new ideas to the table—all of which are essential to drive innovation and to utilize the technology and resources we have today,” said Jane J. Basas, senior vice president and head of Consumer Wireless Business at Smart.
Cash grants, expert mentoring and training
Under the program’s guidelines, each partner school allowed to submit a maximum of three entries. From the submitted entries, one team from each school will be chosen and be given a cash grant and various Smart products and services amounting to Php 100,000.
They will also be given expert mentoring and training to further develop their innovation projects. Validation of projects is slated for the first quarter of 2021.
Shortlisted teams will be trained by Smart mentors who have helped SWEEP schools produce industry-ready graduates or technopreneurs by leveraging on its network, infrastructure and technologies. To-date, SWEEP has trained more than 36,000 students and teachers, with over 1,000 graduates directly hired by Smart.
Youth’s more active role in the community
Smart Prepaid Innovation Generation is aligned with the commitment of Smart and parent company PLDT Inc. (PLDT) to bring the best digital technologies to the Philippines. Just recently, Smart launched 5G live as a commercial service and made available the initial batch of 5G mobile phones that are certified to work best on the Philippines’ first 5G mobile network.
In partnership with Gariath Concepts, the first Smart 5G-powered esports gaming hub in the country also hosted the country’s first cloud gaming competition on 5G. The launch of NBA.Smart portal in partnership with the NBA Basketball League will also enable subscribers to watch live NBA TV anywhere anytime.
“While these Smart services target customers’ passion points, the company recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has also brought forth pain points in communities that have yet to fully adapt to the new normal,” Basas said.
“Through the Smart Prepaid Innovation Generation, we want to enable the youth to go beyond their comfort zones and take on a bigger and more active role in the community,” she adds.