SWEEP is short for Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program. It is the only one of its kind industry-academe linkage program in the Philippines. It has a network of 42 colleges and universities all over the country that offer ECE and IT courses. For 11 years, Smart has partnered with these schools to help them produce industry-ready graduates or technopreneurs by leveraging on its network, infrastructure and technologies.
Under SWEEP, partner schools have benefitted from:
- technology trainings;
- last mile scholarships for deserving students taking up tech courses in partner State schools;
- access to the country’s first MOOCs offered by the UP Open University in partnership with Smart;
- access to a technology playground through an annual innovations competition; and
- access to a runway for commercialization of school projects.
More than these benefits, the best thing about SWEEP is that it leads to the creation of actual working applications and prototypes developed by students as answers to existing needs or problems. And the Annual SWEEP Innovation and Excellence Awards is the venue where all these happen. This Innovation Program encourages students to scan their environment, identify pain points, design and create a working technology-based solution and finally test the market for potential profit. It is an end-to-end exercise that can lead to commercialization of what starts out as school projects.
In 2013, alone SWEEP produced four Startup companies from school teams and their school projects were turned into commercial products. In partnership with Ideaspace Foundation, the incubator and accelerator program of the MVP Group of Companies, four school teams were given seed funding, office space, mentoring, exposure and financial and legal support to turn their school projects into commercial products. These teams are:
- Timefree Innovations – developed a queuing application; from Ateneo de Zamboanga University
- iRace.ph – developed a racing platform; from Ateneo de Manila University
- Gen8.ph – an all-girl team that developed a wearable obstacle detection device; from Mapua Institute of Technology
- RexZenzic – developed a remote appliance monitoring system; from Colegio de San Juan de Letran Calamba
Timefree, for example, has become very successful. In a span of one year, its value is now pegged at $1.5M and now has a footprint in Singapore, Malaysia and South Africa. Apparently, opportunity in this area is huge.
Ten years on, SWEEP is expanding its membership to more tertiary schools through SWEEPx an affiliate program of SWEEP. And as part of the SWEEPx network, member schools can now participate in:
- Technology trainings to conducted by Smart regularly. Today marks the first of this series that is now being offered to more schools outside the original SWEEP network.
- The Annual SWEEP Awards. There will be an Open Category in the competition where SWEEPx members can join. The mechanics for this can be downloaded from the SWEEP website at www.smartsweep.ph by next week.
- The Annual Leadership Summit for School heads where they can learn about global technology trends affecting education
- Activities and resources of Smart DevNet – the developer community of Smart – and Ideaspace Foundation
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