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A group composed of students from the University of Mindanao (UM) – Davao City Campus will be the sole startup group to represent the Philippines in the Hult Prize 2021 on August 8 to September 12, 2021, at Ashridge Castle, London, United Kingdom.

The Alipugpug Tech Solution is a technology-based startup that aims to provide solutions on agricultural services. It is composed of seven students from UM namely: Elpedio Corbeta Jr., John Kaiser Taylaran, Daniel Navarro, Jeremiah Malalis, Kim Aliya Tomaro, Steph Kier Ponteras, and Dale Viñalon. The team offers healthy market ecosystem through digital platforms and solutions that will help small-scale farmers gain competitive advantage in the market.

The group qualified for the said international competition with their entry, Malakas Vertical Farming System (VFS), an automated vertical and horizontal farming system made of bamboo that plants seeds, grow, and harvest crops.  They also developed “Maganda Capsule”, a water-soluble formula made from waste materials such as banana peel, eggshell, rambutan peelings, and guyabano that can stimulate plant growth and protect against diseases.

Moreover, the startup group created Dumangan e-commerce website, a digital marketplace that enables members of agricultural value chain monitor transaction inputs by companies, farmers, and intermediaries.

Alipugpug Tech Solutions operates under the UMasenso HUB, a university-based Technology Business Incubator (TBI) funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) under the Higher Education Institution Readiness for Innovation and Technopreneurship (HeIRIT) Program. It supports aspiring technopreneurs through training, mentorship, and innovation programs.

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“UMasenso HUB congratulates the founders of Alipugpug Tech Solutions for making it this far with their startup and qualifying for the Hult Prize 2021. We witnessed their startup journey and believed in their talents, skills, and purpose in helping the agriculture community. We encourage other dreamers and innovators to pursue and engage in startup building, with the help of DOST-assisted TBIs to make an impact on our community” said UMasenso HUB Manager Efrhain Louis Pajota.

Currently, the founders are preparing to fly to London for the one-month in-person mentoring with global startup experts to compete against 60 Global Accelerators from different countries for the US $1M seed capital grant. The Hult Prize is an annual, year-long global competition for college students with innovative solutions and viable business ideas to address pressing social issues on food security, water access, energy, and education.

(Photos from Alipugpug Tech Solution Facebook Page)

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