In Matahimik street, Diliman QC, an idea was given life. A house where individuals can find a home in and nurture their own ideas, with all the tools, mentoring, and guidance, spread out and available. This is SparkLabs Innovation Center. And during its liftoff last December 3, guest speakers from businesses, policy makers, artists, provided their stories to the residents of SparkLabs.
The first speaker, Charles Patrick Ty of Intel Philippines, started his talk by asking for a volunteer. He had insisted that someone, anyone, stand up and join him stand in front of the large audience. No one stood up and still Ty kept on asking for a volunteer. Finally, a volunteer, a youth, stood and walked up front where everyone could see him. Ty, with a large grin on his face, handed the volunteer a thousand peso bill, and asked him he may go back to his seat.
Ty’s point? Seize opportunities. It is rare to encounter something that could change lives forever.
The Philippines is a source of creative talent and SparkLabs aims to spread opportunities by building a center that has all the tools for 3D printing, fabric weaving, carpentry, engineering, and so much more that people may find useful in the growth and development of their ideas. There will be mentors to teach them how to properly use these tools, provide business and marketing advice.
Angelo Casimoro, a teenager inventor, who has developed a shoe that can generate electricity, was among the speakers. You might have heard of the giant, rolling BB-8 unit built by a kid? That would be him. During his talk he had claimed that people assumed he is part of a family that has money: The means to acquire the tools he needed to build his machines. To this, Casimoro said that his father never gave him anything, that he needed to work for what he needed on his own, and in this philosophy Casimoro went after online organizations, competed in writing contests, earned small amount of money to buy cheap electronics which he could dismantle and pluck its components for the things he wanted to make.
SparkLab reaches out two hands to offer more to their startups: Product development, tech support, and prototyping. Prototyping will allow makers to see what their products look like outside the paper, where they will be able to analyze and better study their product for finer polishing. Workshops that offer a weekly or monthly learning session to expand makers’ knowledge in engineering, technology, and design.
By this regard, you don’t need to have a degree on engineering or design, you don’t need a certificate that proves you are knowledgeable in certain aspects: What SparkLabs is telling you, if you have an idea, take that idea to them, and they will help you cater it for your startup.
Of course, SparkLabs has its fees. But the innovation center has the tools, the guidance, and the space for makers to run wild and explore their ideas, and build them up to something that can change lives.