FAB LAB Mindanao provides a venue for science and technology entrepreneurs to develop prototypes for their startups using state-of-the-art technology. FAB LAB also offers entrepreneurs an opportunity to receive valuable business training, which they can use to turn their STEM innovations into viable startups. As a GIST Innovation Hub, FAB LAB will use GIST to connect with other I-Hubs around the world in order to learn best practices and share solutions on building a strong startup ecosystem.
At a Glance:
I-Hub: FAB LAB Mindanao
Location: Iligan City, Philippines
Startups: 4,264 students served; 252 faculty served; 259 prototypes developed
Sectors: Engineering, Science and Technology, Business Development
A Closer Look at FAB LAB Mindanao:
Based inside Mindanao State University’s Iligan Institute of Technology, FAB LAB Mindanao is an access center for entrepreneurs and researchers to build their product prototypes. FAB LAB offers entrepreneurs tools that include 3D printers, 3D scanners, laser cutters, precision mills, embroidery machines, power tools, lathes, and conference systems.
By offering entrepreneurs a collaboration hub to design and build their products, FAB LAB provides an avenue for STEM innovations to become realities. But many of these entrepreneurs lack the training they need to make their ideas into viable businesses, explained Lemuel Clark Velasco, manager of FAB LAB. Specifically when it comes to science innovations, Clark said most ideas remain in the world of academia but rarely make the jump into a commercialized product.
As part of the work that it is doing, FAB LAB is also bridging the gap between science and business in the Philippines. FAB LAB offers a variety of business training programs for its science entrepreneurs, and facilitates collaborations between science and business innovators in order to build successful STEM ventures.
But Clark said there is more that can be done to support these entrepreneurs, which is why FAB LAB is joining the GIST Network in 2019 as an Innovation Hub.
“Being part of the GIST Network as an I-Hub will give us the opportunity to be part of a community of problem solvers and implement similar solutions to similar entrepreneurship problems,” said Clark. “As an innovation center, it is important that we learn from what other innovation centers are also doing, and the GIST Network of I-Hubs will give FAB LAB Mindanao the ease of access to these innovation centers as well as share how we are also implementing our programs.”
Through the I-Hub program, FAB LAB will host monthly meet-ups to help its entrepreneurs learn more about business skills, including product research and market discovery. Clark said he will also leverage GIST’s I-Hub Network to make sure that FAB LAB is using the most current best practices in startup ecosystem development and support.
FAB LAB Mindanao Updates:
FAB LAB Mindanao, also known as The Red Lab, is one of the most active and vocal share services facility for the Department of Trade and Industry in the Philippines. Throughout 2018, it has designed and implemented a variety of successful programs.
FABarangay Program Connects Youth with Digital Fabrication
This program was developed to engage young people in barangays, or neighborhoods, with work in digital fabrication. The program provided an avenue to learn and nurture careers in STEM, and served as a redirection tool to prevent young people from becoming involved with drugs. Barangay Santiago was the first community where this program was implemented, and with its success, FAB LAB is now looking to collaborate with other barangays in Iligan City.
FAB 4 Science Provides Skilled Machine Training
The three-day FAB4Science training provided participants with the opportunity to learn about the machines available in The Red Lab and how to use these machines. The event was specifically developed for personnel from the Premiere Research Institute of Science and Mathematics, or PRISM, and focused on topics including digital design, design manufacturing, and production evaluation.
FABHealth Provides STEM Solutions for Nursing Challenges
In order to improve health care in the region, FAB LAB and the Iligan Institute of Technology collaborated with nurses to determine what types of innovations would help relieve some of the challenges they face in their day-to-day work. Through the program, the participating nurses created ideas for a new products to improve the work they do, and the FAB LAB participants designed a digital prototype of the product and made recommendations on what materials to use.
FAB LAB Hosts Second Summer Tech Camp for Kids
As a way to inspire innovation in young minds, FAB LAB hosted its second summer camp for children ages 7 to 14. The summer camp works to spark creativity while also teaching young kids about digital design and manufacturing. During the summer camp, more than 40 kids were guided through a design program – which functions much like a game – to develop a digital prototype that is then manufactured at the lab. At the end of the camp, kids take home their porotypes while also having learned about 3D printing, laser cutting, and embroidery.
FAB LAB Hosts Ideation Event for Elderly Innovation
As part of its elderly advocacy program “FAB for all Ages,” FAB LAB hosted an event that invited elderly people in the community to share their experiences in order to find areas where STEM innovations could improve their quality of life. The event focused less on teaching the elderly on how to use the machines, and more on ideation development of products. The program demonstrated the need to talk with a target market or audience as an essential step in developing innovative solutions.
Working to Develop Resilience in the Philippines
In order to assist refugees still rebuilding after the Marawi Siege in the Philippines, FAB LAB launched an extensive program that provides refugees with training on digital fabrication as an alternative livelihood. 10 people were selected to participate in the first training, and learned about wood working fabrication using digital design and prototype development. Through the program, the participants learned a skill set they can use to rebuild their lives and communities.