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College students help rebuild the country



PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PLDT Shown hosting the Smart Prepaid InnoGen Season 2 virtual event is Rammy Bitong.

Over 355 college students, grouped into 78 teams from 29 universities and colleges nationwide have joined the second season of the Smart Prepaid Innovation Generation (InnoGen), an innovation grant program for the youth. Aligned with Smart’s and parent company PLDT’s core value of malasakit (compassion), InnoGen poses the challenge “How can the youth help the Philippines recover from the pandemic?”

The participating teams will present innovative solutions to the challenge using wireless or digital technology, to create opportunities for community development in the areas of disaster preparedness, education, environment, governance, inclusion, livelihood, sports and tourism.

Smart assistant vice president and head of Community Relations Stephanie Orlino welcomed the young innovators in a virtual ceremony, noting, “This marks the first chapter of your incredible journey with InnoGen that will surely stay with you for a lifetime. As the first season exemplified, InnoGen provides a playground for you — our young aspiring innovators and future industry movers — to pursue your passions, nurture your ideas and build with a purpose.”

In 2020, the InnoGen Season 1 participants focused on bridging the gaps brought about by the pandemic. Their innovative ideas included donation platforms and virtual computer laboratories designed to offer solutions to help their fellow students cope with the challenges of e-learning.

Orlino added that InnoGen allows

student-participants to get direct guidance from experts and practitioners, enabling them to bring their ideas to fruition. “It is a space that fosters a culture of collaboration between participants, to be inspired by your fellow youth and strive together towards a better world,” she said.

At stake for the teams who will reach InnoGen’s Phases 2 and 3, and the Demo Day, are connectivity and cash grants of up to P60,000.
Working with Smart Prepaid in the implementation of the InnoGen Program are PLDT Enterprise, ePLDT, Innolab, PayMaya and Ideaspace and QBO Innovation Hub.

Forming part of PLDT and Smart’s strong advocacy for education which ensures that there will be #NoLearnerLeftBehind, the InnoGen Grant Program also aims to help the country attain the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals particularly “SDG #4: Providing Quality Education.”