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SOMBA Prototype Day: Student entrepreneurs showcase innovations

Innovation was the keyword for the Prototype day for the School of Management Business Accelerator (SOMBA) program. Begun in 2003, the program has the distinction of being the first business incubator facility in the country.  So far, it has proven to be successful, resulting in actual businesses now being run by the students who initiated them.

On May 20, 2011, PLDT-CTC Room 201 was the venue for the latest group of SOMBA participants, whom, apart from fulfilling their academic requirements, all aimed to showcase innovative and hopefully profitable products.

The room itself, normally a venue for official dinners and awards ceremonies, was an explosion of color and sound, with brightly colored booths and lively music coming from every corner. A footpath of leaves led to one exhibitor’s stall. The exhibitors themselves did their best to showcase their products, with some dressed according to themes.

The products themselves showed the student entrepreneurs’ interest in adding value to products which were already available, whether it was the lowly camote, or locally sourced wagyu beef. Some groups built their businesses on products that were  normally ignored or neglected. Thus, rice husks became capacitors, coconut fiber became shoe soles, banana trunks became plates. There were also attempts at innovation, such as turning soap and shampoo into just one product. There was a self-cleaning paint coating for buildings, ready to use shelving systems, and stain-proof shoes. Pillowcases became whimsical pieces of pop art. Fruits either became cologne, sanitizer, or kebabs. Coconuts became a base for pasta, water a base for nail polish.  Even milk tea and burgers received makeovers, with the tea receiving the luxury treatment of carabao milk, and the burgers using wagyu beef sourced from Cagayan de Oro. 

Although not all the products are ready for final retail, the prototypes are an indication that there is an entire group of young entrepreneurs who are ready not just to join present markets, but open new ones. 

SOMBA groups for SY 2011-2012


Product: Fruits on sticks

Le Sante

Product: Goat’s milk cheese

Mini Amai

Product: Camote flour

Royal Tea

Product: Specialty milk tea made with carabao milk


Product: Spreads made from camote

WG Burgers

Product: Premium beef burgers

Digitab Inc.

Product: Super capacitors as rechargeable batteries

Flat Leaf

Product: Biodegradable plates


Product: Natural nail polish


Product: Stain-proof pillowcases


Product: Self-cleaning paint coating

Soap Plus

Product: Soap and shampoo bar


Product: Wall shelving systems

Fruit Basket

Product: Non-alcohol hand sanitizer

Water Shoes

Product: Water-resistant shoes

Coco Coir

Product: Footwear made with coconut rope and coir

Text by Roy Tristan Agustin
Photographs by Joanna Ruiz

We would like to thank Art Valencia and Jen Mendoza of the SOMBA office for their assistance.