Philippine Standard Time

Aquaculture startups win the 1st Agri-Aqua Innovation Challenge

DOST-PCAARRD Technology Transfer and Promotion Division (TTPD)’s Ms. Lucy A. Lastimosa, TTPD Director Noel A. Catibog, and AIM’s Prof. Matthew George O. Escobido congratulate the [Top] Kamino Algae team led by Mr. Milo Alejo for winning the grand prize worth of PHP 1 million under the Startups Category of the 1st Agri-Aqua Innovation Challenge; and [Bottom] AquaGenTech Company (AGTC) led by Mr. Joseph Carlo V. Vergel for winning the grand prize of Php 400,000 in the Students Category.

Two aquaculture startups bagged the top spots of the 1st Agri-Aqua Innovation Challenge under its two categories: Startups and Students.

The two winners were: Kamino Algae for the Startups Category and AquaGenTech Company (AGTC) for the Students Category, winning P1-million and P400,000-cash prizes, respectively. Kamino Algae is a startup offering algal paste to aquaculture hatcheries while AquaGenTech carries the JAmp-WSSV System, a diagnostic kit for shrimp that detects White Spot Syndrome Virus, the infamous pathogen in shrimp aquaculture.

The 1st Agri-Aqua Innovation Challenge is a collaboration among the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD), Asian Institute of Management (AIM), and the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP). It is a 12-month challenge that aims to support start-ups to manage their agri-businesses better and enhance their innovation journey through funding support and expert mentorship.

Led by Prof. Matthew George O. Escobido, adjunct faculty at AIM, the project conducted its culminating activity, the 1st Agri-Aqua Innovation Challenge Demo Day, on November 9, 2022 at the 3rd Floor, Fuller Hall, AIM main building, Makati City.

Startup category

Under the Startup category, nine other finalists competed for the top three prize.

AGRI-TIPS’ Mango Pest Buster, the first mobile smart insecticide resistance management app for mango growers, was first runner-up, while Shiftech Marine\'s Powertubes battery pack for fisherfolk was second runner-up, receiving P800,000- and P500,000-cash prize, respectively.

Consolation prizes worth P200,000 were given to each of the other finalists including Waste4Good, Uproot, HormoGroe, FarmBox, FiberTech, Insiklo, and VORTEX.

Students category

Aside from AGTC, other winners under Students category include: Greenstacks, first runner-up, with P300,000- cash prize, while Aqualink and Sadiwa Ulang Farming, tied for second runner-up, with P150,000 cash prize each.

Consolation prizes worth P100,000 each was given to the finalists under student category, namely: FreshBox, I-Sense, and Pilifines.

Over 400 start-up companies and student groups applied to the contest at the start of year 2022. After the pitch feedback session in June, the finalists were trimmed down to Top 17 teams.

The event was attended by key officials from the three agencies: DOST PCAARRD (Executive Director Reynaldo V. Ebora; Deputy Executive Director for ARMSS Melvin B. Carlos, Technology Transfer and Promotion Division Director Noel A. Catibog); AIM (Program Leader Matthew George O. Escobido); and MAP I (Vice President Donald Patrick Lim, and Chair for Agribusiness Oscar Torralba).

The seven winning groups were conferred during DOST-PCAARRD’s 50th anniversary celebration held on November 10, 2022 at Los Baños, Laguna.