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Vista Land, UP tie up to develop Silicon Valley model

By Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) | Updated June 29, 2016 - 12:00am

 A memorandum of agreement signed by the University of the Philippines with Vista Land on June 27 at The Peninsula Manila formally established the partnership that will make the new technology innovation campus a reality. Sen. Cynthia Villar/Released

MANILA, Philippines – Vista Land & Landscapes Inc., the listed integrated property developer of the Villar Group, is allocating a five hectare property in its Vista City in Metro South for the development of the Philippines’ version of Silicon Valley.

The University of the Philippines, the state-owned premier educational institution, will develop what will be known as the country’s first School of Technopreneurship in Vista City’s University Town.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), Vista Land said the Villar Family donated the land where the facilities would be built as part of its chairman’s, Manuel Villar Jr., vision to develop local start-ups in the Philippines.

“A UP campus in Vista City is envisioned to become the birthplace of local tech start-ups that will ensure the Philippines will remain competitive in today’s global economy,” Villar said.

The idea of having such facility came from a “think paper” published by the UP.

According to the paper, investment in knowledge capital development is one way to ensure a nation’s economic progress and to sustain inclusive growth.

The Philippines, the paper argues, needs to begin investing not only in education infrastructure, but also in a “knowledge suprastructure” which allows the development of multi-disciplinary experts, trained specifically in technology and business – individuals more popularly known as technopreneurs.

This suprastructure requires investment of both public and private sectors in smart classroom facilities, business incubation spaces, tech innovation zones, located within modern university towns that allow technopreneurs to thrive in a supportive ecosystem – think of Silicon Valley in California, it said.

“The UP Technopreneurship Campus in Vista City’s University Town can give its student- technopreneurs a better shot at bringing discoveries, inventions, and designs to the innovation stage and competing on the bigger world stage,” UP president Alfredo Pascual said.

Villar said Vista City is an ideal location because of the area’s rapid development as an extension of Metro Manila. Nearby are several industrial zones whose technology companies can support the further development of the UP campus and its programs.

Under the agreement, Vista Land will build the initial campus facilities on the donated five hectare property, while UP will design the programs to be offered in the campus.

The initial development involves the construction of an enterprise center and classroom complex that will offer postgraduate and undergraduate programs in technopreneurship and design engineering for UP students.

“With the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between UP and Vista Land, doors are opened to aspiring technopreneurs and big tech industry players alike”, said Vista Land president and CEO Paolo Villar.

He said the Philippines takes one step closer to making this economically progressive future a reality.

Last March, UP also unveiled a partnership with SM Investments Corp. (SMIC), the conglomerate of the Sy Group, for a nine-level building inside the University of the Philippines (UP) Professional Schools at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

SM donated P400 million to construct the building.

Pascual said post graduate classes would be held at the BGC Campus, which has a total floor area of 12,000 square meters and would house 29 classrooms, three computer laboratories, a study area called a learning commons, faculty lounges, an auditorium, a moot court or a venue for simulated court proceedings for law students, a multipurpose hall; discussion rooms, conference rooms, office spaces and an executive lounge.

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