The University of Southern Mindanao is one of 27 HEIs/SUCs chosen through a competitive selection process to be part of the 2022 Higher Education Institution Readiness for Innovation and Technopreneurship (HEIRIT) program. This program is implemented by the Department of Science and Technology Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) to establish Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) and establish a culture of technopreneurship for economic and industrial development. The participating universities are guided by the HIHEIRIT Project Team through the University of the Philippines Mindanao.
The selection of the USM was made possible through the efforts and commitment demonstrated by USM faculty together with senior officials led by University President Dr. Francisco Gil N. Garcia. Through the program, USM proposed to establish the USM Adaptable Research Technology TBI (USMart-TBI) with Prof. Jalaloden Marohom as the designated TBI manager. The banner program shall focus on innovations in food processing and information and communications technology (ICT). The program was presented by Vice President for Research Development and Extension, Dr. Ma. Teodora N. Cabasan presented the USM proposal to the Technical Panel Evaluation Committee. This was followed by a series of trainings, including the TBI Primer course attended by Prof. Marohom, Engr. Maricel Dayaday, Engr. Jerry Piamonte, Prof. Romiel John Basan, and Prof. April Rose Flores, together with entrepreneur-in-resident Katherine Visitacion. Further series of workshops were attended by Prof. Marohom, Engr. Dayaday, and Prof. Nerissa de la Viña.
The official launch of the HEIRIT program and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding was done during the 6th National Technology Business Incubator (TBI) Summit held on November 16, 2022 at the Venice Grand Canal in Taguig City. The TBI summit provides a venue for collaboration among DOST-funded incubators together with other government innovation agencies, private incubators, innovators, and some international incubator managers. Featured speakers shared their experiences of challenges and successes in establishing start-ups. The summit was attended by Prof. Marohom, Engr. Dayaday, together with Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Geoffray Atok who signed the MOU with DOST-PCIEERD, UP Mindanao UPGRADE TBI, and the other participating HEIs/SUCs.