Stirring the entrepreneurial spirit the JGSoM.BA way

April 08, 2015

“Through SoM.BA, I was able to get experiences I never would have gotten anywhere else,” says Jac Lin Yu (BS Management 2015). No, JGSoM.BA is not an energy drink but its effect may well be akin to one—revitalizing the mind and body. Of a future entrepreneur, that is.

Yu is one of the Ateneans who have benefitted from JGSoM.BA or John Gokongwei School of Management Business Accelerator program, an 18-unit elective course for incoming senior students that accords them a Minor in Enterprise Development upon successfully completing the program over a period of three semesters.

Jac Lin Yu hopes to  parlay her SoM.BA learning into another business  (Photos from JGSoM.BA and Jac Lin Yu's Facebook account)
Since its inception 10 years ago, SoM.BA has grown into one of the university’s most popular electives. And how could it not, when SoM.BA students are given a foot in the entrepreneurial door.

“The students have to go through the full cycle of ideation, prototyping, business registration, sourcing, production, selling and marketing and creating an exit strategy,” says John Luis Lagdameo, JGSoM.BA Program director.

Lagdameo, an Ateneo alumnus (BS Management Engineering 1992), says that although the program is an elective, it is a demanding course, especially since students are required to produce tangible results. JGSoM.BA students, he adds, are “exposed to the real world sooner” than the rest of the undergraduates.

“They have a six-month advantage because their startup experience puts them in a real business setting. Aside from actual work experience, the program has taught students discipline, perseverance, creativity and strategic thinking. It has also taught them to work well on their own and with others,” he says.  The program also helps set in the motion for future business owners by fostering their entrepreneurial mindset.

“We teach them the current entrepreneurial startup tools such as lean startup, business model generation, among other things. These allow more room for fine tuning the product or service and cutting down on costs,” he says.

Student groups are also assigned mentors with whom they can consult throughout the program duration. They come from various fields, from the academe such as the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, to practitioners and specialists from industries and FMCG companies. With their experience and capabilities, the mentors steer these budding entrepreneurs towards the right direction.

Over the years, the program has produced an interesting mix of start-up ventures—from apparel and footwear to food and technology-related ventures like apps and games.   Yu’s group, for instance, conceptualized Dia-Beat This!, a meal planning and delivery service catering to diabetics.

JGSoM.BA students organize and participate in fairs and bazaars to sell their products (Photo from JGSoM.BA Facebook account)

“We thought of this because it is what we can relate to the most. I was interested in health while my partner had relatives who had diabetes” she says. Under the JGSoM.BA program, Yu and her group were able to go through the nitty-gritty of a business.  From organizing and joining expos and bazaars to meeting potential investors, they were able to experience firsthand the life of an entrepreneur.

More than guiding students along the path of entrepreneurship, Lagdameo says the program could also be an avenue that provides work prospects to others. 

“These student enterprises can give employment opportunities to others and even reach out to local communities. We remind the students that their businesses should not only lead to profit but it should also lead to building real communities and elevating the lives of their countrymen,” he says.  Tracks on social, cultural and information technology entrepreneurships are incorporated into the JGSoM.BA program to further the students’ business foundation.

SoM.BA students get a firsthand experience of the entrepreneurial world. (Photo from JGSoM.BA Facebook account)

Yu’s group has decided to part ways but the newly minted graduate intends to get the most of her JGSoM.BA classes using her Dia-Beat This! experience as the model business.

“Not everyone has a chance to learn by experience in an environment that is relatively safe. JGSoM.BA was more challenging than my partner and I imagined, especially when it was the only the two of us operating the business. We had a lot of sleepless nights because of the requirements, but in the end, it was worth it. Our fears being a failure proved to be unfounded,” she says.

To know more about the JGSoM.BA program, visit http://www.admu.edu.ph/ls/jgsom/somba/somba or https://www.facebook.com/JGSoM.BA.