The Animo Business Innovation Zone (BIZ) was established in July 2013 as an avenue for student entrepreneurs to test out their business ideas in one of the six pods located at the Br. Bloemen Hall. In the past three and a half years, the student enterprises, all of which have been food enterprises so far, have offered something new and different every term.
Since then, Animo BIZ Programs Team Co-Head Marc Gomendoza says that the Campus Services Innovation Team (CSIT) has expanded the process for securing a spot in the program. He explains that it used to be a one-day event, until it turned to a three-day expo, then a week-long expo, such as the one recently held for second term.
Furthermore, Gomendoza shares that the student enterprises can now have a better gauge of their products’ feasibility, because the student body also gets to decide the products they prefer best through the week-long expo. Before, the selected panel of judges involved only student representatives and administrators.
Creation of Animo BIZ
Animo BIZ was considered as the first student entrepreneurship area in the University. It was spearheaded in 2013 by the University Student Government, Office of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Services, De La Salle Alumni Association, and Ramon V. Del Rosario College of Business. At that time, DLSU was deciding on innovative means to utilize campus space, and making Animo BIZ a student-centric area was one of the solutions implemented.
Previously, Animo BIZ was called the Zaide Canteen, which housed several food establishments. Only a handful of those food establishments were retained in Animo BIZ, one of which was the Sandwich Corner. Today, the space in Animo BIZ is being used for student enterprises, art exhibits, and food establishments, as well as the activities of Green Giant FM, the official radio station of DLSU.
On assisting the student enterprises
Although the CSIT is willing to assist the student enterprises even beyond the program, Gomendoza clarifies that they can only assist the student enterprises on their startup phase. He refers to the startup phase as the stage of “wanting to try out and experiment on their ideas.”
“Since the rental fee for Animo BIZ is cheaper as compared to other areas, student entrepreneurs could really use this opportunity in testing out their ideas. At the same time, given the exhausting application process, it somewhat gives the students [an idea on] how the real world works,” he elucidates.
From the submission of required paperwork to the investment they incur, the student enterprises along with their partners have to go through this process to earn a spot. With regard to the documents needed, Gomendoza explains that there are application forms required by the CSIT.
The process for filing the application forms goes as follows: the student entrepreneurs will first need to submit the forms to the CSIT’s office in the Henry Sy Sr. Hall. A panel will then begin trimming down the number of qualified applicants.
Gomendoza claims that there are usually over 40 applicants per term. However, for instance, only 15 of those will be selected through the pre-screening process. The 15 that were chosen will then be required to attend an orientation and workshop. According to the Animo BIZ guidelines, the orientation and workshop is an avenue for further understanding the program, forming collaborations, and gaining management insights.
After the orientation and workshop, the 15 student entrepreneurs will go through a week-long expo to test the potential and feasibility of their products. After the expo, their grades will be collated to determine the top six student enterprises who will eventually earn the right to one of the pods in Br. Bloemen Hall.
Although food businesses have dominated Animo BIZ, Gomendoza clarifies that they are open to all business ideas, as long as it involves a product made by the students themselves. “It’s just that almost all applicants have been applying using food concepts,” he adds. As such, branded products such as bottled water, packaged crackers, or drinks may not be sold. The CSIT emphasizes their goal of encouraging student entrepreneurs to create their own products, rather than just providing a new form of service.
In the future, student enterprises may try selling merchandise they created themselves, considering that this has not been done yet. The challenge, however, is on what particular merchandise should be sold, and on how the students will be encouraged to buy the merchandise. Gomendoza expresses his hope that the student entrepreneurs will consider expanding their products to avenues outside DLSU.