Aboitiz Group funds P500-M new innovation school at AIM

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat and Dhel Nazario

The Aboitiz Group, through its corporate foundation Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., made a historic donation amounting to over half a billion pesos ($10 million) to the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Scientific Research Foundation, Inc. to help address the demand for skills and talent in data science and innovation in the country as well as the region.

(L-R) Dr. Christopher Monterola (Head, Aboitiz School of Innovation Technological and Entrepreneurship), Peter Garrucho, JR., OBE (Chairman of the board of Governors and Trustees AIM), Dr. Jikyeong Kang (President and Dean Asian Institute of Management), Maribeth Marasigan (Aboitiz Foundation, COO), Dr. Erika Fille Legara (Academic Program Director Master of Science in Data Science) pose for a photo opportunity after giving a press conference regarding Aboitiz foundation's P500-M donation to Asian Institute and Management at AIM Building in Makati on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)
(L-R) Dr. Christopher Monterola (Head, Aboitiz School of Innovation Technological and Entrepreneurship), Peter Garrucho, JR., OBE (Chairman of the board of Governors and Trustees AIM), Dr. Jikyeong Kang (President and Dean Asian Institute of Management), Maribeth Marasigan (Aboitiz Foundation, COO), Dr. Erika Fille Legara (Academic Program Director Master of Science in Data Science) pose for a photo opportunity after giving a press conference regarding Aboitiz foundation’s P500-M donation to Asian Institute and Management at AIM Building in Makati on Wednesday, May 8, 2019. (JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Dr. Jikyeong Kang, President and Dean of AIM, said the donation is the single biggest cash gift the school has received so far. The donation agreement was sealed Wednesday at the AIM. It will run for a period of six years.

Dubbed as the Aboitiz 100th Anniversary Commitment in celebration of Aboitiz & Co.’s 100TH anniversary in 2020, the donation is in line with the group’s promise of advancing business and communities.

“This is our way of giving back to the country that has been very good to us for 100 years now. The Group has made a name for itself in its Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, but we truly believe that it is through our businesses that we actually make the greatest impact on improving the quality of life of our fellow Filipinos. The donation is in line with our promise of advancing business and communities,” said Aboitiz Foundation Chairman Erramon I. Aboitiz.

The fund will support degree programs, professorial chairs, student loan programs and site and facilities improvement of the newly-renamed Aboitiz School of Innovation, Technology, and Entrepreneurship (ASITE) at AIM ー a move that the institute believes will address the demands of an emerging knowledge and technology economy in Asia.

“Over the past 50 years, AIM has contributed immensely to sustaining the growth of businesses and societies, not only in the Philippines, but in Asia, by developing professional, entrepreneurial, and socially responsible managers and leaders. Similarly, sustainability is at the core of our growth story anchored on our philosophy that we can do well by doing good, always making the right long-term decisions that balance the interests of people, planet, and profit,” said Aboitiz.

“With the Aboitiz 100th Anniversary Commitment Fund, we hope that this new innovation-focused school will be able to benefit AIM as it leads and blazes new trails, to inspire real-world learning, and to transform principled leaders,” Aboitiz added.

AIM offers the following programs at ASITE: Master in Entrepreneurship (ME), the Master of Science in Innovation and Business (MSIB), and the Master of Science in Data Science (MSDS) degree programs. These programs are expected to generate a new breed of professionals whose competencies in leadership and management are strongly complemented by an entrepreneurial, innovative, and tech-oriented mindset and skills adept at navigating the complexities of Industry 4.0.

“Indeed, the establishment of the new ASITE is a key innovation of the institute, acting as a catalyst that engenders impactful change. It boosts AIM’s commitment to training future-ready leaders who can create, develop, and sustain new engines for growth within the region,” Kang said.

Collaborative environment

ASITE provides a stage for innovators, data scientists, and entrepreneurs to work together and produce actionable insights that foster innovation, create value across industries and society, and generate positive impact especially within the Asian context.

“In the midst of exponentially growing technological progress, the school’s goal is to provide our students with a collaborative environment that enables them to develop their core competencies while interacting and networking with peers who can and would be potential partners,” Peter D. Garrucho, Jr. OBE, Chairman of the AIM Board of Trustees stressed.

Garrucho cited the gift as a significant milestone in Philippine philanthropy given to an educational institution.

“We hope that the work Aboitiz Foundation and AIM do together raises the educational standard in the Philippines and contributes toward building and strengthening the emerging economies within the region,” said Garrucho.

The donation will also sustain the school’s interest-free student loan program, which AIM expects to broaden its target market and give talented and motivated young people who cannot otherwise pay their tuition fees the opportunity to have an AIM education.

The Aboitiz School enrollees totaled 167 students in ME, MSIB, and MSDS in 2019, a big jump from only 75 students in ME and MSIB in 2017. AIM expects the number to exceed 200 next year.

“We are growing the number gradually to ensure that the quality of the teaching and learning experience is maintained,” Dr. Kang said.

 
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