This school can help turn your biz idea into a startup 2
Joanne Sison is the CEO and Founder of Eduk.ai, an ed-tech startup whose flagship product is the K-12 Math Platform Mathayog.
Culture

Got a business idea? This school is looking to help turn ideas into a startup for free

After qualifying for Miriam College’s business incubation program, this Math teacher’s learning platform is getting the necessary boost from experts
Dahl Bennett | Aug 22 2023

Technopreneur Joanne Sison is excited about the future of Mathayog, a learning platform that provides personalized K-12 Math lessons. It even made it as one of 20 finalists in the prestigious MIT LEAP 2023 Challenge.

Organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Solve and the Jacobs Foundation, the MIT LEAP Challenge is a highly competitive initiative that identifies and recognizes groundbreaking and scalable projects in education technology. MIT Solve brings together tech-based social entrepreneurs around the world through open challenges and uses MIT’s innovation ecosystem to support and fund them, while Jacobs Foundation supports learning systems that help children, ages 2-12, reach their full learning potential.

A math teacher for more than 20 years, Sison pushed for the development of Mathayog upon learning of the country’s poor ranking in the 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) where the Philippines placed second to last in math out of 79 countries. The idea was crystal clear to her: she wanted to create a range of educational platforms that catered to K-12 students powered by the wonders of Artificial Intelligence.

Joanne Sison
Techpreneur Joanne Sison's startup was first incubated at the Miriam College-Technical Business Incubator (MC-TBI) which provided her early-stage support and access to mentors, networks, and funding opportunities.  

From idea to viable product

“Starting from that initial spark of an idea, I had to find the right partners who shared my passion and values,” she shares. “Then, there was the Technology Business incubation phase, which was a crucial step in shaping Mathayog where we needed to come up with a minimum viable product to test the waters and get the ball rolling.”

She applied with Miriam College’s MC-Technical Business Incubator (MC-TBI) and qualified for its six-month “The Nursery” incubation program. The program provided her early-stage support including mentoring, networking, business development and legalization, as well as funding opportunities. “Being a graduate of MC-TBI nursery incubation program really gave us a boost in terms of credibility and reputation in the business world,” Joanne says, adding that through this network she managed to get a grant from DOST- Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development  (DOST-PCIEERD) which propelled the development of Mathayog forward.

Mathayog is now a developed K-12 math platform with personalized instruction and feedback that students can use after school to improve their word problem-solving skills on their own. It utilizes advanced technology with proven teaching methodologies to make mathematics engaging, interactive, and accessible to learners of all levels. Mathayog is also the flagship product of Eduk.ai, an ed-tech startup corporation which Joanne put up later on to introduce a range of AI-powered educational platforms covering reading, entrance exam reviews, professional exams, and even continuing professional development.

Peppy Mathayog
Mathayog, a Filipino word which means ‘lofty’, ‘noble’, or ‘great’, is an Artificial Intelligence powered platform that focuses on improving students' skills in K-12 Mathematics. 

In developing Mathayog, Joanne said she had to face different challenges, among them translating ideas from a math teacher's perspective to a technical point of view. “Teaching and tech have different languages and perspectives, so bridging that gap and effectively communicating with AI specialists and tech developers is a journey in itself,” she says.

Mathayog has come a long way since the time it was first incubated in MC-TBI in 2021. Under the MIT LEAP Challenge, it will get the opportunity to accelerate and strengthen the platform in a 12-week project sprint that will start this October. Joanne will get the help of a dedicated team called LEAP fellows, comprised of innovative thinkers, social entrepreneurs, and expert researchers who will provide tailor-made research recommendations.

 

Free incubation for women-led startups

If you have a startup idea, MC-TBI is currently looking for the next Mathayog and is accepting applications from idea- to early-stage women-led startups for “The Nursery” to develop solutions in the areas of educational technology, food, and well-being. Successful applicants will be part of the Cohort 5 incubation program that will commence in September. The deadline for application is on Friday, August 25, 2023. Applicants may connect with MC-TBI through their FB page@miriamcollegetbi or email mcibanez@mc.edu.ph.