When teachers turn into entrepreneurs
Set up originally in a university campus, Blue Chip Designs now operates independently.
By: Lalah M. Varias | Nov 06, 2011 09:00 am
With mostly talent and just a little money, professors can become entrepreneurs, too.
Four Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) professors—Dr. Rosula Reyes, Noel Patron, Carlos Oppus, and Jose Claro Monje who all teach at the university’s electronics and computer engineering department—have put up a company that provides integrated hardware and software solutions to both in-campus and outside clients. The company, Blue Chip Designs Inc., started as a research and development venture of the department in the design of computer hardware, software, and firmware.
“We only had our talent, and we were lucky that we were able to start the company with only a little money,“ says Dr. Reyes, the company’s chief operating officer.
The group’s first major project in 2002 involved the development of a controller for a thermal printer so it can produce erasable printouts as well as firmware for its microprocessor and Windows printer driver. Since then, a company has been asking them to develop controllers for different specifications and applications.
This was followed in 2004 by their creation of software for a portable ECG (electrocardiogram) machine. Reyes explains the innovation: “An American company developed the hardware, but their machine couldn’t transfer data into a PC. The hardware only recorded the ECG signal, but it did not give any reading. Our software enabled it to do that.”
In 2003, seeing the growing demand for its R&D services, the group incorporated Blue Chip Designs, but all four ran the company at the Ateneo department. This was because by being housed at the department, the company’s overhead expenses were very minimal, and they were also receiving compensation from the university as research consultants. “Of the amount remitted to us as consultants, 30 percent was going to ADMU,” Reyes explains. “That percentage was actually equivalent to renting the space in the department.”
The incorporation of Blue Chip Designs required them to open a bank account with P6,250, which was 1/16 of the company’s total authorized capitalization of P100,000.
Two years later, in 2005, the company moved out of the Ateneo campus and established an office along Loyola Heights in Quezon City independent from the university. This allowed the four, who still teach at the Ateneo, to properly entertain their increasing number of clients who were not from the university. “You just cannot allow people to come in and out of the department if they are not connected with the university,” says Reyes.
This time, the group increased the authorized capitalization of Blue Chip Designs to P1 million, thus enabling the company to buy computers and pay for its office rentals one year in advance.
Currently, the company continues to serve clients they had acquired back when they were still with the university. Reyes says that the secret to maintaining clients is keeping your promises. “If you can deliver, clients would stick with you,” she adds.
A major client of Blue Chip gives them several projects at a time; in fact, it has appointed the company as its research and development arm, handling all software and firmware needs for color printers, point card printers, and finger and print scanners.
Blue Chip currently has 11 personnel, including the four owners. Most of its projects are for foreign companies but it has put up another company, Bughaw Electronic Solution & Technologies Inc., to cater to the needs of local companies.
BLUE CHIP DESIGNS INC.
Unit 302 Xanland Place Condominium
323 Katipunan Avenue,
Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Telephone: (02) 425-1133
E-mail: feedback@ bcdph.com