Tuesday, June 20, 2023

UST Inaugurates Tony Tan Caktiong Innovation Center at its Santa Rosa Campus

Tan Caktiong Innovation Center

MANILA, Philippines. – The University of Santo Tomas (UST) held the solemn blessing and formal inauguration of the UST-Tony Tan Caktiong Innovation Center (UST-TTCIC) at its 40-hectare campus in Santa Rosa City, Laguna. The rites coincided with UST’s 412th foundation anniversary on April 28, 2023.

The innovation center is named after its donor Dr. Tony Tan Caktiong, Chairman and Founder of Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC). Tan Caktiong graduated from the UST in 1975 with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering. He also received a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, from UST in 2018.

In his message, Tan Caktiong expressed his joy over the completion and inauguration of the innovation center and its significance to the UST community, as well as to the future of the Philippines.

“This state-of-the-art innovation center in the midst of the UST community is intended to champion innovation and entrepreneurship with its end in mind to benefit not only the University, but also the country and society as a whole,” Tan Caktiong said. “This Center can serve as a catalyst for promoting innovation that foster connection, empathy, and compassion, and I am very excited to see the impact it can have on many people’s lives and well-being.” 

Innovation for a better future 

Tan Caktiong has always been passionate about innovation and continuous learning, evident in how he steered JFC from a single-brand company into one of the world’s largest restaurant companies with 16 brands operating over 6,500 stores across 34 countries.

“I am very thrilled of how this Center perfectly aligns with my ardent belief in the incessant thirst for continuous learning and dreaming big, all the more so as the pace of change in the world is increasingly becoming more rapid,” he said. “Being unable to adapt can put in question one’s relevance and render one’s knowledge, skills, and even entire businesses obsolete.”

Tan Caktiong added: “Innovation is not only an engine for economic growth, but also a tool for social transformation. As we build back better from the pandemic, this Center is in a remarkable position to harness the power of science and entrepreneurship in developing products and processes that can promote food security and improve livelihoods, especially in the rural areas.” 

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Partnership for nation-building

UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., Ph.D., in his message, shared that “The UST-TTCIC is designed to foster creativity and collaboration. It will be a place for researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs to exchange ideas, share knowledge and work together towards a common goal–creating a better future.”

“The various laboratories, workshops, and workspaces in this building have been carefully planned to support a wide range of research and innovation activities, whether you’re a scientist working on a breakthrough discovery, an engineer developing a new technology, or an entrepreneur launching a startup, this Center will provide you with resources and support our stakeholders need to succeed,” Rev. Fr. Ang added.

UST held the groundbreaking ceremony of the UST-TTCIC in December 2020. In September 2022, UST laid down its 15-year road map for the Center. On the same occasion, the Assistant to the Rector for UST Santa Rosa Prof. Philipina Marcelo, Ph.D., presented the three phases of UST Santa Rosa’s long-term operational and sustainability plan. She mentioned that UST Santa Rosa will target health and well-being, food security and safety, environmental sustainability, energy, information and communications, and material sciences as its interdisciplinary research areas.

“The Innovation Center is a tangible manifestation of our shared commitment, common values, and vision. We get an opportunity to nurture the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and entrepreneurs, and in so doing, we will continue to shape the future of our country,” Tan Caktiong said of the partnership with UST.

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About Jollibee Group

Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC, also known as Jollibee Group) is one of the fastest-growing restaurant companies in the world. Its mission is to serve great-tasting food and bring the joy of eating to everyone through its 16 brands with over 6,500 stores across 34 countries including the Philippines, United States, Canada, the People's Republic of China, United Kingdom, Vietnam, United Arab Emirates, and Australia. 

The Jollibee Group has eight wholly owned brands (Jollibee, Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, Yonghe King, Hong Zhuang Yuan, Smashburger); four franchised brands (Burger King, Panda Express, and Yoshinoya in the Philippines, and Tim Ho Wan in certain territories in China); 80% ownership of The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf; 60% ownership in the SuperFoods Group that owns Highlands Coffee; and 51% ownership of Milksha, a popular Taiwanese bubble tea brand. 

The Jollibee Group, through its subsidiary Jollibee Worldwide Pte. Ltd. (JWPL) owns 90% participating interest in Titan Dining LP, a private equity fund that owns the Tim Ho Wan brand. The Jollibee Group has a joint venture with the THW Group to open and operate THW restaurants in Mainland China. It also has a business venture with award-winning Chef Rick Bayless for Tortazo, a Mexican fast-casual restaurant business in the United States.

The Jollibee Group has launched its global sustainability agenda dubbed Joy for Tomorrow, which aims to strengthen the company’s commitment to sustainable business practices. The agenda centers on the key pillars of Food, People, and Planet, and consists of 10 focus areas namely: food safety, food quality, nutrition & transparency, employee welfare, farmers livelihood, community support, good governance, packaging & recycling, waste reduction, and energy & water efficiency. Each focus area sets goals and initiatives that contribute and align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

The Jollibee Group was named the Philippines' most admired company by the Asian Wall Street Journal for ten years. It was also honored as one of Asia's Fab 50 Companies and among the World's Best Employers and World’s Top Female-Friendly Companies by Forbes. The company is also a two-time recipient of Gallup’s Exceptional Workplace Award, making it the only Philippine-based company to receive the distinction. 

To learn more about Jollibee Group, visit www.jollibeegroup.com

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