A once-in-a-generation genius once said that “… the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
His name was Steve Jobs.
He didn’t need a college degree to change the world. Nor was he crazy. But he was different, or rather, he thought differently. Before his name became synonymous with one of the most recognizable brands the world has ever known, he spent many of his hours cold-calling businessmen and corporations to help put up capital for his baby, the personal computer, if not developing it.
What could have happened to Steve Jobs (and to the world) had he gotten a college degree is anyone’s guess. For what it’s worth, we could all still be using our old Nokia phones running on Symbian OS. It makes you wonder what could have happened to Steve Jobs had there been an organization that was able to see his potential instantly and help him take off faster than he did.
When Callbox CEO Rom Agustin decided to forge a partnership with the University of Southern California-Viterbi School of Engineering and the Maseeh Entrepreneurship Prize Competition (MEPC), he was not just trying to fulfill a corporate social responsibility. He was paying it forward.
“This endeavor means so much to me because I see in it many parallels in my life. Before I tried my luck at ISP, consulting, and the BPO industry and succeeded, I started out as an Oil and Gas systems engineer where I learned to be systematic, to trust the process. But it’s really tough for start-ups to build everything from scratch without any support,” said Agustin.
“That’s why when an opportunity came up for me and Callbox to be partners with the USC and MEPC and support all the gifted pool of innovators and entrepreneurs, I signed up in a heartbeat.”
The MEPC is an annual competition that aims to inspire, empower, and support innovators to turn their ideas into feasible business models — real products, companies, and solutions. It was founded by Fariborz Maseeh with a $1-million endowment and run by the University of Southern California – Viterbi School of Engineering. This year, 15 finalists will try to address challenges in topics spanning energy, health, safety, education, and our environment. As one of the major partners, Callbox, through Rom Agustin, pledged $10,000 in marketing services to the winner of the competition.
Rom is also excited to serve as one of the judges of the competition, which will have a winner by April 2017.
He said that “speaking to all the participants and sharing to them all my personal experiences as a serial entrepreneur and innovator and hopefully, inspiring them was definitely an unforgettable experience” but “they need something more tangible than inspiration.”
That comes from someone who made up for not getting a lot of good breaks along the way by believing he could accomplish anything he put his mind into. And he did.
From a single-employee company 12 years ago, Callbox now employs more than 800 people in its five offices in North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia, and has catered to hundreds of Global 2000 companies from over 20 countries in the world. Rom wasn’t only the architect of company; he was pretty much the carpenter, foreman, and engineer at the same time. When pressed about his success, he said “It’s equal parts smarts and relentlessness. One cannot work without the other.” Fortunately, that’s the same potential and mentality he sees from the participants at MEPC.
“I am sure our sponsorship at MEPC will go a long way. I am aware some of the previous winners have gone on to establish noteworthy companies. It’s an honor to be part of this institution and to have an impact in other people’s success,” Rom Agustin said.