DOST spends P205M to support 433 MSMEs

A booth at the Regional Science and Technology Week in CAR, Tabuk City Astrodome, Kalinga. (Photo courtesy of Cecil GD)

THE Department of Science and Technology- Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII) spent more than P205 million as of Sept. 22, 2017 to help 433 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Cordillera improve their products and comply with local and international market standards.

The amount reflects the funding support of the DOST to the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) approved projects, said DOST-STII Director Richard Burgos at the sidelines of the Regional Science and Technology week in Tabuk City, Kalinga.

SETUP is the DOST’s support to the national government’s aid to the MSME sector to further strengthen the focus on developing the industries recognized to have a critical role in attaining and sustaining inclusive growth.

Among the uses of the fund was to encourage MSMEs to adopt technological innovations to improve their products, services, operations, productivity and competitiveness, as well as develop new products and establish or sustain market niches

DOST-Cordillera Regional Director Victor Mariano said the DOST assists the MSMEs not just on mechanization using technologies they developed but a holistic support system like complying with the mandatory labeling including the marketing.

This would allow the local products to be sold nationally and globally competitive both in price and quality, said Mariano.

Through the DOST, an entrepreneur is able to meet internationally accepted standards in terms of quality and marketability aside from aiding to start a business for budding entrepreneurs.

DOST-STII aids producers through its ISO-accredited testing laboratories which would enable them to acquire a permit from the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD) that issues licenses to operate.

“Without the permit, food processors will not be allowed to export and will have a difficulty in selling their product nationally. Food selling is sensitive and there are many requirements, and we want them to be compliant on those aspects. DOST assists producers in their compliances aside from a higher chance of exporting,” Mariano said.

With DOST maintaining an internationally accredited testing laboratory, it assures a high standard of the products it tests.

The agency assisted export producers are also aided in terms of making it sure that supplies are of high quality, able to meet the quantity as well as the timeliness of the delivery of goods.

It has the “Onestore”, an online store which has enrolled and uploaded about 200 high quality products for the local and international market.

Based on the recent report of the Cordillera Regional Development Council, MSMEs contribute a large chunk in the region’s gross domestic product, especially with many of them opening in 2016 after the national government announced various support including financial in terms of loans and grants. Liza Agoot/PNA