FUNDS worth P109 million were provided to micro, small, and medium enterprises in Central Visayas to stay competitive through technology upgrade and innovations.

Of the figure, Cebu-based MSMEs used almost half of the amount.

Department of Science and Technology Cebu Director Tristan Abando said Cebu used up P44 million, Bohol P29 million, Negros Oriental, P22 billion, and Siquijor P14 million.

The amount is under DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (Setup). The amount reported, according to Abando, covers a 13-year period since the program was offered way back in 2002.

“Setup assists MSMEs in the adoption of technology innovations to improve their operations and expand their business reach. In particular, Setup provides its beneficiaries with financial assistance to hasten the growth of small enterprises and propel the country’s economic development,” explained DOST Assistant Secretary Raymond Liboro.

Recent figures show the program has benefitted 184 beneficiaries in Central Visayas, with 50 of them coming from Bohol, 56 from Cebu, 34 from Negros Oriental, and 44 from Siquijor.

According to DOST Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations Jesus F. Zamora Jr., the borrowers will only have to repay the amount from DOST within five years with no bearing interest.

Priority sectors of the project include metals and engineering, gifts, housewares and decors, food processing, furniture, electronics, information and communications technology, pharmaceutical, aquaculture, and horticulture.

Abando said DOST 7 has prepared P45 million for this year. Of this, he said 60 percent of the funds have already been used.

He urged MSMEs to avail of the DOST funds to support business growth.