CLOSE to 400 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Cordillera region have benefitted from the business upgrading program of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) or the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (Setup).
DOST regional director Nancy Bantog said the number of Setup enterprises in the Cordillera increases by around eight enterprises per province yearly, which aims to improve an enterprise's existing products, services, operations, and enhance productivity and competitiveness.
“They can be assisted to help boost their productivity and competitiveness through Science and Technology Innovation (STI). Here in the Cordillera, 50 percent of the firms that availed of the Setup program is in the food industry, followed by metals and engineering firms,” Bantog said.
Some P39 million have been allotted by the DOST for the implementation of the program which includes capability training and loan for those wanting to upgrade or purchase technologies.
Before, the furniture industry ranked second, but with the selective harvesting of natural forests products, fewer Cordillerans are engaging in the said industry, she said.
“Setup as a nationwide strategy encouraged MSMEs to adopt technological innovations and develop new products and establish or sustain market niches,” Bantog explained.
Among the assistance provided under Setup are infusion of appropriate technologies to improve products, services and/or operations; human resource training, technical assistance, and productivity consultancy services; design and execution of functional packages and labels; assistance for compliance to regulatory and market standards, including testing services; and provision of financial assistance to facilitate acquisition of appropriate technologies.
"When we do our monitoring and assessment, there is actually an increase when it comes to the volume of their sales, profit, and a reduction of production cost,” Bantog added.
Priority sectors under Setup are food processing, furniture making, gifts and decors, handicrafts; agriculture, marine, aquaculture; metals and engineering, information and communications technology (ICT); and health and wellness products.