The Department of Science and Technology 7 is calling on businesses to avail themselves of the P45 million fund of the agency for the upgrading of their machinery and equipment, in line with its vision of making small local enterprises competitive.

DOST 7 Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations Jesus F. Zamora Jr. said in an interview that funds are part of the agency’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or Set Up allocation for 2015.

Last year, the same amount was allocated to DOST 7 under the program, which benefitted 40 enterprises in Central Visayas. The entire amount was fully used last year, according to Zamora.

“This year, we hope to have 50 enterprises (to benefit from the funding),” the official said.

Loan Amounts

Under Set Up, enterprises can avail themselves of funds from P50,000 to P7 million or even higher, based on the technology requirement of the company and DOST’s assessment.

Zamora said borrowers will only have to return the amount borrowed to DOST within five years, at no interest.

“We feel that for companies to be competitive they need to upgrade, instead of starting another one,” Zamora said.

Priority sectors in Central Visayas under Set Up include food processing, furniture, gifts, toys, houseware, fashion aquaculture and horticulture.

Aside from financial assistance, Set Up offers consultancy service for productivity, food safety, and energy management. There are also trainings on packaging and labeling, and testing and analysis.

To avail themselves of the funding, Zamora said companies will have to submit initial requirements like proposal, business permit and financial statement. Companies have to be operating for at least three years.

The official said borrowers can get the funding in a month or two, if they submit complete requirements.

Helped Companies

Set up has been existent since early 2000, according to Zamora, but it was only in 2006 when the program was given a substantial budget at P3 million.

“They’ve seen that Set Up has helped companies to become competitive, that’s probably why the funding has been raised to this much now and they’ve seen that borrowers really pay back,” Zamora said.

Repayment rate for Set Up’s technology acquisition is pegged at 85 to 90 percent.