The Department of Science and Technology- Region 1 (DOST-1), through its Provincial Science and Technology Center in La Union (PSTC-LU), has invested P9.6M in CY 2017 to fourteen (14) micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) for enterprise upgrading under theSmall Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP.
Of the total DOST investments, half of it or P4.8M was allocated to eight (8) furniture shops, 21% or P2M to one (1) rice miller, 15% or P1.5M to three (3) food processing firms and 14% or P1.3M to two (2) GDH (Gifts, Decors and Handicrafts) firms. The fund assistance was used to improve their operations and boost their productivity and competitiveness through acquisition of appropriate production equipment and facilities such as 3-in-1 machine (thickness planer, jointer, circular saw), mortiser, automated beam saw machine, rice color sorter, automatic digital gas oven, convection oven, stainless steel tables, cooling racks, bread slicing machine, cake mixer and calamansi juice extractor.
Technical assistance in securing License-to-Operate (LTO) from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), and consultancy services such as food safety assessment, energy audit, cleaner production assessment, occupational safety and proper plant layout were provided to these firmsto improve process flow and operations, minimize costs and wastages, and produce better quality product.
On the other hand, continuing technical consultancies and monitoring activities wereconducted to 23 other assisted MSMEsin La Union that were provided with Innovation System Support for CY 2015 and CY 2016, with a total project cost of more than P10M. These firms were able to generatea gross income of P244M and directly employed eighty (80) individuals in CY 2017.
DOST SETUP was launched in 2002 as a nationwide strategy to encourage and assist MSMEs to adopt technological innovations. The program enables firms to address their technical problems through technology transfer and technological interventions to improve productivity. The programadvances the cost of technology for the acquisition/upgrading of production equipment/facilitiesto be refunded over a minimum period of three (3) years without interest/collateral. Likewise, it includes the provision of trainings, technical assistance and consultancy services, packaging and labeling, and product testing and analyses,
The program focuses assistance to the following priority sectors: 1) Food Processing, 2) Furniture, 3) Gifts, Decors and Handicrafts, 4) Agriculture/Marine/Aquaculture/Forestry/Livestock, 5) Metals and Engineering, 6) Information and Communication Technology, 7) Health and Wellness Products, and 8) Halal products and services.
For firm/enterprise interested to avail the DOST-SETUP assistance, they may contact or visit the nearest DOST Office in their area. (Racquel M. Espiritu)