DOST to release P7-million upgrade loans to Bukidnon SMEs

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/16 July) – The Department of Science and Technology will release P7 million in loans this year to small and medium enterprises in Bukidnon to upgrade their systems and equipment, said Ritchie Mae L. Guno, DOST deputy provincial head.
Guno said the Small Enterprises Technology Upgrade Program (SET-UP), is one of DOST’s flagship projects to empower MSMEs (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises) in the country.
At present about 20 SMEs in the province have outstanding loans of about P10 million, she added.


She said the program involves a loan for equipment or system upgrade with zero interest.

Guno told the Bukidnon SME Caravan last week that DOST has implemented the project to assist and encourage MSMEs to adopt new technologies, and provide technical assistance and training for the development of human resources.

She said they also wanted to help the small enterprises enhance the quality of their products, improve manpower, reduce cost and effectively manage waste.
She cited that Valencia City-based Angel’s Log Cakes and Pastries is among the more successful SME recipients in Bukidnon. It has now branched out in Maramag town and in the cities of Malaybalay, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro.

She said the firm availed of equipment upgrade, assistance in process improvement and total quality management, training on food safety and good manufacturing practices, among others.
Guno said that from 2011 to 2016, SET-UP shall focus on food processing, furniture, gifts, decors and handicrafts, aquatic and marine, horticulture (cut flowers, fruits, high value crops) and agriculture, metals and engineering, information and communication technology or electronics, and health products and services and pharmaceuticals.

She said the recipients have “very efficient payments” in general but noted that some are “difficult clients,” adding that of the 20 SMEs who have outstanding loans, two do not pay on time.

She said DOST released last year about P5 million in loans for equipment and systems improvement.

Access to financing is one of four core problems of SMEs in Bukidnon that’s why they continue to organize the local SME caravan, Manny James Cudal II, chair of the Bukidnon Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development Council said.

He said they also needed support in better business environment, access to markets, and productivity enhancement. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)