GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/01 July) — The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has already released a total of P7.05 million in financial grants this year for the upgrading and expansion of various business ventures of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Region 12.
Dr. Zenaida Hadji Raof-Laidan, DOST Region 12 director, said the financial assistance is part of the continuing implementation in the region of the agency’s Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).
She said the DOST central office earlier allocated around P40 million for the implementation of the program this year in the entire region.
Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
In a statement, Laidan said four food-based industries in the area recently received P2.4 million worth of grants for the acquisition of various equipment and facilities.
She said Lopez Food Products based in Kabacan, North Cotabato received P700,000 followed by the Kidapawan City-based Kennitz Breads n Parties and Gracelin Fruit Ice Cream with P500,000 each and Teri’s Place in Surallah South Cotabato with P473,365.
In March, DOST-12 released P4.65 million to seven MSMEs based in this city and in Sultan Kudarat province through SETUP.
The recipients in this city were Aunt Ludi Bakeshop and Snack Haus, Greentropics Coffee Enterprise, Pan de Pugon ni Ka Chona, Rosechie Food Products and R & R Organic Ventures.
In Sultan Kudarat, the program’s beneficiaries were RG Candy Factory and Albaran’s Coco Candy.
Laidan said they are continually receiving and processing applications for the program, which is implemented by the agency nationwide.
She said the program mainly aims to encourage and assist MSMEs to adopt technological innovations that could improve their operations and eventually boost their productivity and competitiveness.
The DOST earlier launched SETUP in response to calls for more focused initiatives for the MSME sector.
A project briefer cited that the program enables MSMEs “to address their technical problems through technology transfer and technological interventions, and improve their productivity through better product quality, human resources development, cost minimization and waste management and other operation related activities.”
Laidan said the program’s priority areas are food processing; furniture and home furnishings; gifts, holiday decors and fashion accessories; marine and aquatic resources; horticulture; metals and engineering; information and communication technology; and halal.
She added that it supports grants for the adoption of new technologies; manpower training; access to capital and markets; use of product standards and testing facilities; implementation of appropriate packaging and product labeling; increasing supply of raw materials; enhancing access to information; and, improving transport facilities. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)