THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) continues to push for smarter micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through its Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (Setup).
“We make our MSMEs smarter by creating platforms for innovation and assisting them the direct innovation process; from ideas to market,” Dr. Carol Yorobe, DOST undersecretary for regional operations, said in a statement.
Technology innovations that are available for MSMEs include compliance to existing standards such as the current good manufacturing practices (cGMP), hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), food safety, adoption of cost-effective and environmentally safe technologies, and continuous research and development on product and process, among others.
Yorobe said that this will result in increased productivity and access to bigger markets by MSMEs, improved product quality and marketability, and increased capability to serve a wider market.
Furthermore, she said that, “Health products/services and pharmaceuticals and electronics/information and communication technology [ICT] were added to the original six priority sectors [food processing; furniture; gifts, decors and handicrafts; metals and engineering; agriculture and horticulture; aquatic and marine]to the program.”
For instance, Yorobe said that the Montano Food Corp. started in 1975 as a small business. After the Setup program, the company now has 75 employees, is HACCP and Halal certified, has penetrated the export market, and now a multimillion enterprise with annual gross sales of over P10 million.
Yorobe stressed that the food-processing sector remains to be the top user of the program but urged other sectors to grab the opportunity.
“Since 99.6 percent of total registered business in the country are MSMEs, they remain imperative in countryside development and achieving inclusive growth as they provide economic activities in the countryside, employ 61 percent of total labor force and contributed to about 36 percent to gross value added,” she said.
Also, “MSMEs are test beds for innovative products and services and breeding ground of large and successful companies.” Thus making MSMEs smarter can create smarter cities and smarter countrysides, Yorobe stressed.