S&T important for country’s inclusive growth; makes SMEs competitive —DOST PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 16 September 2014 13:16

By JADE D. MIGUEL

 

Accounting for 95 percent of all businesses in the country, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are becoming more and more competitive with bigger local and foreign businesses with the help of science and technology (S&T), thus enabling them to contribute to the inclusive growth of the country, according to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

“Science and technology is important because this is one way to make our SMEs competitive. First, it helps them survive, and second, it makes their businesses bigger and more competitive,” DOST Assistant Secretary Raymund Liboro told the Philippines News Agency in an interview.

One of the flagship programs of DOST offering services and assistance to SMEs is the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).

The program aims to provide technical assistance to small firms through technology transfer and technological interventions to improve the quality of their products, develop their human resources, minimize their cost, aid them in waste management and other operational activities of SMEs.

The DOST has established innovation centers in the regions to bring their services closely to SMEs.

Liboro said that such establishment helps businesses upgrade their facilities and further widen the scope of the SMEs being reached by the program.

One of the recent accomplishments of the DOST is the inauguration of a communications center in Cagayan State University wherein SMEs could develop their products, Liboro shared.

Another DOST program for SMEs is the Makibayan, short for “Makinarya at Teknolohiya para sa Bayan.”

This program aims to spur growth in the metalworks and other related industries by research development and improvement of needed machineries. It is a tripartite program among DOST, the metalworks and other allied industries, and the Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT), an organization of topnotch engineering universities in the country.

Now gearing towards the production of better local products, the DOST has been urging the industries through this program to make localized versions of foreign equipment and machineries which provide the same quality yet afford a cheaper cost for local businesses.

The program has also initiated the establishment of packaging and design centers in various regions of the country.

One-stop laboratories have also been built and further enhanced by the DOST to strengthen the testing and analytical capabilities of the DOST Regional through its STARLABS project.

Liboro said that SMEs specializing in food products may go to their regional STARLABS establishment to test the quality of their products.

Another initiative being conducted by the DOST is rural impact sourcing from which the agency encourages the establishment of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) centers outside Metro Manila. It aims to inform SMEs on how they could benefit from ICT and eventually be a part of the ICT industry.

“We’re really trying to help our SMEs by bringing DOST services close to them. Our regional offices are becoming more equipped to aid our SMEs,” Liboro said.