Science for entrepreneurs
For decades, Demetrio Perez and his wife collected bottles, newspapers and iron for their junk shop in Davao del Sur. At the start, they barely made P300 to 500 a day, but finally they were able to rent a space for trading with other scrap collectors, and their daily earnings increased to P2,000 to 3,000.
Perez finished Grade 6, enough for him to dream big. The couple put their kids through school, and bought a secondhand machine to produce farm equipment such as corn and rice mill. Perez shut his junk shop and established his own business, DP Fabrication and Machineries.
In 2012, Perez heard about the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (Setup), which helps businesses use technology to improve operations and products. Two years later, he got a P750,000 funding from Setup, and in 2017, a P3-million loan from DOST.
“I bought this secondhand machine that can manufacture machines for farming and coffee production,” Perez tells DOST’s S & T Post. “Unfortunately, I could only manage to produce few machines with that. After [the] Setup assistance, we bought new machines and were able to fabricate more machines for farming in a short time and with better quality.”
Business grew and Perez accepted online orders and hired workers to increase production. In 2017, he was the national winner in DOST’s Best Adoptor Competition. On his birthday, he donated 500 bags of school supplies to needy kids, plus a corn sheller to help their parents.
July is National Science and Technology Month. Science continues to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), many of which are family businesses.
Since 2002, Setup has given P3.336 billion to 4,363 MSMEs, creating 167,939 jobs and accounting for P35.354 billion in sales from 2002 to 2016.
“Much has been said about the crucial role that MSMEs play in our economy,“ says DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, whose mantra is “Science for the People.” He says MSMEs make up 97 percent of firms in Asean.
Setup helps MSMEs infuse technologies to improve services, train human resources, improve design and packaging, attain product standards (equipment calibration, environmental best practices), avail of cutting-edge equipment developed by DOST’s various facilities (such as the Regional Food Innovation Centers).
Businesses avail of funding at zero interest rates payable in three years. Setup currently prioritizes MSMEs in food processing, furniture, gifts, housewares and decors, marine and aquatic resources, horticulture and agriculture, metals and engineering, health products, pharmaceuticals and services, ICT and electronics.
Rosario Amoroto, owner of Island’s Best Food in Leyte, thanked Setup for helping them weather Supertyphoon “Yolanda” in 2013, when their house, their plant, their equipment were destroyed.
Amoroto and her team painstakingly rebuilt their business. Now, Island’s Best Food processes calamansi juice, concentrates and jelly for sale in Visayas and Metro Manila.
Troy Bumagat, owner of Trophy Farm Supplies and 2016 winner, approached Setup two years prior to improve farm operations in Kananga, Leyte.
Bumagat acquired an automated tunnel ventilation system to increase productivity of the poultry farm, invented the Ultra Violet Water Filtration System to decrease mortality rate of birds from 5 percent to only 1-2 percent, and made inoculants for composting of wastes to eliminate foul odor.
Now the company is partnering with DOST to commercialize mushroom production.
(To be continued)
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