I was wrong. There is zero percent interest. | Inquirer Business
Money Matters

I was wrong. There is zero percent interest.

/ 02:01 AM September 06, 2023

Question: I would like to expand my business. I am sure that with the right technology, my product would be a hit in the market. But I need funding to adopt that technology. Plus, I am not sure if there are better technologies out there. Can you help?

Answer: You almost came to the right place. I can point you in the right direction.

Have you heard of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)? There is more to the DOST than weather forecasting through its science and technology institute, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.


Based on the presentation to me by the DOST-National Capital Region, their vision is to be a widely recognized enabler of science, technology and innovation for sustainable development. And their mission is to provide science, technology and innovation-based solutions anchored on ethical public service, contributing to a better quality of life in the region.


To this end, the DOST has created its Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or SETUP 4.0. The framework of SETUP 4.0 is comprised of: a) adding value to local products and processes through science and technology interventions; b) enhancing the competitiveness of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through better products and processes; c) contributing to the creation of a robust local economy powered by competitive MSMEs; and d) creating employment and generating revenues that help alleviate poverty and social unrest.

As an aside, an MSME is defined as any business activity or enterprise, whether single proprietorship, cooperative, partnership or corporation, engaged in the following: a) industry; b) agribusiness; c) trade; and d) services. The total asset values for each MSME category, after excluding the land used for the business, are: a) micro — not more than P3 million; b) small — P3,000,001 to P15 million; c) medium — P15,000,001 to P100 million.

The DOST is truly one of the unsung heroes of government. The DOST aims to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of MSMEs through technological innovations. Their current priority areas are food processing, the manufacture of furniture/gifts/decors/handicrafts, agriculture/marine/aquaculture/livestock, metals and engineering, and others such as information and communications technology, and health and wellness. On the practical side, the DOST’s science and technology interventions under SETUP 4.0 consist of: a) technology transfer, acquisition and equipment upgrading; b) technology advisory and consultancy services; c) packaging and labeling assistance; d) testing and calibration services; and e) technology trainings. What I particularly like is that they have the following:

OneExpert (oneexpert.gov.ph) — an interactive web-based nationwide pool of 932 science and technology experts as of 2022 who are intended to provide technical advice and consultancy services to Filipinos anywhere they are in the Philippines. OneExpert currently has 5,262 registered clients in its portal.

OneLab (web.onelab.ph) – “A network of laboratories aimed at ensuring availability and broadening public access to testing and calibration services at a single touchpoint through an IT-based platform… Currently, OneLab has 16 DOST Regional Standard and Testing Laboratories, 6 DOST Research and Development Institute laboratories, 4 government agencies and 19 private local laboratories and 8 international laboratories as members.”OneStore (onestore.ph) – This is the online selling platform that the DOST provides for MSMEs that it has assisted.

Now, how can one qualify for the DOST’s SETUP 4.0? The applicant must be an MSME existing for at least three years, 100-percent Filipino-owned and is willing to apply innovations for productivity improvement. Also, the applicant must not have previous accountabilities with the DOST regional offices and other attached agencies.


Where does zero percent interest on funding come in? Under the technology transfer, acquisition and equipment upgrading intervention, applicants may apply for fund support for technology acquisition for up to P2 million worth of equipment. That funding will be payable monthly over three years without interest.

If you still have questions, learn more from the DOST’s website. Better yet, why not send them an email? They will be more than willing to set up an online presentation of their services for you and will even accompany you to their various science and technology facilities. They did so for me.

Onwards and upwards with science and technology. INQ

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Send questions via “Ask a Friend, Ask Efren” free service at www.personalfinance.ph, SMS, Viber, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook. Efren Ll. Cruz is a Registered Financial Planner and Director of RFP® Philippines, seasoned investment adviser, bestselling author of personal finance books in the Philippines and a YAMAN Coach™. To consult with a YAMAN Coach™, email [email protected]. To learn more about personal financial planning, attend the 104th RFP Program this Oct. 28, 2023. To inquire, e-mail [email protected] or text at 09176248110) Copyright 2023 Efren Ll. Cruz, RFP®. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written consent of the author.

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