DOST extends P106-M enabling aid to MSMEs in W. Visayas

THE Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has released around PHP106 million innovation-enabling assistance
to qualifi ed micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMES) in Western Visayas (Region 6) under its Small Enterprise
Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) since 2020. Senior Science Research Specialist and SETUP Unit Head Mayrose O. Suerte, in
an interview Thursday, said the innovation-enabling fund is open to registered microenterprises in operation for atleast one year and three years for small and medium enterprises.
They must belong in the identifi ed priority sectors of the department to include food, metals and engineering, furniture, and gift decors and handicrafts, among others.
“The innovation-enabling fund is for them to upgrade their production technologies. Majority they use the fi nancial assistance to buy equipment to upgrade their production facility, to improve their product quality,” she said.
Last year, DOST released around PHP49 million to 29 MSME benefi ciaries while as of September this year PHP57 million has been released to 29 out of the 41 target recipients.
Those availed in 2020 dropped to 71 percent when compared with the previous
“This innovation enablingmfund is a fi nancial assistance, it is not a grant. They have to return this to the government in three to fi ve years without interest,” she added.
The DOST is strict in the conduct of monitoring to make sure the proper utilization of funds, Suerte said. Virtual monitoring is being
done this time of pandemic due to the challenge of mobility.
Those who could not liquidate or return the funds could face the risk of facing charges.
Meanwhile, Suerte said interested MSMEs can still apply this year as only 29 were given the enabling fund.
Applicants are advised to coordinate with the provincial offices of the DOST to ask for requirements and the conduct of technology needs assessment.

The provision of the enabling fund is part of the SETUP, is a DOST program that offers a package of assistance comprising consultancy, training, packaging, laboratory analysis, and innovation enabling fund. (PNA)