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2021 National S&T Week salutes local entrepreneurs under the SETUP program    



The annual celebration of the National Science and Technology Week scheduled from 22-28 November 2021 will banner the many achievements of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that embrace science, technology, and innovation to improve their operation and market competitiveness.

In this week-long celebration, the virtual stage will again be shared with the different adopters who have benefitted from the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program being implemented by DOST through the regional offices across the country. In fact, with the many achievements of the program when it was launched in 2002, there are three outstanding enterprises in Region 6 that have their own success stories to tell.

Last year, three MSMEs in Negros Occidental were awarded with financial assistance, namely: S&E Agri-Aqua Ventures Corporation (SEACORP), Suarez Enterprise, and Mardal Corporation; and, currently working on the upgrade of their production and services through the intervention under the SETUP iFund, or the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program Innovation - Enabling Fund.


First on the list is SEACORP, a shrimp farm that started in 2014 and was a successful beneficiary of DOST’s Consultancy for Agricultural Productivity Enhancement (CAPE) Program in 2017. It produces natural, safe, and best quality white shrimps through its eco-friendly practices, one of which is their strategic location where it has less exposure to pollution. Technology intervention with focus on the prevention and management of viral diseases changed the farm’s perspective in maintaining high productivity of shrimps.

The farm owner availed of the SETUP iFund’s technical assistance, aiming to improve production efficiency through increased annual cycles and stocking densities using Pond Liners; one of their expected effects is to increase annual shrimp production by 30%, from 250 tons to 325 tons. The SEACORP shrimp farm was provided with fund amounting to P2,745,974.56, wirth the company’s counterpart of P9,612,000.00.

Photos Provided by: DOST Region 6

Another SETUP iFund beneficiary is the Suarez Enterprise, which is known for their healthy pasalubong of Negrense delicacies, some of which are the following: Herbed Piaya’s in Turmeric, Basil, their premium Calamansi juice, Oregamansi Concentrate, Organic Rice Brew, and herbal teas.

Photos Provided by: DOST Region 6

It was in August 2014 when the company first availed of the technical assistance under DOST SETUP iFund to further improve their production facility, including the purchase of Piaya Grill, Stainless Mixing Tank and Calamansi Juice Extractor, and the Laboratory Food Analysis service; through DOST’s funding of P437,680.00 with P1,127,792.50 as the company’s counterpart.

Photos Provided by: DOST Region 6

Due to increasing market demand [particularly in a health-conscious market], the company focused on upgrading the calamansi juice line and directed its efforts to develop a new product line. To realize this, they applied for another round of SETUP iFund assistance that was granted last year, together with the free consultancy services on Food Safety and Packaging and Labeling.

These interventions made a blast and the company was able to improve their production facility for calamansi juice products. The ongoing commercial operation was made possible through the funding of SETUP iFund with P2,999,360.00, combining the counterpart from Suarez Enterprise in the amount of P4,125,753.00.

After being affected by the disease crisis in the mid-nineties, the Mardal Corporaton is continuously operating with the white shrimp farming. According to the information provided by DOST-Region VI, one of the advantages of the farm is their soil, “because of the alkaline pH and the pond bottom is naturally high in calcium and magnesium, the elements necessary are there to support speedy recovery after the stressful molting process”. This concludes that “the physical inputs like life support equipment for higher stocking densities are adequate”.

Photos Provided by: DOST Region 6

Aiming to improve the pond carrying capacity and culture process of the shrimp farm, the Mardal Corporation availed of the SETUP iFund to acquire 30,740 square meter high-density polyethylene (HDPE) Pond Liners.

One of the expected impacts is to reduce the risk factors attributed to shrimp diseases and to increase production from two cycles to three cycles per year. Mardal Corporation funding counterpart for this project is P7,941,650.00, along with the funding provided by the SETUP iFund that amounted to P2,984,940.00.

To assist the MSMEs is the edict of the DOST through SETUP. The SETUP iFund itself, is provided for selected and qualified enterprises to enable them to upgrade their product quality, enhance production processes, and improve their market competitiveness.

The financial assistance is not a grant but it is given as a technology transfer support mechanism to MSMEs where they will refund back to the government the amount given to them to a low or zero interest package with longer repayment period.

The DOST, through SETUP, strengthens MSMEs capability to address their technical problems, improve productivity, and increase its efficiency, and because of the challenges in this time of pandemic, the Department further tighten its support to MSMEs through the new normal strategies, such as delivering its services virtually through online platforms.

To salute the many successful MSMEs and encourage other enterprises to capitalize on science, technology, and innovation, the DOST will hold the SETUP PRAISE Awarding Ceremony on 23 November 2021, the second day of the virtual celebration of the 2021 National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) that will run from 22-28 November 22-28, with its theme, “Agham at Teknolohiya: Tugon sa Hamon ng Panahaon”. The awarding ceremony is being spearheaded by DOST Region VIII in collaboration with all DOST regional offices and agencies.

A very timely concept with exciting ventures and informative webinars to expect.

For more information, interested parties can visit the NSTW website at http://nstw.dost.gov.ph. You can also check and follow the NSTW Facebook page at https://web.facebook.com/nstwdost.


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