DOST to implement SETUP 4.0 before yearend

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

July 28, 2020, 6:43 pm

MANILA – An enhanced version of the Department of Science and Technology's (DOST) Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) will be implemented before yearend, an official said Tuesday.

SETUP is DOST's program that aims to encourage and assist micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in adopting technological innovations to improve their products and operations.

"We are transitioning to SETUP 4.0, to help our MSMEs in digitalization and automation part. We are enhancing the implementation of SETUP to align with the industry 4.0," DOST Undersecretary Brenda Manzano told the Philippine News Agency in an interview.

Industry 4.0 is defined as "the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the internet of things, cloud computing, and cognitive computing".

In his State-of-the-Nation-Address on Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte mentioned that the DOST is offering its enterprise technology upgrading program to help businesses transition to online and contactless operations.

Manzano said that through this program, the MSMEs could receive innovation enabling fund amounting to as much as PHP5 million which they could pay in three to five years, assistance in procuring the necessary equipment and training.

She clarified that the DOST Regional offices would assess the needed funding assistance of the MSMEs, and that the agency also provides one year grace period in returning the fund assistance provided.

"Last year, a team from the MIRDC (Metals Industry Research and Development Center) was deployed in the regions to look for firms that may be willing to adopt this program. We could probably implement this (SETUP 4.0) towards the end of this year," she remarked.

Manzano also clarified that SETUP 4.0 does not have a separate budget, as this is an enhanced version of the existing SETUP program.

About 800 MSMEs can be accommodated in the SETUP program in 2020, with a budget of around PHP860 million, according to Manzano. Less than PHP900 million is also allocated for the SETUP program in 2021.

She said the DOST has been conducting virtual meetings with the prospect firms recommended by the team from MIRDC.

Meanwhile, Manzano said the DOST will also prioritize the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT) members, since it has the same goal of helping the members to adopt with automation.

"The benefit that (the adoptors) could get is actually greater than (what they would borrow). There was even someone who only needed PHP100,000, just to elevate the (business) process," Manzano said. (PNA