The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is ramping up the implementation of programs that aim to help the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) get ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIRe).
DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña cited the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading (SETUP) program which enhances the firms’ competitiveness through the provision of science and technology interventions such as technology transfer, consultancy services, technology training, laboratory and testing services, and some innovation-enabling funds.
“We are also leveling up the package of these interventions for our MSMEs because come next year, we will have more focus on addressing identified industry sector needs based on the technology roadmaps that we have and most of these roadmaps are of course coming from our DTI (Department of Trade and Industry),” he said.
De la Peña said the Advanced Mechatronics, Robotics and Industrial Automation Laboratory (AMERIAL) project intends at establishing technology laboratories where experts from the different industries, entrepreneurs, academe, and others may practice automation for their production processes.
“So the direction is really towards using smart machines that can do the production without much human intervention,” he added.
The DOST chief said the Business Innovation through Science and Technology (BIST) for Industry Program, on the other hand, promotes innovation in Filipino-owned companies.
“Encouraging them to do their own research and development and providing them with the necessary equipment, strengthening capability of private companies in R&D (research and development) and innovations is a step towards preparing the companies to navigate the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he said.
Through the Technology Business Incubation (TBI) 4.0 program, de la Peña said the country is collaborating with incubators and accelerators from other countries, developing and implementing startup programs with these partners, and co-incubating and immersing Philippine startups in a global environment.
He added the signing into law of the Innovative Startup Act, wherein the DOST and DTI have been mandated to have startup development programs, will have a “big role” in these initiatives.
The Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PHILEXPORT) has partnered with the DOST, DTI, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) in assisting MSME exporters to adopt technological innovations to boost their competitiveness.
De la Peña said the partnership on The Road of FIRe project “is also very relevant. Our goal really is to catch up with the rest of the world especially with those that have already transitioned to the FIRe.”