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Vol. XXVI, 4th Quarter
October –December 2008

Northern Luzon, Visayas Clusters S&T Fairs held

HUNDREDS OF LOCAL PRODUCTS and services developed through the assistance of the Department of Science and Technology from Luzon and in other parts of the country went on display during the 4th Northern Luzon Technology Fair held at the Cagayan Colleges of Tuguegarao last October 6-10.

The Department of Science and Technology Region 2 hosted the activity that promotes the agency’s thrust to provide comprehensive technology-based productivity solutions to small and medium enterprises.

It also featured several technology fora, exhibits, discussions on emerging business trends for SMEs and S&T-based entrepreneurship trainings.

Other highlights include technology forum and clinic on advanced packaging and labeling technology for clients of DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program.

Experts shared updates on several technology applications that can help improve the production capabilities and commercial value of local products.

Cagayan Congressman Manuel N. Mamba (3rd District), DOST Assistant Secretary Mario P. Bravo, and DOST Region 2 Director Urdujah A. Tejada led the ribbon cutting ceremony to start the weeklong activities.

Meanwhile, the Island City Mall in Tagbilaran City teemed with Visayan products developed through the assistance of the Department of Science and Technology and from other regions during the Department of Science and Technology’s 4th Visayas Cluster S&T Fair.

DOST Region 7 Director Rene Burt Llanto said the weeklong event aimed to promote DOST services and programs geared towards assisting micro-enterprises through technology-based interventions. It was also an event designed to bring S&T awareness to people especially those in far-flung communities.

“We intend to have dialogues with the people on how they can benefit fully from DOST and venture on technologies that will empower the SMEs of the region.”

In Region 7 alone, which covers the provinces of Cebu, Bohol, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor, DOST has extended technology assistance to 95 firms through its Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program or SET UP. Majority of these SMEs are into food manufacturing particularly native delicacies and processed fish, furniture manufacturing, and fashion accessory.

One of the successful SMEs that benefited from SETUP is the Bohol Bee Farm owned and managed by Victoria Wallace.

DOST package of assistance range from technology transfer, packaging and labeling, production facility layout, and equipment acquisition, among others.

“The tech-fair gives us an opportunity to be closer to our clients in the Visayas”, Llanto added.

Teresita Alcober Policarpio, the proprietor of TAPS Handmade Products and one of the Tech Fair exhibitors said “These activities are very essential for us since these serve as venues for new market linkages and new clienteles.”

“We do not expect to earn much during tech fairs.

Our main objective is to find clients from the region and overseas to place their orders in big volumes”, she added

During the National Science and Technology Week and Tech fair in July, Policarpio spent P20,000 to P30,000 for cargo handling and operation expenses, and paid out P 50,000 to P100,000 to participate during the SET UP Business Expo in SM Mega Trade Hall last September.

But it was money well spent, as new business opportunities rolled in.

Policarpio’s fancy over native sea grass bags grew when she was still an active community worker in 1997. Noticing the product’s potential, she established her own line of bags, wallets, hats, and many other items. She then joined tech fairs conducted by Leyte province.

Following successful runs during technology fairs, the provincial government handpicked her firm as one of the exhibitors to join the Toronto Trade Fair in 1998. Her sea-grass bags were again picked for the Houston International Exhibit the following year.

DOST Provincial Director Rogelio Gola noticed Policarpio’s products during technology fairs, which eventually led to SET-UP assistance such as personnel and business management training, tools and equipment, and plant layout.

The July technology fair produced a windfall of opportunities for TAPSHP, leading to distribution arrangement with 25 SM branches, nine branches of CVC supermarket, and several stalls in Greenhills Shopping Center. She is currently working on a distribution channel in Dubai, UAE for the overseas workers’ cooperative that she also made contact during the technology fair.

The Leyte provincial government, which is gearing up for the Palarong Pambansa next year, has tapped Policarpio to develop the token items for the participants and organizers of the country’s athletics meet.