Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises (SMEs) Greenlife and Manna are leading the way in showcasing how partnering with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) can help businesses cope with the COVID 19 pandemic.
In recent months when a number of businesses in the country either had to cut down on workers or close shops due to the economic slowdown brought on by the public health crisis, Greenlife and Manna managed to thrive.
The shopfloor innovation of MANNA Shameyn Enterprises based in the National Capital Region initially offered the repair and modification services of hospital beds. The company built by Ramil Serrano in 2010 saw the big demand during the health emergency and ventured and developed their own designed hospital beds.
The Manna product line then added an examination table, bedside cabinet, emergency cart, IV stand, and medicine and instrument cabinet.
MANNA Shameyn normally earns Php 7 million a year. In 2019 their income reached Php 21 million in gross sales. On a monthly average, the company manufactures 100 units of hospital beds and 170 pieces of various medical equipment.
Another innovative firm is Greenlife Coconut Products, based in Tayabas City, Quezon, which was started in 2001 by the couple, Francisco and Emelita Rubio. The company manufactures coconut products like virgin coconut oil (VCO) that are even exported abroad. Incidentally, the DOST together with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development and local hospitals are currently conducting research on the potential of VCO as a possible ingredient to produce COVID-19 vaccine.
Greenlife has a unique business strategy to help the community of small-time coconut farmers in Quezon province to enable them to produce VCO using cold process method or absolute-no-heat VCO (ANH-VCO). Instead of merely selling their coconut harvest, farmers increased their income by producing VCO, an added value product with big market potential. With the mindset of giving back to coconut farmers, the company created a model for the Integrated Village Coconut Processing that helps uplift the lives of coconut farmers in the province.
“Innovative firms are adjusting to the pandemic, instead of closing down or halting operation, they thought of developing new products,” DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña reported.
The so-called shopfloor innovations were implemented by micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to adapt to these trying times. Due to limited resources and the uncertainty brought by the pandemic, the new strategies employed by MSMEs did not pass through the usual research and development process, nor were they developed in the laboratories.
“Shopfloor innovations are industry solutions which are developed by the production people themselves while working at the production floor of a factory or manufacturing facilities,” Undersecretary for Regional Operations Brenda L. Nazareth-Manzano explained.
Over one thousand beneficiaries of the DOST-Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) closed down recently while the country was under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). On the other hand, most of those that managed to remain operational reported having low income. Because of this unpredictable scenario, the DOST SETUP is now in the process of formulating mechanisms to address the effect of COVID-19 to assist entrepreneurs in order to mitigate the negative impact and continue their business.
DOST, for many years now, has been providing technology interventions to small enterprises through its SETUP and Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology (CEST) programs. Support to enterprises includes providing modern machinery, business and marketing consultancy, and technical training – interventions that can boost their production operations to be more competitive in both the domestic and international markets.
Interested entrepreneurs may inquire at the Office of the Undersecretary for Regional Operations using the DOST trunkline numbers: (02) 8837-2071 to 82 Local 2025 and (02) 8837-2941 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
SEND CHEERS in the comments below to Greenlife, Manna, and other MSMEs which are working with DOST to cope with the pandemic.
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