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Enhanced SETUP 4.0 to Support Local MSMEs and Businesses

Given the rapid emergence of Industry 4.0 and the crippling impacts of the pandemic, the government has expanded services of its programme aiding micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to improve competitiveness based on their level of development.

Secretary of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Fortunato de la Pena remarked that the department’s interventions under the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Programme (SETUP) 4.0 will now benefit more than just individual businesses. “We will also be providing industry-level interventions, making sure that each industry under our priority sectors is following a set roadmap that is directed towards transitioning to the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he said during the recent DOST-National Capital Region SETUP e-caravan.

MSMEs will be classified based on their level of development, according to De la Pena, and the DOST will provide assistance based on their categorisation. “The more advanced MSMEs will be brought into Industry 4.0, while the rest will be assisted so that they are ready to shift in the near future,” he added.

Enterprise-level initiatives under SETUP 4.0, according to DOST-VI Regional Director Engr. Rowen Gelonga, include offering access to new technologies and innovations, supplying technical, digital, and other vital assistance, and assuring enterprise resilience and continuance. “Our one special focus at the SETUP 4.0 is that irrespective of the level of development of your company, we will try to come up with digitalisation or digitisation as well as digitalisation support. And of course, we are giving special emphasis also in terms of resiliency and continuity and we know how important this is during times not only of a pandemic but in times of hazards and other calamities.”

He also stated that the government will provide help based on the stage of the MSMEs, which include developing (stage 1), growing (stage 2), and expanding and inventing (stage 3). “However, we also have businesses, particularly in the more developed regions and parts of the country, that can be deemed expanding and inventing.” We’ll focus on them so that they may progress up the value chain by implementing higher-level technology.”

On the other hand, industry-level policies include transitioning MSMEs toward supporting a sustainable economy, enhancing market competence and supply chain participation, upskilling human capital, and providing critical innovative infrastructure to boost industrial development.

The SETUP 4.0 initiative involves a re-calibration of the country’s focused sectors’ prioritisation. The health and wellness industry is one of the sectors to which the government is now paying close attention due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Specialised centres, strategic road mapping initiatives, and other industry-level science, technology, and innovation assistance, according to Gelonga, will enable the government to develop a highly vibrant industry in which MSMEs may thrive. He stated the department will adopt SETUP 4.0 between 2021 and 2030, keeping the perspective of SETUP 2.0 but adding “new realities on the ground,” such as the pandemic and Industry 4.0.

In a short period of time, the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically altered the planet. The pandemic has had a substantial influence on business and industry in a variety of ways, including changes in consumer buying preferences, reduced mobility, changes in manufacturing operations, disruption of supply networks, and a significant contraction of the economy, to name a few.

OpenGov Asia reported, the DOST incorporated a moratorium on SETUP refund payments for five months in 2020 and six months this year as part of its contingency plan to soften the blow to its co-operators. DOST is now focused on reintroducing its SETUP programme as SETUP 4.0, which will include industries from the Department’s priority sectors. SETUP 4.0 will not only assist MSMEs in surviving the pandemic’s challenges but will also prepare them and their respective industries for the Industrial Revolution 4.0, which will be characterised by the widespread use of emerging technologies such as automation, Internet of Things, 3D printing, robotics, and artificial intelligence, among others.

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