Tuesday, March 28, 2006

SMEs Get Gov't Fundings On Product Development Program

ZAMBOANGA CITY (Darwin Wee / 28 Mar) The small-and-medium-scale- enterprises (SMEs) in Zamboanga peninsula will benefit from a half-million peso government-sponsored product development program this year, the Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) regional office here said.
Sitti Amina Jain, DTI assistant regional director, said the fund was approved last month to provide the existing and potential SME entrepreneurs in Zamboanga peninsula "with services in product and package design and development to create and sustain a competitive edge in the domestic and export markets."
The P500, 000-program for local products is also part of the preparations for the trade and exposition to be held during the 15th Mindanao Business Conference (Minbizcon) in Zamboanga City on August 31 to September 2.
"The funds will be used to showcase local products to lure foreign and domestic investors and buyers in the upcoming Minbizcon," she told the Zamboanga Journal.
The money is intended to fund all the product development activities such as research on materials, processes, and technologies to full-scale introduction of a product to the market.
"This includes product design and development, package design and development, product technology research and development, design andtechnical information, and design library," Jain said.
She said at least 48 local products under the DTI's "one-town, one project" in Zamboanga peninsula were identified to avail of the product development program.

Among the existing products are bottled sardines and dried fish and for the emerging products that include abaca, tiger grass for souvenir and gift items, and bamboo furniture to name a few.
The DTI regional office will also tap two experts from the Product Development and Design Center of the Philippines and the private sectors to help provide product designs advice and improve the quality and marketability of the local products.
"The overall objective of this project is to raise the competitiveness of the existing and emerging products in the Zamboanga peninsula. This will also enable the SME sector in the region to move towards improved standards of quality, efficiency and environmental performance in both operations and product design," she said.
Jain said the program is also part of the National SME Development Agenda that aims to expand promotion and assist SMEs in product quality and market.
The SME sector is the backbone of the Philippine economy. It comprises about 99.6% of all registered firms nationwide employs, 69.9% of the labor force, and contributes 32% of the national economic output.

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