MANILA, Philippines - The online platform that the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) developed to help Filipino micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sell their products is going mobile.

The DOST finished developing the mobile app for Android smartphones, which will enable around 2,000 MSME products to also be available to Android smartphone users, according to DOST Region II director Sancho Mabborang.

Mabborang told The STAR the mobile app would be an additional platform for the program, which has helped MSMEs, especially those in the provinces, to grow their markets.

Mabborang also noted MSMEs are not charged any subscription fee for the display of their products at, unlike private e-commerce portals that charge merchants.

“This is all for free to our MSMEs. That was really the instruction of (former science and technology) Secretary Mario Montejo when he had told us to pursue working on the onestore e-commerce portal,” he said.

Currently the DOST, through its Small Enterprise Upgrading Program (SETUP), has provided technology assistance to MSMEs.

Under SETUP, the DOST provides assistance to MSMEs primarily in the form of equipment and technical expertise consultancy. The MSMEs pay back the DOST in a three-year period without interest.

The DOST’s SETUP has assisted more than 26,000 MSMEs as of last tally and the department is targeting to help 10,000 more MSMEs though the onestore online and mobile platforms. 

“The onestore online store and now this mobile app could be game-changers for our assisted MSMEs,” Mabborang said.

Mabborang cited the case of Pableo Manufacturing, which produces powdered organic turmeric and ginger tea in Batanes.

“Before we developed onestore, Pableo only had a seasonal market to sell their products, which is mainly during the summer months when there are many tourists in Batanes. But now, after the company was able to sell to one customer based in Rizal province and this customer is now their regular volume buyer, Pableo is now earning income even when there are no more tourists in Batanes,” he said. (By Rainier Allan Ronda  | The Philippine Star) | Updated September 11, 2016 - 12:00am)