Small entrepreneur who started with pushcart and a dream wins DOST award

By Edd K. Usman

Demetrio C. Perez only finished elementary school and eked out a hard living by picking up scraps and junk with his wife, earning anywhere from P300 to P500 a day. But that didn’t prevent the Marbel, South Cotabato native from dreaming about a better life.

Demetrio Perez started out picking up scraps and made it big. He later established DP Fabrication and Machineries, which make corn and rice mills and other farm equipment. (EKU)

Demetrio Perez started out picking up scraps and made it big. He later established DP Fabrication and Machineries, which make corn and rice mills and other farm equipment

After pushing a cart from house to house, looking for scraps to buy for six years, Perez started his own junk shop business. As a result, instead of picking up scraps, he established a shop that bought them, earning him P2,000 to P3,000 a day.

However, Perez’s story doesn’t end there. Inspired by his business venture’s success, he decided to branch out and start anew.

After moving to Digos, Davao del Sur, Perez in 1996 established the DP Fabrication and Machineries shop, which makes corn and rice mills.

Later on, betting on his luck, skills, and acute business sense, he participated in a special initiative by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP).

From June 2014 to December 2017, Perez used a P680,000 loan from SETUP that allowed him to expand and strengthen his business. In March this year, his small company — which belongs to the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) category — once again got a boost from SETUP. It got another, higher loan of P810,373.30, which he could use for his business, interest-free, helping him expand his operations further.

But that’s not all.

This year, owing to his resounding success, Perez got P100,000 — not as a loan, but as a prize — for beating other 16 other regional finalists as the Best SETUP Adoptor. He also got an additional P30,000 for one of the top five national finalists in the contest.

Perez was given his award and due recognition by DOST secretary Fortunato T. de la Pena during the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) at the World Trade Center (WTC) in Pasay City last July.

“Although I was not fortunate to finish my education because of extreme poverty, it was never an obstacle to my source of income. I supported my family backed by my wife, ‘sa pagbo-bote’t at bakal’ (by picking up and selling bottle and iron scraps),” Perez said in his acknowledgement speech at the NSTW awarding rites. “I started pushing pushcarts in the streets of Marbel, South Cotabato and Digos, Davao del Sur. Through God’s goodness I was able to have my children finished their education in private and prestigious universities in Davao City.”

According to the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), the finalists were judged based on Technology, Process and Innovation Assimilation (40%); Product and Process Outcomes (20%); Market and Financial Outcomes (20%); and Entrepreneurial Acumen and Managerial Leadership (20%).

As of 2016, SETUP has provided a total funding assistance of P3.336 billion for 4,363 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Besides helping improve productivity of its beneficiary-companies by 37 percent, SETUP has also helped generate 167,939 jobs and resulted in 50,370 technology interventions that consisted of consultancy services, training, packaging assistance, and design and labeling.

Based on 2015 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are 900,912 businesses in the Philippines, 99.5 percent of which belong to MSMEs. These small enterprises have also generated 4.784 million jobs, compared to other large enterprises that created only 2.981 million positions.

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