Assistance from state universities in Calabarzon successfully created enterprises in the communities, according to a study presented in a recent international conference.
The country’s state universities are potential contributors to economic development. They are the ones who link government programs in agriculture, technology transfer and trade to the communities in the countryside.
In a study on How can state universities develop an enterprise? Reforms to building viable livelihoods among poor communities, by Rowena DT. Baconguis of the University of the Philippine Los Baños, Laguna, it was found that.
Aside from providing education to improve people’s lives, state universities are also required to engage in extension intervention activities that enable them to help community members become more efficient in their livelihood activities.
The research investigated the extension activities of 5 state universities and 21 enterprises in Calabarzon. The innovations undertaken or promoted by the 21 enterprises were examined and among them 16 enterprises were created as a result of Universities’ assistance, while 4 existing businesses were able to improved, and 1 enterprise was revived.
It is interesting to note that while most enterprises that were created are in the food industry, such as processed food, condiments, cooked food, processed milk products, food supplement, and processed fruit drink (juice and wine), the existing businesses that were improved are mostly farm-based.
However, although majority (19 out of 21) of the enterprises cited an increase in income attributed universities’ support, only 8 of the 19 were able to market their products, recoup its capital and earn continuously even without the universities’ marketing and technical assistance. The rest struggles to keep afloat by deriving modest profits.
Enterprises which earned are those which are operated by those with business backgrounds or have talent and passion towards their products.
The communities are taught basic skills on processing, packaging, how to connect with the right contact persons and where to get supply materials. Other trainings were on production technique and integrated farming.
There being a dearth in studies related to the Philippines universities’ contribution to enterprise development, this research was intended to fill said gap by documenting the experiences of the universities in Calabarzon.
The research was presented in the last 17th Conference of the Science Council of Asia, jointly organized by the Science Council of Asia and National Research Council of the Philippines, Department of Science and Technology (DOST-NRCP), an agency which promotes and supports basic and problem-oriented researches key to providing solutions to national issues and problems.
(S&T Media, Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin)