Rejano’s Bakery, a family business that manufactures traditional arrowroot cookies since 1949, was named as 2013 Best Technopreneur by the Department of Science and Technology MIMAROPA Region (DOST IV-B) for the core category in a ceremony held last August 27 at the Traders Hotel.

The award was conferred in recognition of technopreneurs who, through science and technology, improved their business productivity, profitability, employment and over all contribution to the regional economy.

Located in Sta. Cruz Marinduque, Rejano’s Bakery, is owned and managed by Carmelita “Mita” Rejano-Reyes. Desiring to solve the problem of inconsistent supply of arrowroot flour, the main ingredient of the cookies, Mita first sought the help of the DOST IV through the Provincial S&T Center in Marinduque. The DOST grant enabled her to acquire processing equipment that made the processing of arrowroot flour easier.

Encouraged by the improvements brought about by innovations through DOST, she again asked the agency for assistance, this time under the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) in 2006. SETUP is DOST’s strategy to encourage and assist SMEs to adopt technological innovations to improve their operations and thus boost their productivity and competitiveness.

Under the program, the enterprise went through current Good Manufacturing Practice Training and Audit, and adopted cleaner production technologies which resulted to significantly reducing the LPG consumption by 20 percent, and improving flour production by a whopping 200 percent at the least.

In 2009, the business received another assistance from SETUP to improve packaging and extend product shelf life which increased the product’s marketability. The improved packaging enabled Rejano’s arrowroot cookies to penetrate the Metro Manila market and boost its sales by 15 percent.

Aside from being a successful enterprise, Rejanos Bakery was also able to provide livelihood to the farmers that supply raw materials for its products.

Meanwhile, the Sama-sama sa Ikauunlad ng Kinabukasan ng ating Pamumuhay (SIKAP), a community organization in Bicas-Bicas, Buenavista, Marinduque, received the 2013 Best Technopreneur for the non-core category. The award is given to the exceptional community based organization in MIMAROPA that were recipients of upgrading support from DOST.

As its livelihood program, SIKAP is into the production of coco sap sugar, which is touted as a better alternative to sugar because of its lower glycemic index.

SIKAP received its training on coconut sugar production from DOST-ITDI. Likewise, the members underwent cGMP Food Safety Management Training. SIKAP was also able to establish a GMP-compliant coconut sugar processing facility and enhanced the product quality through appropriate packaging and labeling materials provided by DOST.

The DOST interventions, paved the way for more livelihood opportunities for the community members. SIKAP provides indirect employment to Tuba gatherers, while housewives in the community were the sugar processors. SIKAP generates an average monthly income of P 34, 966.

Carmelita Rejano-Reyes, owner of Rejano’s Bakery in Marinduque, expresses her deep gratitude to DOST IV-B, during the awarding ceremony for 2013 Best Technopreneur last August 27, at Traders Hotel Pasay City. (S&T Media Service)

Carmelita Rejano-Reyes (3rd from left) receives the 2013 Best Technopreneur from DOST IV-B Regional Director Josefina P. Abilay (left) during the awarding ceremonies held at Traders Hotel. With them is Provincial Science and Technology Director Bernardo T. Caringal (right) and entrepreneur and radio personality Dr. Carl E. Balita. (S&T Media Service)

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