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Gov’t programs assist biz startups, MSME digitalization

MANILA – The government is offering various programs to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) transform their businesses digitally to sustain operations even during the pandemic and promote youth entrepreneurship development.

Edwin Pasahol, chief of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Bureau of SME Development Program Development Division, said the agency is promoting an intensive shift to digitalization as physical stores have lost clients since the global health crisis began in March 2020.

“We highly advocate digitalization and promoting digital operations in partnering with service providers that are into platforms, so they can continuously operate their businesses and not eventually shut down,” he said in mixed English and Filipino during a recent webinar.

Pasahol said the “DTI Ctrl+Biz Reboot Now!” program offers a series of free webinars that targets MSMEs which need to transform their operations digitally.

“Enablers across the entire e-commerce ecosystem will provide their expertise and experiences on how to take advantage of the digital space. We are also coordinating and partnering with service providers like Grab, Shopee, and Lazada, the most popular platforms now, so that they will guide our MSMEs on how to partner with them, how to avail of their services, and of course, how to be part of their operations,” he added.

Pasahol said the agency also provides information to MSMEs on the different technology tools, applications, platforms, and resources available to reinvent businesses amid the crisis.

The tools or solutions specified in are categorized based on functionality across multiple categories such as e-commerce, e-payment, digital marketing, logistics, work-from-home collaboration tools, productivity tools, webinars, finding an expert, and government resources.

“(We) combine or consolidate different technology tools, application platforms, and resources so that they can cope with the challenges of community quarantine,” he said.

Apart from programs assisting the MSMEs, Pasahol said the government has come up with the Youth Entrepreneurship Program to support the business ideas of the younger set and help them become productive.

“It will help young Filipinos develop their entrepreneurial skills by offering them a comprehensive package of interventions and efficient initiatives intended to harness public and private resources and direct these resources to the development of youth entrepreneurship,” Pasahol said.

Director Noel Catibog of the Technology Transfer and Promotion Division of the Philippine Council of Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), an agency under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), also bared support mechanisms for startups and MSMEs.

Catibog said these include the National Agri-Aqua Technology Business Incubation (ATBI) program, the agri-aqua business hub under the DOST-PCAARRD Innovation and Technology Center, DOST startup grant fund program, Regional Agri-Aqua Innovation System Enhancement program, and the agri-aqua innovation challenge comprising startup pitching competition and startup mentorship.

The ATBI program is one of the strategies identified by DOST-PCAARRD to commercialize the technologies and outputs of local agri-aqua research and development inputs.

It encourages, supports, and nurtures the development of mature agriculture, aquatic, and natural resources-based technologies into viable commercial agribusiness ventures for economic development. (PR)



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