Assistance to many start-ups and micro and small entrepreneurs is crucial. Many start-ups have a hard time sustaining the first 6 months of operations because not all would be hitting it big right away. It is important we do the homework as to knowing what the real opportunity is or what the market is looking for, who is the target market, developing and testing the concept with the target market or pilot-testing the product or service.
Whenever we do our Go Negosyo summits and seminars, people would always cite financing as the first challenge they would face. After our seminars, they realize that developing a winning product is more crucial and something that must be thought of more seriously. Giving the right mindset and negosyo thinking process and tools would be important to starters and even to those who have started as they get to review their business model. Having the knowhow increases the chance of succeeding in a venture.
This is where the Negosyo Centers being created all over the country would be very helpful. Sen. Bam Aquino hit the ground running when he got elected in 2013 as he prioritized the crafting of the law that will put-up the Negosyo Centers to facilitate mindset and capability-building, mentoring, ease of doing business, and facilitate financing and market. Thanks to him he named it after our advocacy that has been pushing for these in the past 10 years. Although of course, no funds will go to our group, Go Negosyo. Kidding aside, the Go Negosyo Act has institutionalized these services and given a budget to DTI that will establish Negosyo Centers in all the 1,000+ cities and municipalities around the country.
Only the other day, we were able to participate in the launching of the Negosyo Center in Batangas City. The space was made possible through the generosity of Mayor Ed Dimacuja and we joined Sen Bam, Vice Gov Mark Leviste, DTI USec Zeny Maglaya, RD Malou Toledo, PCCI partner Teresita Leabres and other officials. That Negosyo Center is the 26th center put-up so far and the first that is LGU-led. DTI, the key implementing agency, targets 145 Centers for the year and there will be simultaneous launching in the days to come.
DTI is doing a lot of business support for the micro SMEs. Last week we had DTI Director Jerry Clavesillas in our radio program and he relayed that DTI also equips micro, small enterprises with the right mindset and knowhow through the SME Roving Academy. They conduct seminars like the one provided by Go Negosyo and we get to collaborate in some of these.
Also one of their leading programs is the Shared Service Facilities (SSF) which provides relevant facilities, machineries and equipment under a shared system. The program benefits towns and localities with livelihood programs, cooperatives, associations and individual entrepreneurs who cannot afford the cost of these kinds of equipment. They can use these facilities and pay on per-volume basis. This saves micro entrepreneurs from making huge capital investments at the start. Entrepreneurs can focus on increasing their productivity, and accelerate their competitiveness as they produce in bigger volume that conforms to standards.
DTI has over 900 SSF all over the country and has helped achieve inclusive growth and job generation in many communities. One of the groups which benefited in this program is the Kasay Sanktwaryo in Canaoay, San Fernando, La Union which was given embroidery and edger machines and sewing machines. These will be the group’s alternative livelihood apart from fishing. Aside from Kasay Sanktwaryo, the Pacpaco Tiger Grass Association Inc, was also given equipment which makes brooms.
SSF was also popularized by Sen. Cynthia Villar when she did coco coir and water lilies processing projects with communities in Las Pinas several years ago.
Complementing the knowhow part is financing. A lot of groups provide this and one only has to know where to source so they avoid the usurious rates called 5-6. Micro finance institutions, thrift and savings banks, cooperatives provide collateral-free financing for starters. Our partner-banks such as BPI Ka-Negosyo, and the Development Bank of the Philippines among others provide loans to entrepreneurs. Angelpreneur Benel Lagua of DBP shared with us the support they provide to entrepreneurs apart from the programs they provide to forest conservation activities and social development activities.
DBP also aims to help entrepreneurs. DBP is reviving its MSME lending program with its Sustainable Entrepreneurship Enhancement and Development (SEED) Program which aims to enhance the access of SMEs to credit facilities and to ease the credit process. This program gives retail lending that is collateral-free and risk-based, to micro and small entrepreneurs, existing or start-up, with less than 15 million capital. DBP also provides wholesale lending to small microfinance institutions, rural banks and cooperatives which will re-lend the money to small entrepreneurs. Benel shared that there are now more than 50 MSME accounts on their list.
All these programs of DTI and DBP are focused in helping MSMEs. These will help more and more negosyantes to have their access to financing, mentoring, and facilities and equipment for better productivity. We are glad to share the mission to these institutions and together, we can be more instrumental in helping micro and small entrepreneurs to level-up. We are one in the mission to build a country of enterprising Filipinos.