Entrepreneurs are encouraged to scale up initiatives on business continuity to build resilience and become innovative to remain viable amid the lingering pandemic.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona said the department has strengthened its capacity building activities and programs to develop creative, smarter, and innovation-oriented micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“More activities have been pivoted online, such as training and trade fairs. We have been gearing towards digitally empowered and skilled MSMEs,” she said.
Lantayona said the DTI, in coordination with the other agencies, has issued various policy measures and initiatives aimed at guiding these enterprises to safely continue operating their businesses, ensure unhampered movement of goods, and secure the safety of the public.
“Resilience and business continuity planning activities and initiatives were also further promoted as more MSMEs have seen the importance of preparation during unprecedented situations, such as this pandemic,” she added.
Lantayona said lessons from the pandemic must be learned and applied to future-proof businesses, noting that short-term initiatives must be built up to long-term goals.
“To effectively implement policies, a leader must stir the direction of the constituents and their stakeholders towards policy initiatives that will have lasting impact, that will ensure until the next generation,” she said.
This, as the MSMEs, which form 99.6 percent of the registered establishments in the country and contribute 62.6 percent to the labor force, have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Aside from technology tools, Lantayona said aspiring and existing entrepreneurs can easily access business registration and development services through for example the Negosyo Center portal.
She added they can also avail of loans through the Covid-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises (CARES) program, and CARES for TRAVEL program for those engaged in the tourism sector provided by the Small Business Corporation.
Lantayona said 16 DTI regional offices across the country have also extended business development and livelihood programs through the Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa (PPG) and Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay.
“This is intended to restart businesses and provide opportunities for people who have been affected by calamities and lost their jobs due to businesses closing down,” she said.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said that as the lifeblood of the economy, MSMEs should be given the support and recognition they deserve.
“A strengthened support system for all Filipino entrepreneurs is key to revive our ailing economy. This is also one of the best ways to ensure that every Filipino household has money in its pockets and food in its place,” she said.
Hontiveros said she pushed for the grant of “lifesaver” loans to MSMEs in the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or the Bayanihan 2 law, which “I hope can help enterprises weather the storm during times of crisis.”