Gov’t programs assist entrepreneurs gain entry to overseas markets, survive pandemic

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) entrepreneurs aiming to penetrate the overseas markets or surviving the coronavirus can avail of government programs to reskill and upskill themselves.

Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) Executive Director Nelly Nita Dillera said the Center’s Advancement of Skills and Competencies of Entrepreneurs towards Internationalization Agenda (ASCEND) program is a comprehensive approach to reskill and upskill especially in this time of pandemic.

“According to the Asian Trade Center, the Philippine products are still among the countries that cannot easily be searched, that cannot receive epayments nor have we optimized the use of technology, the tools and applications, the enablers,” she said during an e-forum of National MSME Week 2020.

As the country was fast-forwarded to the digital age, Dillera said it is therefore timely that technology takes on a greater prominence in PTTC programs.

She said the PTTC’s ASCEND program, a whole of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) approach, comprises stakeholder consultation, module alignments, shifting to e-learning modality, and learning management.

“We do consultation with industry stakeholders, it is important to hear the needs of MSMEs in the international market, the trends and all that. (We have) one module that fits all. We look at the market requirements and we try to redesign or make our modules be relevant and responsive to these requirements and we also are now shifting to e-learning modality. And of course learning management because after all, what we wanted those attending the training… as much as possible is to see what the positive impacts (on their businesses),” she added.

Dillera said the PTTC has launched 137 e-learning modules, including self-help modules.

“We have (also) entrepreneurial development, digitalizing business back office operations. Gone are the days na papel-papel lang ginagamit natin (we used papers). As much as possible, use apps, softwares that are available because it will make our work more productive, more efficient and more effective. We have digital productivity tools, export made easy, and of course good manufacturing practices,” she said.

Dillera said they target teaching the MSMEs to use online training programs at the same time utilize different applications or software that are available.

Apart from training courses, Dillera said the Center also provides training services and facilities, such as regional food champions, digifab, Food Connect and trend hub.

“So the regional food champions, we will launch this, we will be helping all our food processors elevate the taste profile of their food,” she said, adding the digifab facilities are equipped to deliver high quality fabrication services.

The Food Connect, on the other hand, is designed for entrepreneurs intending to secure registration and other international certifications to penetrate the mainstream market, she said.

Dillera said the PTTC has also partnerships with Asean SME Academy, International Trade Centre SME Trade Academy, and International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Academy in providing e-learning modules and courses.

“So hindi natin iiwan yung nag-eexport ngayon (we would not leave exporters now). Now is the time to also re-skill and upskill. Just log on to our website, you can find the links,” she added.

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