Gov’t programs assist MSMEs upskill, reskill workers, grow biz

Starting and expanding entrepreneurs can avail of government programs for upskilling and reskilling their workers and even providing financial resources to grow their business.

Ma. Fe Avila, chief at Philippine Trade Training Center-Global MSME Academy (PTTC-GMEA) Planning and Programming Division, particularly cited the Advancement of Skills and Competencies of Entrepreneurs towards iNternationalization agenDa (ASCEND) program.

ASCEND aims to equip MSMEs in terms of human capital, company and product quality requirements, among others, as they gain entry to the national and international market.

“We have many training programs lined up that our starting, our aspiring entrepreneurs, (and) even the growing and the expanding entrepreneurs in those levels can avail so we have those that are aligned to the enterprise development track of the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) programs so that we are harmonized also with your intervention,” she said during the virtual Philippine Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIRe) Skills Week celebration 2022.

Avila said the PTTC has also a program on push cart that provides training to startups involved in digital technology and developing digital business solutions for other micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

One of PTTC-GMEA’s regional programs is Food Connect which aims at assisting food manufacturers understand the standards, documentation, and application of the “gate-to-plate” processes in the food chain.

Its activities include food talks or briefings on international labeling requirements of major importing countries, mentoring and consultative sessions by key industry practitioners, and awareness on the regulatory compliance on Food and Drugs Administration-license to operate/certificate of product registration (FDA-LTO-CPR), Halal, and international food standards.

“If an enterprise would like to access the domestic market so we have the training provided for you that you can use in securing your certification requirements on FDA, license to operate and certificate of product registration and a lot more,” Avila said in mixed English and Filipino.

Aside from the PTTC programs, she said the DTI has a number of training or programs that the MSMEs can also avail in terms of upskilling and reskilling their workers which it implements not only in Manila, but in the regions as well.

On the part of Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Executive Director Jojo Guillermo said the agency provides a community-based training program designed to catalyze the creation of livelihood enterprises that can be implemented by the trainees.

“And then immediately after the training, they can go into their own entrepreneurial activities,” he said.

Guillermo also cited TESDA’s Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) program intended for women micro entrepreneurs that gives them access to financial resources, empower them, and grow their business.

He said the Tulong Trabaho Scholarship Program, on the other hand, mainly aims to address unemployment and jobs-skills mismatch as it provides assistance to displaced workers and support industry distressed enterprises.

“Some of the retrainings provided under this scholarship program like bread and pastry production, welding, animal production, and all of these are being implemented by TESDA through the different technical-vocational institutions in all the regions nationwide,” he added.

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