Strengthening the adoption of digitization solutions and making alternative financing models be understood could improve the resilience of the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), according to the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) discussion paper.
PIDS senior research fellows Connie Bayudan-Dacuycuy and Francis Mark Quimba, research specialist Lora Kryz Baje, and former PIDS president Celia Reyes underscored the need to further strengthen the enterprises’ adoption of digitization solutions through training/mentoring programs on financial and digital literacies, business networking, and product development in the digital age.
“Identifying measurable outcomes and regular monitoring of such will help to improve the design of programs, maximize learning opportunities, and identify emerging areas that require attention,” the authors said.
A PIDS-Monash University online survey of MSMEs rolled out from Aug. 26 to Oct. 8, 2021 found that online selling through social media was the topmost strategy implemented by women-owned/led MSME (WMSMEs) and men-led MSMEs (MMSMEs) of around 70 percent each.
Both types of enterprises have used digital solutions in their marketing, payment methods, sales, and services delivery.
To improve the resilience of enterprises, the discussion paper also pushed to make alternative financing models, such as peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, be understood in the MSMEs’ community.
“WMSMEs stand to benefit from these alternatives as they navigate issues in working capital and challenges in digitization financing. In addition, other funding sources, such as those provided by partner countries in the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) region, offer funding and can be explored to help WMSMEs,” it added.
The authors likewise highlighted the need to prepare enterprises for future disruptions through innovations related to production planning and supply chain management.
“Partner countries offer several open educational o nline courses on social entrepreneurship and technology development, innovation andsustainability, and healthcare in the APEC region and can also be explored. It would be good if these resources were maximized,” they added.
The paper further said it is also imperative to pursue more aggressive promotion of government support programs for MSMEs to increase the awareness of the MSMEs community.
“This can be done by utilizing government and private mass media channels and social media accounts of relevant government agencies. Communicating programs to the network of business groups will help raise awareness,” it said.