INDUSTRY leaders have laid down their proposals for smaller businesses to face the barriers hindering their recovery and stability despite the economy’s recent reopening.
Their ideas centered on how the public and private sectors can engage the community and its people to solve the challenges and support the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), which comprise 99.5 percent of the national economy and generate jobs to 62.4 percent or 5.5 million Filipinos.
“When communities are able to provide for and support their own needs, they promote an overall more robust national economy,” Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. Vice President for Corporate Relations Serge Bernal told reporters during their recent webinar dubbed “The Future of Livelihood: Multi-Sectoral Approach that Empowers Local Economies to Power Progress.”
“We aim to continuously create a positive and rippling change towards the future, starting with various initiatives that target the needs of the communities in the areas where we operate. We continue to encourage other institutions and enterprises to engage their immediate communities so that we welcome progress together,” he added.
Among the problems confronting the MSMEs is their difficulty in adapting to a tough and fast-paced environment. One way to solve this is to integrate them into the greater local economic ecosystem so they can have more access to relevant markets, products, services, and resources to scale their businesses.
The government, through the Department of Science and Technology-Technology Application and Promotion Institute (DOST-TAPI), makes this possible.
“From the conception of ideas to the protection of IPs (Intellectual Property); from the development of a prototype, to pilot production; and eventually, to commercialization and marketing, we have the necessary programs for our stakeholders to literally put their innovation in the market,” DOST-TAPI Director Atty. Marion Decena said, while citing their offering to commercialize the innovative technologies of MSMEs which is payable within three years sans interest.
Another obstacle faced by small businesses is the lack of and inaccessibility to financial products and services that needs urgent action, according to UnionBank First Vice President and SME and Microentrepreneurs Head Jaypee Soliman. He explained, “It’s being able to provide financing to the people who really need it the most with whatever available data they have. That’s a big problem, especially in the countryside.”
For Department of Trade and Industry-Philippine Trade Training Center (DTI-PTTC) Executive Director Nelly Nita Dillera, local entrepreneurs can also gain from the different capacity-building programs of national line agencies meant to make them competitive.