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Government incentives help new businesses get off the ground. Digitization of SMEs

The government is proposing a variety of programs to assist micro, small, and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) in digitally transforming their firms so that they may continue to operate even if the pandemic strikes, as well as foster young entrepreneurship development.

The Bureau of SME Development Program Development Division of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is promoting an intensive shift to digitalization, according to Edwin Pasahol, chief of the DTI’s Bureau of SME Development Program Development Division, as physical stores have lost clients since the global health crisis began in March 2020.

During a recent webinar, he noted in a mix of English and Filipino, “We highly promote digitalization and boosting digital operations in partnering with service providers who are into platforms so they may continue to operate their businesses and not finally close down.”

According to Pasahol, the “DTI Ctrl+Biz Reboot Now!” program offers a series of free webinars aimed at MSMEs that need to digitally modernize their operations.

“Enablers from throughout the e-commerce ecosystem will share their knowledge and experiences on how to make the most of the digital space.” We’re also coordinating and cooperating with service providers like Grab, Shopee, and Lazada, who are now the most popular platforms, to help our MSMEs learn how to collaborate with them, use their services, and, of course, be a part of their operations,” he added.

According to Pasahol, the agency also informs MSMEs about the many digital tools, applications, platforms, and resources available to help them rethink their businesses in the face of the crisis.

The tools or solutions listed at https://sites.google.com/view/tech-resources-for-msmes/home are divided into several categories based on their functionality, including e-commerce, e-payments, digital marketing, logistics, work-from-home collaboration tools, productivity tools, webinars, expert finding, and government resources.

“(We) mix or consolidate multiple technology tools, application platforms, and resources to deal with the issues of community quarantine,” he explained.

Apart from MSMEs, Pasahol said the government has created the Youth Entrepreneurship Program to promote the younger generation’s business ideas and help them become productive.

“It would assist young Filipinos in developing their entrepreneurial abilities by providing them with a comprehensive package of interventions and efficient activities aimed at leveraging public and private resources and directing them toward the growth of youth entrepreneurship,” Pasahol said.

Director Noel Catibog of the Philippine Council of Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), a division of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), has revealed support options for startups and MSMEs.

The National Agri-Aqua Technology Business Incubation (ATBI) program, the agri-aqua business hub under the DOST-PCAARRD Innovation and Technology Center, the DOST startup grant fund program, the Regional Agri-Aqua Innovation System Enhancement program, and the agri-aqua innovation challenge, which includes a startup pitching competition and startup mentorship, are among these, according to Catibog.

DOST-PCAARRD has designated the ATBI program as one of the solutions for commercializing the technology and outputs of local agri-aqua research and development inputs.

It promotes, supports, and nurtures the transformation of mature agriculture, aquatic, and natural resource-based innovations into commercially viable agribusiness companies for economic development.

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