MANILA, Philippines- The Philippines is in need of smarter entrepreneurs who can innovate new products and services that will address the needs of the country and the world, according to Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Based on Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data, nearly half or 46.5% of the country’s almost 900,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are involved in wholesale and retail trade.
Lopez said that the DTI is considering building an SME Academy and innovation centers, local hubs to transform the country’s small business owners into smarter entrepreneurs with globally-competitive enterprises. In the said academy, small business owners can learn from mentors and seek financing.
During an interview with reporters at the ASEAN 2017 MSME Development Summit on July 14, Lopez said: “[What we usually have] are sari-sari stores, simple trading. What I’ve been pushing for is a smarter entrepreneur.”
“We need to train micro, small and medium entrepreneurs to come up with idea-generated or opportunity generated enterprises,” he added.
The DTI also intends to team up with the Department of Education (DepEd) to fortify the curriculum of elementary and high school students to reinforce science, technology as well as entrepreneurship.
ASEAN Business Advisory Council Chairman Jose Ma. Concepcion III said: “The level of innovation [, comes with education. We need to improve the math, the sciences [of local schools]. Because compared to other countries, local shops are strictly brick and mortar.”
In addition to providing training and mentorship, the government also wants to assist MSMEs to get access to digital technologies that will help them network with partners, raise funds and develop markets.
Currently, the DTI has an SME Roving Academy (SMERA) which is a continuous learning program that aims to develop MSMEs to become competitive in the local and international markets.