DTI workshop gives 16 MSMEs an online boost
More Cebu-based micro, small and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) will be able to use their knowledge in e-commerce to grow their businesses after representatives from 16 MSMEs underwent nearly a two-monthlong workshop initiated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
Janette Toral, an e-commerce advocate and one of the mentors of the workshop, said the e-commerce mentorship program would help MSMEs to get over their lack of knowledge and particular biases among more traditional businesses, which could hinder their growth or expansion online.
“Can you imagine having customers order torta online? You cannot visualize how that’s going to work especially if you only have one branch in
Argao,” Toral cited this as an example to reporters at the sidelines of the graduation ceremony for the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Cebu’s e-commerce mentorship program for MSMEs on Tuesday.
But Toral said this concept could work only with consistent mentorship like what DTI Cebu recently initiated. Toral was referring to Chitang’s Torta Bakery, whose representative was one of the mentees of the program. E-commerce or electronic commerce is defined as the sale of goods through a digital channel to a private end user.
Sixteen pioneering mentees went through the program, which ran from Nov. 21 last year to Jan. 10 this year.
The participants, which are all based in Cebu, came from the tourism, home furnishing, food, trucking, energy and industrial sectors.
During the program’s 10-week run, the mentees learned how to set up their own websites, accept online payments and create their own customer relationship management systems.
She said having MSMEs attend seminars is useless if these are not followed up with other opportunities.
Among others, DTI will introduce a financial assistance to MSMEs, which Toral said should be given to those who have undergone e-commerce mentorship seminars.
DTI Cebu’s initiative was the first of its kind in the whole country, an offshoot of the agency’s 16-city e-commerce roadshow last year which was basically just a one-day awareness program.
At that time, participating MSMEs were taught how to sell on online platforms, accept electronic payments, and received assistance following a dialogue with existing online marketplaces.
In DTI Cebu’s recently concluded workshop, participants were also taught about product photography, search engine optimization and social media marketing, among others.
Toral was instrumental in the crafting of the DTI’s Philippine E-commerce Roadmap 2016–2020, which projects 100,000 MSMEs to go into e-commerce three years from now.
DTI recognizes MSMEs’ major role in driving the Philippine economy, making up 99.6 percent of the country’s registered businesses and employing around 70 percent of its total workforce.
Trade officials see great opportunities for businesses that put up their own online platforms as more Filipinos gain access to the internet.
Local officials hoped that with the use of their websites and social media accounts, these MSMEs will be able to expand their market and reach more potential clients.
Philippine internet penetration has grown from 37 percent in 2013, translating to 36.1 million internet users, to 43.5 percent or 44 million internet users in 2016.
In 2013, the Philippines logged $1.5 billion in e-commerce sales, and DTI’s Philippine E-Commerce Outlook for 2018 projects this figure to grow by 101.4 percent in two years./Reporter Victor Anthony V. Silva
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