DTI helps SMEs prepare for Asean integration

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Monday, July 21, 2014


THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 said it is intensifying the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Roving Academy to help the sector prepare for next year’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) integration.

DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte said her office already conducted trainings for 689 SMEs across four provinces in the region as of June 30.

Among the trainings conducted are on entrepreneurship, financial management, product pricing and costing as well as packaging and labeling, product design and development and greening the tourism industry.

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Caberte said “greening the value chain” or including ecological practices in the company’s business processes is becoming popular in the sector.

She said SMEs now fully understand the importance and advantage of ecological practices in production not only to address market requirements and but also to be recognized and accepted in the global market.

The SME Roving Academy is a continuous learning program for the development of micro, small and medium enterprises to become competitive.

Scared

Although there are still some SMEs who are scared of the Asean integration, Caberte said the sector must be ready to face both challenges and opportunities that come with it. She said the SME Roving Academy is just one of the many government programs extended to help the sector take advantage of the integration.

Among the challenges the SMEs face are poor access to finance, technology, and skills as well as information gaps and difficulties in product quality and marketing.

“The integration should be seen on a positive perspective. It opens opportunities for the sector to tap new markets as well as make their products present in other Asean countries,” she said. Caberte said the integration among the 10-member Asean economies has been going on for several years.

“In order for this sector to step up and be competitive, they should take advantage of the government programs,” Caberte said. She said DTI is doing its best in streamlining business procedures to make doing business easier for this sector.

Jay Yuvallos, SME representative of the Asean Business Advisory Council-Philippines said about 89 percent to 99 percent of companies in Asean are SMEs.

This sector accounts for 52 percent to 97 percent of employment and contributes between 23 percent to 58 percent in gross domestic product (GDP) with a share of 10 percent to 30 percent in total exports.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 22, 2014.

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