THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 will continue its mentorship services this year to reach out and develop more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), particularly in the countryside.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, however said, the agency needs more volunteer mentors to make the program sustainable.

“We will institutionalize the mentoring services in Negosyo Centers by getting experts in the locality on core four areas in business— entrepreneurship tools and product development, market branding, finance, and legal. To do this, we need more volunteer mentors,” said Lopez.

While he lauded the mentoring programs implemented in the different regions, Lopez sees the need to institutionalize the program so it could reach as many MSMEs in the country.

“One of the areas of improvement we saw is how many more mentors out there that we can tap for this program. It is not every day that there is a mentoring program, after these batches graduate, when will be the next?” said Lopez. Part of the plan is to set up four tables at the Negosyo Centers representing the four core areas of business.

The DTI regional offices, on the other hand, need to invite more mentors who will commit their time to serve as mentors of the day on a specific subject. As soon, as the DTI gets the commitment of these mentors, it must disseminate the schedule to MSMEs so they can set up an appointment by calling the DTI office or through the website.

This way, MSMEs need not to queue physically but arrive on the approved schedule.

The Trade chief added that members of the academe who are willing to dedicate their time to coach small business owners can also serve as mentors at the Negosyo Centers.