THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is eyeing more empowered micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Negros Occidental through the establishment of seven new Negosyo Centers in the province this year.

Lea Gonzales, provincial director of DTI-Negros Occidental, on Monday said they are stepping up efforts to bring the agency’s services to the ground by covering more local government units (LGUs) with Negosyo Centers.

One measure is to establish Negosyo Centers in all 13 cities in the province this year, Gonzales said.

Since 2015, cities with Negosyo Centers are Sagay, Kabankalan, La Carlota, Victorias, San Carlos and Bacolod.

These are on top of those lodged at the Provincial Capitol Complex in Bacolod City and Hinigaran town.

Remaining cities targeted to have their own Negosyo Centers are Bago, Cadiz, Silay, Talisay, Himamaylan, Sipalay, and Escalante.

“Negosyo Centers have been one of our sustaining measures to empower local MSMEs as these efficiently help us in further equipping them to be more competitive entrepreneurs,” Gonzales said.

The establishment of Negosyo Centers is provided under the Republic Act 10644, or the Go Negosyo Act.

It is mainly aimed at providing MSMEs ease in doing business, and facilitates access to grants and other forms of financial assistance, and shared service facilities (SSF), among others.

The law also aims at ensuring management guidance, assistance and improvement of the working conditions of MSMEs, and facilitating market access and linkaging services for entrepreneurs.

DTI-Negros Island Region Director Asteria Caberte, who also heads DTI Central Visayas Region, had earlier said these centers are manifestation of the government’s serious and strong support for the entrepreneurs.

Caberte said it serves as MSMEs development hub, and also one of the government’s measures to create more jobs in the countryside.

Other services provided by the Negosyo Center include business registration and advisories, business information and advocacy, and trainings.

For Negros Occidental, DTI said they are prioritizing the cities in the establishment of Negosyo Centers this year.

“After the 13 cities, we will eventually cover the remaining 18 municipalities in the province with no Negosyo Centers yet,” Gonzales said.

As to the timeline, the agency has yet to wait for the downloading of this year’s budget, Gonzales said, assuring that the seven cities have already committed to partner with DTI.

All Negosyo Centers to be established this year will be lodged with the recipient-cities.

Meaning, it will be in counterparting scheme where the city government provides the area while the DTI takes charge of the refurbishing, basic equipment, and training component, she added.