OVER 100 entrepreneurs in Central Visayas met with officials of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 and experts in the private sector for a two-day individual assessment under the One-Town-One-Product (Otop) NextGen Program.
The Otop NextGen is the expanded Otop launched in 2004, a priority program of the Arroyo administration to promote entrepreneurship and create jobs. Through Otop, local chief executives took the lead in identifying, developing and promoting a specific product or service for their city or municipality.
After 13 years, DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte said the trade agency has rolled out the Otop NextGen, one that adopts a “market-driven” approach, instead of the previous one that primarily addressed marketing and branding concerns.
“The Otop before was not market-driven, but now the market should tell us what Otop should be,” said Caberte.
The Otop NextGen also fosters greater public-private collaboration with the Design Center of the Philippines together with the Bureau of Domestic Trade and the DTI’s Industry Promotions Group as well as its Regional Operations Group.
During yesterday’s session, 51 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from Bohol, Negros Oriental and Siquijor were screened during the Otop NextGen launching. Today, at least 50 MSMEs from Cebu will undergo the screening at the Golden Prince Hotel in Cebu City. Most of them are involved in the business of food and delicacy making, home accessories, bags and other fashion accessories, among others.
During the screening, experts gave their suggestions based on quality, design, standards compliance, marketability and production capability of the participants’ business.
In addition, the MSMEs that participated in the OTOP NextGen screening will have the chance to be part of the Go Lokal Store.
Go Lokal is a DTI-led initiative in collaboration with selected retail partners, where MSMEs can showcase their products inside the mall at a minimal fee. Caberte said this will provide marketing and incubating avenues for local products.
Caberte said the trade agency, with its panel of experts from the private sector, had already pre-identified at least 10 MSMEs qualified to join the Go Lokal store.
DTI 7 has expressed its interest in opening a Go Lokal Store in the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Terminal 2, but this has not progressed yet.