THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is shifting this year its priority target in the conduct of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Caravan in Zamboanga Peninsula.

DTI Regional Director Sitti Amina Jain said this year's caravan is different from the previous ones as "it will now be held in the emerging growth centers in the provinces rather than in the cities."

"For this year's SME caravan, we want to reach more MSMEs (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises) in the rural areas. For the longest time, we are conducting this in the capital cities or areas in the region. This time though, we want to further develop our MSMEs based in the emerging growth centers. We want our presence to be felt in rural areas where our services are all the more needed," Jain said.

Jain said they have scheduled an eight-day caravan that will kick off on July 2 and ends on July 11 as part of the agency's efforts in developing and promoting MSMEs.

The caravan will kick off in the village of Ayala, Zamboanga City on July 2-3, after which, the group will proceed to Liloy for the Zamboanga del Norte leg on July 6-7.

The next stop will be in Molave, Zamboanga del Sur on July 8-9; and finally, in Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay on July 10-11, Jain said.

She said MSMEs should take advantage of the caravan as DTI has prepared trainings that would help in the development of their business.

"We are encouraging our MSMEs to participate in the caravan. We have identified various trainings and seminars that will be very beneficial in their development. Best of all, our trainings are for free. We urge them to contact the nearest DTI offices in their area for their attendance," she said.

The trainings and seminars include entrepreneurship trainings, financial management training, product pricing and costing, financing forum, and greening of value chain.

There will be also one-on-one consultations with the MSMES, and presentation of programs by the different SME core members in support to MSME development and promotion aside from the trainings, Jain said.