DTI assists NegOcc entreps to level up Otop program

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is helping micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Negros Occidental improve their product designs as part of the efforts to level up the one town, one product (Otop) program.

Assistant Secretary for Regional Operations Group Demphna Du-Naga, who spoke at the Otop Next Generation Screening, Assessment and Triage (SAT) session at Planta Hotel here Wednesday, October 18, underscored the values of persistence and aggressiveness which entrepreneurs need to possess to continue improving.

Speaking before 17 participating MSMEs in the province, Du-Naga shared her experiences as an entrepreneur who failed thrice yet was able to recover.

She also conducted site visits in different enterprises in the city, including Yssas Crafts, Handmade Gallery, and The Negros Showroom at SM City Bacolod, to see more of Negros products and how these are made.

Participating MSMEs from the province are the second batch of recipients of Otop Next Generation program in Western Visayas this year.

The first batch comprised of enterprises from different provinces in the region, including 25 from Negros Occidental.

Lea Gonzales, provincial director of DTI-Negros Occidental, said that with a huge number of producers in the province, they catered to second batch of recipients given an available funding.

She said they hired designers to evaluate products from food and non-food sectors based on the set criteria.

“They will assess the products of participating enterprises whether there are areas for further improvement,” Gonzales said, adding that these products will also be screened to move on to the next program.

Last September, the DTI-Negros Occidental also conducted marketing and branding session at Sugarland Hotel here.

The activity, participated by the same group of MSMEs, is still under Otop Next Generation program.

It will be followed by a product development session and participation in a trade fair, also within the year.

Gonzales said the DTI is pushing for provision of focused-assistance, which means being able to reach more enterprises and without being so much confined with geographical location.

“Otop was started three years ago thus, we want to have it leveled up to thwe next generation," she said, adding that "if the product is good and there is market, we will provide assistance to improve even for possible export opportunity." (EPN)
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