AT LEAST 16 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) of this city have benefited from the training on information technology (IT) that is deemed necessary to improve their business.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo personally awarded the certificates of entitlement to the MSMEs during a ceremony last January 5 at the Marco Polo Hotel. The awarding was part of the program launching of the Virtual Poultry Farming and Saba Banana Integrated Development Program.

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The 16 MSMEs are the first batch of beneficiaries of the Training Enhancement for Competitiveness in Harnessing Innovative Entrepreneurs (Project Techie) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine National IT Standards Foundation, Incorporated (Philnits).

Nenita F. Navales of Navales Foods, in her short interaction with the President during the ceremony, said that the project has greatly helped her in gaining some important inputs in web marketing.

"Kami nga dugay na, wala kaayo mi nahibaluan sa computer. Nakatabang gyud ni'g dako sa amua, President (Like us, who have been in the business for so long, we are not that computer literate. This has helped us a lot)," said Navales who has been in food processing for 15 years already.

Project Techie is an integrated approach in IT, enabling MSMEs through: 1) partnership building; 2) trainings; and 3) support to project secretariat. It is a response to the mandate of the present administration that calls for the promotion and development of MSMEs as a means to stimulate economic activity in the countryside.

It is likewise a tool, which can help local MSMEs boost their productivity and income since they're taught about how to maximize the Internet in their promotion/marketing efforts.

Project Techie has five levels of trainings, from basic computer literacy to comprehensive web marketing. Each level/phase is composed of two batches. The project started last December and will end in June this year. The trainings are given to interested MSMEs for free.