Connecting SMEs to big businesses

LOCAL suppliers and business establishments in Northern Mindanao have gathered in Cagayan de Oro City as the region's Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Board of Investments (BOI) started its program to help link the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with big companies.

The Procurement Matching, held at the VIP Hotel, Cagayan de Oro on Thursday, August 23, is part of DTI-Northern Mindanao's strategy to facilitate access to market, establishing a market link between the local suppliers of the region and the buyers.

“Procurement Matching is a platform where buyers and sellers meet face-to-face,” Ma. Christina Gabia, DTI-Northern Mindanao Business Development Division chief, said.

“It is linking small and medium enterprises with big companies. So the big companies are the users and the buyers, and we try to link them with the ones that are either producing the products or the one processing the products, which are small and medium enterprises,” Lourdes Ellen Kionisala, BOI-Cagayan de Oro chief, said.

More than 50 SMEs from the five provinces of the region - Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Occidental - who are local suppliers or producers of processed food, fresh fruits and vegetables, beverages, spices, and condiments participated in the event.

The buyers or the institutional markets present in the matching, meanwhile, were: AnakCiano Incorporated, Limektkai Luxe Hotel, N Hotel, VIP Hotel, Vjandep Ventures Inc., Bigby's Corporation, Amley Food Corporation, Streetby Agila Innovations Inc., and YSU Marketing Corporation.

According to Gabia, through the procurement matching, the products of the SMEs will be promoted to potential buyers and, in turn, will help generate sales.

“The benefits really are, well they promote their products with the potential buyer, and the most important thing is to generate sales. And hopefully with the sales, if business relationship will be good, that will be maintained, so that to sustain income for these SMEs,” Gabia said.

“It’s also on the part of us, being the Board of Investments, we are really promoting inclusive business wherein the big companies source out their needs from local companies,” Kionisala added.

According to the chief of BOI-Cagayan de Oro, during their month-long preparation, they focused more on those that are BOI-registered or assisted by the government. A survey to the big companies involved was also done.

“We first focus on those that are being assisted by government, the BOI-registered, because these are priority projects of the government, these are projects that are needed by our economy in order to grow. We focus on that. And we did a survey. We asked the companies what were their requirements, what were the things that they were buying,” Kionisala said.

After that, the BOI coordinated with DTI-Northern Mindanao to look for suppliers in accordance to what was listed by the companies, she added.

“So this activity today is a culmination of a month-long preparation to let the buyers and the suppliers meet. And in that way, we are looking forward really to having growth inclusively within us,” Kionisala said.

Jo Lozano, owner of the RJ-Sun Tropical Herbs and Fruits, a local business from Bukidnon that produces guyabano-based products, meanwhile, has expressed gratitude for the DTI-Northern Mindanao's assistance to the SMEs.

“DTI has helped us a lot because with some of our clients going into big markets, it’s always the DTI. Because the DTI has been there for promotions. So it helps us to promote our products and of course to look for possible clients just like what we are having now, the procurement matching,” Lozano said.

“I was able to meet buyers from hotels which are good for us, especially for our Guyapure for the shake preparation. So it helps us augment our income,” she added.

Jerome de la Fuente, general manager of Limketkai Luxe Hotel, expressed interest in making local growers or producers showcase their products not just in Mindanao but also in the other parts of the country such as Cebu and Manila.

“What I'm more interested is to make the growers get out and be able to sell not just in Mindanao, or even in Cagayan de Oro, but also in Manila. And I've already spoken with DTI how we can bring the growers of Mindanao down to Manila,” De la Fuente said.

“Hopefully we can really get more of this [procurement matching] not only in Cagayan de Oro, but in the major cities. Meaning we can go to Davao, we can compete with the Davao growers, and we can also sell in Cebu and eventually conquer Manila,” he added.

For those SMEs who were not able to join the procurement matching, Kionisala said they can visit the DTI office or the BOI, adding that they will give them the contact details and profiles of the companies.

“Even before this day, we have already pre-matched, so they may not come here today but they know already that there are these requirements so we will continue to do that,” Gabia said.


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