THE 35-year-old Association of Negros Producers (ANP), a major trade and business support organization in the province, is positioning itself right in the middle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution by designing ANP 4.5 Digitalization of Negrense micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The ANP and its members underwent a series of design thinking workshops and consultations facilitated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Negros Occidental and digital advocate Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, also the founder of The Design Thinking Factory.
The processes involved members in an incisive consolidation of stakeholders' insights to form ideas and solutions leveraging on technology, systems and tools to establish ANP and all its members as part of the growing digital economy.
During the ANP 4.5 workshop from May 4 to 5, ANP President Arlene Infante stressed the need for members to improve their digital skills, understand and learn digital platforms for marketing, sales and operations to deliver the Negrense brand anywhere in the world.
Former ANP president Mary Ann Colmenares, who is also the chair of the provincial MSME Development Council, highlighted several ongoing collaborations with external partners to create a full suite of eCommerce platforms for the association members.
She also sees the ANP 4.5's aim to digitalize not only members but ANP as a business support organization in the province.
The ANP, with the support of the provincial government, will soon be formally opening an MSME Hub in Bacolod City to serve as the convergence point of all stakeholders.
Through the hub, the ANP aims to conduct training and other support programs for its members.
For her part, DTI-Negros Occidental Provincial Director Rachel Nufable emphasized the importance of close and effective collaboration between the agency and ANP, which she considers as a strong catalyst organization in the province across industries.
Recently, the DTI has launched a national-level MSME roadmap that strategically factors in digitalization as key to business development and success under the so-called "new normal."
Former ANP president Christina Gaston also stressed the value of encouraging more new members to the organization, especially young entrepreneurs so they can share their new ideas with other members and also benefit from peer learnings with longtime members.
The goal of this week's workshops is also to design a digitalization roadmap for ANP to serve as a guide and milestone tracker for the growth of the organization and its members. (With reports from Jocelle Batapa-Sigue)