AS MICRO, small and medium enterprises make a digital pivot to recover and thrive amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, 48 entrepreneurs from Central Visayas have graduated from the multi-sectoral batch of the Kapatid Mentor Micro Entrepreneurs-Money Market Encounter (KMME-MME) program.
For Niel Bantilan, co-owner of N Blessing Farm, agriculture became a welcomed respite after working in a data recovery department of a major telecommunications company.
When the company wanted him to move to Manila, Bantilan decided to stay and plant Carolina Reaper peppers in his farm in the mountain barangay of Pamutan in Cebu City.
“When I first ventured into agriculture, I really didn’t have any direction yet aside from researching on the internet,” he told SunStar Cebu.
Through the KMME, a program by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in partnership with the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE)-Go Negosyo and Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), Bantilan said he now has clear directions for his business plans.
Bantilan joined the other 47 entrepreneurs who graduated virtually on Friday, June 4, 2021. The culmination was joined by DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, PCE-Go Negosyo Joey Ma. Concepcion III and newly appointed DTI 7 Director Ma. Elena Arbon.
“Learning through online may present a lot of challenges but we are proud to have graduated the enrolled mentees. We wish you (mentees) not only to become successful entrepreneurs but job creators as well,” Arbon said.
Baywalk Enterprises owner Riezl Cabanero Chua has managed to finish the online course despite the limitations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We take pride in the work that we do and we will continue to improvise and develop new business strategies and innovations. Our business was closed (during the pandemic) but we have managed to shift to making face masks and face shields,” said Chua, who is from Balamban, Cebu.
Chua, a working mom of two, was originally engaged in advertising, publication and printing services.
“With KMME, I have developed a wider perspective in the business. I learned to be more aggressive in my goals, to be less complacent and to be more visionary. With the pandemic, KMME for me is indeed a very good motivating program that gives us hope for the future and sets back the fire and our burning passion in our businesses,” she added.
The 10-week program aimed to produce confident entrepreneurs engaged in different types of businesses with the right mindset and basic management skills to enable them to sustain their enterprises in the new normal conditions.
“My goal now is to finetune all our systems in the business in bookkeeping, organizational structure, production processes, inventory system and other existing roadblocks and expand our network of production partners in preparation for planned business expansion,” Chua said.
Chua and Bantilan were among the 13 mentee-graduates from Cebu. Other graduates were from Bohol (13), Negros Oriental (14) and Siquijor (eight).
Following the successful completion, DTI Cebu announced it is now accepting applicants for its sectoral batch of KMME Online slated in July.
Owners or managers of businesses engaged in the tourism industry such as resorts, hotels and accommodations, restaurants catering tourists and travel and tours agencies are enjoined to enroll and may register online until June 15. Details of this program can be accessed in the DTI’s Facebook page. (JOB)