THE financing arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Small Business Corp (SBCorp) and Alaska Milk Corp. (AMC) have joined forces in implementing the Sustaining Trade and Access to Primary Food and Link to Enterprises (Staples) program.

Under Staples, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies such as AMC can have access to collateral and interest-free loans from SBCorp for their working capital requirements.

“The DTI, as led by Secretary Ramon Lopez, would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Alaska Milk Corp. for opening its doors to the Staples Program. This partnership with SBCorp could not have come at a better time and we are very positive that it will impact the MSME players in the food supply chain affected by the pandemic,” said Lantayona.

Staples aims to prevent the closure of business operations of MSME retail outlets, especially the small community retailers commonly known as “sari-sari” stores. Moreover, Staples also aims to enable these target MSME stores to retain or to rehire their employees as they continue their business operations.

SBCorp seeks to work hand-in-hand with FMCG companies in the vetting of MSMEs that are part of their supply chain network and in information dissemination on Staples--with the end of easy access to the loan program.

SBCorp chief executive officer and president Ma. Luna Cacanando said the Staples program is aimed at fostering the growth, revival and empowerment of MSME food retailers approaching post-pandemic times.

“We envision our MSMEs to become an even stronger force as the economy recovers from the slow-down in the past months, by way of increased access to retrofitted financing that is meant to give them the needed boost to buy more business inventories and to reabsorb their personnel. The financing offered to them by government through Staples is more responsive and efficient as we adopt more fully digitalized lending processes,” Cacanando said.

She hopes more FMCGs will join the program for it to be able to reach more MSMEs in the retail food supply chain, especially sari-sari stores. In October this year, another FMCG--Monde Nissin also signed up as a partner of Staples. (with PR)