LISTED COMPANY Metro Retail Stores Group Inc. (MRSGI) is banking on the country’s rich festivities to help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) introduce and showcase their products and make them accessible to a wider consumer base, including tourists.

This is part of the company’s efforts of pushing local products from MSMEs to the mainstream public through a project subbed Bayanihang Metro Caravan in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Metro Retail, in a statement, said it will be equipping entrepreneurs with space and kiosks in select Metro stores across Luzon and Visayas to showcase and promote high-quality home-grown products for one month during town fiestas.

MRSGI president and chief operating officer Manuel Alberto said the ongoing partnership with DTI has helped shift consumers’ focus toward sustainable means of shopping and has raised awareness on the importance of supporting local products and entrepreneurs.

“MRSGI has always believed that both buyers and sellers can help positively impact environmental and social concerns. It has consistently strived to present opportunities for viable and worthwhile businesses, especially where domestic products are concerned. We are committed to empowering local entrepreneurs, especially in communities where we do business,” Alberto said.

“This tie-up with DTI is an ideal vehicle for micro-entrepreneurs to enter the larger market of consumers across the country. Not only will domestic products be given the boost needed and deserved, but the partnership also expands the array of products MRSGI offers,” he added.

The DTI Go Lokal provided Metro Retail with a list of MSMEs to be invited to participate in the caravan by region.

Invited MSMEs are provided with a space and kiosk (booth) for the month-long duration of the caravan. There is an allocation of a maximum of 10 booths per store.

The Bayanihang Metro Caravan initiative is an offshoot of last year’s Bayanihang Metro – Go Lokal program still in partnership with the DTI.

After the caravan period, products of the MSMEs that were patronized well by the public will be invited by the Metro Retail stores for retailing inside the Metro Supermarket and or Department Store.

Last April, MSMEs were invited to participate in the Bayanihang Metro Caravan in the Super Metro Lapu-Lapu store in conjunction with the festivities of Kadaugan sa Mactan in Cebu. Home-grown products such as calamansi juice, cacao, coffee, bamboo-made accessories, handicrafts, and souvenir items from the region were featured during the caravan.

MRSGI said it will roll out the Bayanihang Metro Caravan in various Metro Retail Store locations during significant local festivals in succeeding months such as Mantawi Festival, Pasayahan sa Lucena, Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival, Pasig City Day, Ibalong Festival, Karansa Festival, Peñafrancia Fiesta, MassKara Festival, Binaybayon Festival and Sinulog Festival.

MSMEs generate more than half of the country’s employment. The sector plays a critical role in the country’s economic regeneration, job generation and poverty reduction.

Job creators

In 2021, there were about 1,080,810 business enterprises operating in the country, according to the 2021 List of Establishments (LE) of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Of these, 1,076,279 (99.58 percent) were MSMEs and 4,531 (0.42 percent) were large enterprises.

Micro enterprises constitute 90.54 percent (978,612) of total establishments, followed by small enterprises at 8.63 percent (93,230) and medium enterprises at 0.41 percent (4,437).

MSMEs generated a total of 5,461,731 jobs or 64.67 percent of the country’s total employment. The micro enterprises produced the biggest share (32.46 percent), followed by small enterprises (25.08 percent), while medium enterprises were far behind at 7.12 percent.

Large enterprises generated a total of 2,983,847 jobs or 35.33 percent of the country’s overall employment.

MSMEs in the National Capital Region generated 1,372,407 jobs; followed by MSMEs in Calabarzon, 792,068; Central Luzon, 625,619; Central Visayas, 433,068; and Western Visayas, 347,488 jobs.

The top five industry sectors according to the number of MSMEs in 2021 were wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (539,006); accommodation and food service activities (151,748); manufacturing (130,573); and other service activities (69,254); and financial and insurance activities (50,089). These industries accounted for about 87.40 percent of the total number of MSME establishments.

As for the distribution of MSMEs, the majority of them were based in the NCR with 198,652 (18.46 percent) business establishments, Calabarzon with 159,377 (14.81 percent), Central Luzon with 137,677 (12.79 percent), Central Visayas with 77,698 (7.22 percent), and Western Visayas with 73,515 (6.83 percent).

The last comprehensive nationwide updating of the LE was done in 2018. Compared to the results in 2018, the number of establishments increased by 7.7 percent while total employment declined by 5.2 percent. / KOC