MORE and more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) will be given the opportunity to showcase their products to the mainstream market and grow their small ventures to become full-fledged enterprises following the opening of the flagship One Town, One Product (Otop) Philippines Hub inside Ayala Center Cebu.
This is a year after Department of Trade and Industry 7 Director Ma. Elena Arbon made an announcement of the agency’s goal of opening an inline store in the mall to cater to both local and foreign buyers with Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Lamac Coop) as its hub operator.
Products of 57 MSMEs were initially onboarded to the Otop Hub store. More merchants are expected to join in the coming weeks as the DTI 7 continues to onboard assisted MSMEs.
DTI Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona from Regional Operations Group likened the Otop hub to Japan’s growing “antenna shop” that is now largely associated with shops promoting regional goods.
The MSMEs were provided with a 110.24 square meter retail area at the second level of the Ayala Center Cebu. As DTI’s staunch supporter in helping MSME’s grow, the mall offered free rental for one year and minimal payment for other common charges, which will be shouldered by Lamac Coop, the first coop to act as an incorporator of an Otop hub.
DTI 7 also sought the expertise of the Design Center of the Philippines to create the store’s layout design.
The Otop hubs established in all of Ayala Malls across the country is under the Alagang Ayala Land program that focuses on generating livelihood and jobs through social enterprises.
Arbon said the Otop Hub in Ayala Center Cebu is the sixth of its kind in Central Visayas and 112th nationwide that features a curated selection of products, including those based on coco, cacao, coffee, processed food, processed fruits and nuts, bamboo, as well as wearables and homestyle items.
She said the agency’s “ultimate goal” is for the hub to “provide a more conducive business environment for the top MSMEs in Central Visayas, maximize their business potential, and develop into a more stable and reliable enterprise, thus sustaining their operations.
The Otop Hub will serve as a marketing platform to sell and promote Central Visayas’ Otop products, incubation and market testing facility, and provide local and international tourists with a convenient and one-of-a-kind pleasant shopping destination for innovative and high quality Otop products - at any day, and any time.
Central Visayas already has five physical Otop hubs: two in Bohol (Otop Hub Island City Mall managed by the Alturas Supermarket Corp. and Otop Hub Crissander managed by Crissander Enterprises); one in Cebu (Otop Hub Terminal 1, Cebu Port Authority managed by the Cebu GTH Foundation Inc.); one in Negros Oriental (Otop Hub Dumaguete managed by Subida Souvenirs); and one in Siquijor (Otop Hub Siquijor managed by Duran’s Banana Products).
These Otop Hubs, according to Arbon have generated P18.28 million in sales and have provided assistance to more than 600 MSMEs since 2018.
From 2017 to 2023, Otop Philippines has already assisted 79,985 MSMEs, developed 39,815 products, and conducted 1,390 trade fairs.
The launching Otop Ayala Center Cebu also coincides with the month-long celebration of the Creative Month and is a welcome development following the passage of the Otop Law.