THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 will be training business counselors to handle Negosyo Centers, which the region is eyeing to set up in the second quarter this year.

At least eight centers will be put up across the region, two of which will be in Cebu. DTI has allotted more than P4.7 million to set up the centers.

DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte said at least two business counselors will man Negosyo Centers. The business counselors, who will either come from the DTI or the local government unit (LGU), are tasked to help “diagnose business problems and prescribe business solutions to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).”

“We will conduct intensive trainings to our business counselors so they can provide the best business advisory services, among others to our SMEs,” said Caberte.

The Business One-Stop and Business Resource Centers and other SME Support Centers in the region will be converted to Negosyo Centers. It will be established in all municipalities and cities in the region and is a partnership with the LGU.

Caberte said the establishment of Negosyo Centers is a priority program of the department for SME development. The centers will also be responsible for promoting ease of doing business and facilitating access to services for MSMEs.

It will provide a package of services such as business registration assistance, business advisory, business advocacy and information to SMEs for their development.

The centers will also provide assistance to MSMEs in the availment of technology transfer, production and management training programs, and marketing assistance of the DTI, Department of Science and Technology, University of the Philippines – Institute for Small-Scale Industries, Cooperative Development Authority, Technical Education and Skill Development Authority and other agencies concerned.

MSMEs account for more than 99 percent of all establishments in the country, which comprise 66 percent of the total employment in the private sector.

At present, Negosyo Centers have already been set up in Cagayan de Oro City and Iloilo City.

DTI targets to establish 100 Negosyo Centers this year.