IN DAVAO Region, about 25 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from the Brand Equity Development (BED) project of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

During the 2nd International Coconut Conference opening last Tuesday, November 7, Philippine Coconut Authority Administrator Romulo dela Rosa pointed out how the lack of branding for coconut by-products remain to be one of the challenges of the industry.

As a response of support, DTI-Davao director Belinda Ambi said they just launched their BED training program. It was conducted last October 24 to 25 for the MSMEs with the objective of improving existing local brands as a means to better widen their domestic and international markets.

Ambi added they had two processors for this training program. She also said of the 25 entrepreneurs benefiting from the BED, two of them are into the value-added coconut production and trade industry.

“The MSMEs were given orientation on branding and seminars for their appreciation of the program and one on one consultation on how they will develop their brands. A graphic designer will be assigned to them to help them develop their brand designs. After which, registration with the Intellectual Property Office will be pursued by December,” said DTI SME Services division chief Rachel Remitio said.

As BED is a nationwide program and is being replicated in different provinces in the country, it aims to develop new Philippine-grown brands for both local and international market.

In a separate interview, DTI-Davao Development Specialist Romeo Vasquez Jr. said their upscaled One Town, One Product (OTOP) Next Gen, another program of DTI geared towards helping MSMEs, will focus more on the products of the specific towns nationwide. Otop Next Gen will also give emphasis on product branding and how these will be presented to the consumers, similar to BED.

“This is expected to be a level higher than Otop. This time, Otop Next Gen focuses on product development and brand equity. It’s more technology-driven and market-driven compared to Otop,” said Vasquez.