AN OFFICIAL of the Project Uitzending Managers (PUM) in the Netherlands is again visiting Negros Occidental to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) scale up.

PUM is a Dutch non-government organization (NGO) providing expert advice to SMEs all over the world.

It is an organization composed of senior experts fully funded by the Dutch government. It has been working on assisting people in developing countries like Philippines for about 30 years now.

In Negros Occidental, it assists entrepreneurs to grow by sharing its expertise on various fields like value chain development.

PUM country coordinator for the Philippines Albert Weterings will have a meeting with potential proponents, mostly SMEs in the province, at GT Hotel in Bacolod City on Wednesday.

Mary Ann Colmenares, PUM representative in the province, said the meeting is mainly aimed at helping local SMEs grow their businesses.

She said Weterings is in-charge of assessing business proponents for further development by experts advisers coming to the province next year.

“This meeting is another opportunity which SMEs in the province should take advantage,” Colmenares said, adding that this is a platform designed to equip entrepreneurs to scale up.

Earlier this year, the PUM official also visited the province to discuss with several institutions and groups possible opportunities for small enterprises to be equipped for export ventures.

By helping them grow, more jobs and income are created, which is one of the best ways to achieve better lives for the Filipinos, Weterings had said.

“We want to really create something in Negros, we are going to quadruple our projects here,” he added.

Colmenares said the PUM is now in the process of planning its programs and projects for 2018, and talking about the organization’s new direction.

There will now be funding component like grant programs for various priority sectors like agriculture, tourism, hospitality, and construction, among others, she said.

As part of the activity, Weterings will also visit some cities and municipalities in the province, including Don Salvador Benedicto, with potential areas for horticulture development.

“Negros Occidental is an importer of flowers, we get supplies from other provinces. So why source outside if we can produce our own,” Colmenares said, adding that “these are just among the many areas which the PUM is trying to help develop.”

In the light of stiffer competition brought by the Asean economic integration, “we need to scale up by learning from the best.”

“Also, amid the slump in the sugar industry, we need to learn other means on how to survive,” Colmenares added.

Interested SMEs may coordinate with PUM local representative through 09476816763.