NINE small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from food and non-food sectors were recently matched with EchoStore Cebu through the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) speed matching activity.
On top of helping small entrepreneurs improve their products, Elias Tecson, chief trade and industry specialist for business development of the DTI Cebu Provincial Office, said the agency is aggressively looking for potential markets to help SMEs here expand their customer base.
“We in DTI never stop looking for markets for our SMEs. We see to it that we don’t just depend on one buyer to ensure continued purchase order,” said Tecson.
“The speed matching activity we conducted was a way to help them link or network and pitch their products to new retail establishments here that supports local entrepreneurship.”
In the speed matching event, suppliers and buyers are introduced to each other to establish a connection or business relationship. The event aims to upgrade the supply chain of both the supplier and the buyer.
Cebu SMEs were linked with Manila-based EchoStore, which recently opened a branch in Cebu in Paseo Saturnino, Ma. Luisa Road. The store also features the EchoCafe and EchoMarket.
Positioned as “market connectors”, innovators and co-producers, the Echo- Store serves as a home to Filipino products that represent ideals of heath, fair trade and care for the environment. It highlights community products that support local cultural traditions, artistry and ingenuity of Filipinos.
Among the SMEs linked were suppliers of fashion accessories, organic fertilizers, organic rice and honey, dried boneless danggit, tableya and sukarap, turmeric powder, farm products, and bottled seafood.
Tecson also pledged to link DTI’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) program beneficiaries with EchoStore. He said that aside from the foreign markets, there is also a big domestic market to consider and that SMEs here shouldn’t just focus alone in global opportunities.
“Although we are increasing our participation in the global trade, we should not forget that we also have an expanding middle class with young consumers who have high purchasing power willing to spend for the products we produce,” Tecson stressed.
To address supply chain gaps and improve productivity and competitiveness, the DTI continues to encourage SMEs to innovate, diversify, and upgrade through advancements in technology, skills, and research and development.