Biz expo helps micro, small businesses recover, create linkages

BUSINESS EXPO. Products from various localities in Iloilo and other neighboring provinces are on display at the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Iloilo chapter’s Iloilo Business Expo at the Festive Walk Mall on Thursday (Jan. 25, 2023). ILOBEX, which will run until Jan. 28, seeks to link micro and small businesses to viable markets to help them recover from the effects of the pandemic.
BUSINESS EXPO. Products from various localities in Iloilo and other neighboring provinces are on display at the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry - Iloilo chapter’s Iloilo Business Expo at the Festive Walk Mall on Thursday (Jan. 25, 2023). ILOBEX, which will run until Jan. 28, seeks to link micro and small businesses to viable markets to help them recover from the effects of the pandemic. PNA PHOTO

ILOILO CITY – Micro and small businesses here have found a big brother in the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Iloilo chapter’s Iloilo Business Expo (ILOBEX) that will help them bounce back from the effects of the health pandemic and establish linkages to promote and market their products, the Department of Trade and Industry said Thursday.

Now in its second year, ILOBEX gathers nearly 300 entrepreneurs in Iloilo and neighboring provinces at the Festive Walk Iloilo and Robinsons Place from Jan. 24 to 28.

“A big percentage of our MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) are micro. They cannot afford to rent in the malls. This is a good venue where they can really showcase their products and then maybe, though their experience here and their linkage with PCCI, they will develop their confidence to further pursue entrepreneurship,” DTI 6 (Western Visayas) officer in charge Rachel Nufable said in an interview.

Nufable said ILOBEX is a big help because micro businesses need assistance in promoting and marketing their products as they recover from the pandemic.

“This is also a venue where small entrepreneurs from other towns and areas can avail of various training programs to further improve,” she said.

PCCI-Iloilo president Fulbert Woo said this year's expo is dubbed the “biggest local expo” because it caters to all types of businesses.

“We have big plans for ILOBEX. The investment of ILOBEX is not only for MSMEs this time. The investments of ILOBEX will cater to all types of business, from the MSMEs to big construction, and so on,” he said in his message.

He also encouraged businesses with no physical stores to “become visible” by joining the ILOBEX trade fair.

Aulynn B. Yue Sin, head of Iloilo province’s local economic development and investment promotions office (LEDIP), said showcasing homegrown talents and products in trade fairs like ILOBEX goes a long way in helping small businesses recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“I know that bouncing back does not take one year or a few years, it is a long-time process, and we are supportive of this particular endeavor,” she said in her message.

One of the exhibitors came from as far as the City of Tacurong in Sultan Kudarat who arrived on Jan. 22.

Tacurong tourism officer Emelie P. Jamoraban, in an interview, said they brought with them delicacies, fruits, and other local products, such as bags produced by a women's association in their city, and coffee as Sultan Kudarat claims to be the coffee capital of the Philippines.

“We are supporting our stakeholders because they don’t have yet the capacity to bring their products in these areas,” she said. (PNA)

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