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19 creatives graduate from DTI’s Dream project

TEN local creatives from Cebu have completed the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) revived Digital Services Entrepreneurs Advancement Mentorship (Dream) program.

They were among the 19 creatives who finished the program in Central Visayas this year.

In addition to the 10 graduates from Cebu, five mentees graduated from Bohol, three from Negros Oriental, and one from Siquijor, all from the creative services sector.

This year, DTI 7 said it partnered with Dual Story and The Company Cebu to revive the free Dream program.

The Dream mentees were immersed in a comprehensive curriculum covering topics such as entrepreneurial mindset, contract reading and writing, financial wealth management, business legalization, client management, project management, market demand analysis, product and brand development, pitch refinement and scaling from a one-person team to a larger team.

Launched in 2021, the Dream Program began as an online training course designed for digital services entrepreneurs and freelancers. It was created in response to the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, aiming to equip businesses with the resilience and adaptability needed to thrive during difficult times.

In collaboration with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the program focused on cultivating local entrepreneurs with a confident mindset and essential management skills. This equipped them to sustain their businesses amid the challenges posed by the pandemic and the new normal conditions.

In 2022, the Dream Project evolved into the Creative Konnect initiative, a subsector program focused on identifying and mapping the creative sector in Central Visayas which then led to the FiestaKucha Cebu celebration in September 2023.

DTI 7 Director Maria Elena Arbon said more programs and activities will be conducted for the local creative industry in September 2024 in celebration of Philippine Creative Industries Month.

“As we embark on this collective endeavor, let us embrace the spirit of the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act, championing the promotion and fortification of our creative industries,” she said.

Industry challenges

Besides the free mentorship, the creation of the Dream Project uncovered industry challenges.

Key issues identified across the creative sub-sectors included concerns about creation, distribution, production, and consumption. These highlighted minimal support for emerging creatives, a lack of industry mentors and advocates, and challenges related to skills transfer and capacity building.

Cebu in particular is eyeing to make the creative industry a P30 billion industry by 2030.

At present, the industry is making P500 million so far, according to Cebuano entrepreneur Mario Panganiban, who is also a trustee of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry and chairman of the Creatives Entertainment Council.

Panganiban said the 2030 goal is achievable with the formation of the Creative Industry Council and Cebu, already being known as home to a lot of creatives.

Cebu has been designated as a creative city of design by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2019. But before that, Cebu has always been championing the creative sector for the past 20 years.

At present, the Cebu City Government is planning to build the Creative District at the North Reclamation Area to support this growing industry that is expected to elevate Cebu in the global spotlight of trade and investments. According to reports, the city needs at least P10 billion to develop a 150-hectare area into a Creative District.

The country’s creative economy was valued at P 1.72 trillion in 2023, contributing 7.1 percent to the country’s gross domestic product. This represents an increase of 6.9 percent from the P1.61 trillion recorded value in 2022.

The creative economy is composed of the following industries: audio and audiovisual media activities; digital interactive goods and service activities; advertising, research and development, and other artistic service activities; symbols and images and other related activities; media publishing and printing activities; music, arts and entertainment activities; visual arts activities; traditional cultural expression activities; and art galleries, museums, ballrooms, conventions, trade shows, and related activities. / KOC

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