DTI to digitize Sari-Sari stores

DTI Logo
DTI Logo

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched its new initiative aimed at upgrading micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and enhancing their competitiveness through digitalization.

Dubbed Sari-Sari Store Advancement Program, this intervention is open to all sari-sari store owners who wish to grow their businesses.

“We aim to help our sari-sari store owners learn the skills and knowledge seen in larger businesses, such as digital transactions, e-commerce marketing, financing and sustainability,” said DTI Undersecretary Ed Sunico at the Bagong Pilipinas Town Hall Meeting led by Trade Chief Alfredo Pascual at the University of the Philippines Cebu Campus on Friday, May 24, 2024.

The launching of the Sari-Sari Store Advancement Program was witnessed by select MSMEs in the Visayas islands.

According to Sunico, 94 percent of the country’s population relies on small and micro retailers.

“According to data, there are over 1.3 million sari-sari stores across the Philippines. These 1.3 million stores are essential to both the formal and informal sectors of the economy for daily life,” he said.

The DTI official said they will mount monthly webinars where sari-sari store owners can participate and join the community at Negosyo Centers for learning opportunities and networking to grow their business.

The monthly webinars will start on June 26 with a module on upgrading one’s business through digital solutions.

On July 24, the online business coaching will touch topics on online marketing through tapping social media channels while on Aug. 28, the module will cover growing profits using new digital products.

There will be discussions on using digital tools for maintaining a healthy store inventory on Sept. 25 and sustainable operations on Oct. 23.

“We are poised to significantly enhance the operating landscape for MSMEs through digital transformation,” said Pascual.

“By integrating digital technologies, MSMEs can enhance operational efficiency, cut costs, access broader markets and increase profitability. This includes digital platforms linking local stores directly to manufacturers, facilitating cashflow-based credit through accumulated sales data and enterprise data-driven credit scoring.”

One of the improvements in the delivery of services to MSMEs is the use of artificial intelligence in Small Business Corp. (SB Corp.) credit decision.

“What use to take two to three months to make a decision of credit, they are able to do it now in two days,” the trade chief said.

SB Corp. is DTI’s financial arm.

Besides introducing the sari-sari store program, the DTI on Friday also extended assistance worth P8 million to the MSMEs in the Visayas.

The agency also released the approved loan applications under the Rise UP program, distributed the Pangkabuhayan sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa program business kits and awarded the deed of donation for the transfer of ownership of the Shared Service Facilities to MSME beneficiaries.

The Visayas, according to Pascual, is crucial to the country’s economy, contributing 14 percent to the Philippines’ gross domestic product, with Central Visayas at seven percent, Western Visayas at five percent and Eastern Visayas at two percent.

Pascual encouraged every stakeholder present at the town hall meeting to actively participate in their initiatives by sharing insights, engaging in policy discussions and helping refine strategies to better serve the diverse needs of the entire Visayas. / KOC

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