Expansion of Ourstore.ph links consumers to Visayan local products, services online

Business.
Business.(Business File photo)

CONSUMERS may soon have the opportunity to buy their favorite local brands from anywhere in the Visayas through a single online marketplace.

This was after the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) expanded the coverage of Ourstore.ph to include products and services offered by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) from the three regions in the Visayas in partnership with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Visayas (PCCI-Visayas).

Melanie Ng, PCCI Visayas area vice president, said PCCI-Visayas will spearhead the expansion. She will be meeting with the three regional governors in the Visayas this week to chart out the next steps.

“Hopefully, Ourstore.ph will sign agreements with five more chambers in the Visayas just like its agreement with Cebu Chamber,” said Ng.

Ng, who was the former PCCI Central Visayas governor, said this initiative is a “great development as it will provide an opportunity for our MSMEs in the Visayas to have an e-commerce presence in a local platform.”

She said the MSMEs will be given support in terms of capacity building, marketing, ads and promotions to be conducted by the USAID (US Agency for International Development) Speed (Strengthening Private Enterprise for the Digital Economy), for Ourstore.ph.

“The objective of the Ourstore.ph project with USAID Speed is to highlight the potential of e-commerce and the online platform to our Visayas MSMES by encouraging them to sign up and by providing them with capacity building tools and digital product placement proficiencies so they can expand their markets online and promote their products globally outside of their physical stores,” said Ng.

The six business chambers in the Visayas will be the ones to submit the merchants list to Ourstore.ph. Among those onboarded onto the digital marketplace is the Department of Trade and Industry-Central Visayas’ One-Town One-Product store.

Ng added plugging the MSMEs onto the digital marketplace forms part of the business chambers’ shared ambition of a “One Visayas” initiative that was passed last year during the 32nd Visayas Area Business Conference in Tagbilaran, Bohol.

This battlecry is supported by the CCCI, Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Panglao Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Siquijor Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Rebranding

Ourstore.ph is the improved version of Cebu Chamber Marketplace, an online store specifically dedicated to the members of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unveiled last year with the backing of USAID Speed, the Cebu Chamber Marketplace was rebranded as Ourstore.ph and has been designated as the pilot project for USAID Speed to cover the MSMEs in all three regions in the Visayas.

USAID launched a five-year, P1 billion ($18 million) partnership with the Philippine government to help SMEs transition to mature e-commerce businesses last year.

The Speed project expands the participation of Philippine SMEs in the country’s emerging e-commerce ecosystem by improving their capacity to adopt digital technologies, supporting the integration of SMEs and e-commerce platforms in logistical supply chains, increasing the use of e-payment systems and other fintech innovations, and strengthening consumer awareness and protection.

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