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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) significantly expanded and strengthened its support and services to the growing number of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) nationwide, tripling the number of Negosyo Centers established across the country from 144 in 2015 to 447 in 2016.

In 2016, DTI hit almost 200% of the 150 target with 298 Negosyo Centers built. Majority of the Centers launched last year covered the period July to December 2016 under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, with 197 centers launched.

DTI also surpassed its set targets for the establishment of Negosyo Centers for two consecutive years. In 2015, DTI established 144 Centers, exceeding the 100 target.

People’s partner

Through Negosyo Centers, DTI assisted a total of 491,314 clients nationwide and conducted over 6,000 seminars for MSMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs. Negosyo Centers also created over 41,000 MSMEs. There were 213,092 clients served from July to November 201 alone.

“An entrepreneurial nation is what will give the Philippines a good chance towards economic prosperity. Negosyo Centers are people’s partners towards inclusive growth. This is part of the government’s commitment to encourage entrepreneurship among ordinary Filipinos,” said DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez.

As infrastructures of entrepreneurship, Negosyo Centers provide efficient services to MSMEs across the archipelago, including through provision of business mentoring services, information on market and access to money. These Centers are expected to bring in business opportunities to communities and MSMEs and contribute to countryside development.

MSMEs, backbone of the Philippine economic growth, have become a priority of President Duterte, with the DTI placing the sector’s development at the center of the trade agenda. The sector is composed of 99.6% of locally registered businesses, generating over one million jobs each year.

‘Go Negosyo’ Act

The launching of Negosyo Centers are in line with Republic Act No. 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act which aims to help MSMEs, promote ease of doing business, facilitate access to grants and other forms of financial assistance to MSMEs and provide access to Shared Service Facilities (SSF) and other equipment.

Principally authored by Senator Bam Aquino, RA 10644 also indicates support for MSMEs through national government agencies (NGAs), easier business registration, provision of management guidance, improved working conditions, and facilitation of market access and linkage services for entrepreneurs.

OFW lanes at Negosyo Centers

A special lane has been opened for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) at Negosyo Centers. In essence, these lanes provide OFWs and their families options to either pursue business and stay in the country for good or continue working abroad and entrust business to their families and relatives.

One of the success stories is the former OFW couple whoe In an anecdote shared by Sen. Aquino, an OFW family went to a Negosyo Center in Iloilo City to explore possible government support it could get in rolling out a business.

Completing the initial registration, the OFW family was provided training needed to start a small pastry shop. Taking advantage of an OFW facility offered by a local bank, the family expanded its bakeshop by purchasing more equipment.

With such improvements, the family’s local pastry shop has now become one of the suppliers of cupcakes served in Filipino coffee shops and retail outlets.

Sec. Lopez called on OFWs to invest back in the country as demand for work abroad may not be an all-time high. He said that OFWs may explore idea-based, demand-driven and innovation-led business and investment opportunities at home in the industries of food, franchising, agriculture and services.

“OFWs’ distinguishing characteristic of being hardworking is the same element that will lead them to better quality of life,” he said.

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