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Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez challenged some of the country’s top franchisers to continue the entrepreneurial revolution in the Philippines during the opening of the 15th Business and Franchise Expo at the World Trade Center on 14 October.

To sustain the entrepreneurial revolution, Sec. Lopez asked the Association of the Filipino Franchisers, Inc. (AFFI) to inject continuous innovation to develop new franchise models that further empower micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), adding that showing concern for small industry players is the real measure of success.

“An entrepreneurial nation is what will give us a good chance towards economic prosperity,” said Sec. Lopez, emphasizing that Filipinos are now more proud to be called entrepreneurs — a deviation from the negative connotation of being unemployed.

As a way to empower MSMEs, the government — through the DTI — continues to implement programs to nurture the entrepreneurial mindset among Filipinos, as well as urges big industry players to adopt a business model integrating MSMEs in the value chain. He mentioned Project Kapatid, which is a partnership with private organizations like Go Negosyo, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and AFFI that enable big companies to help small entrepreneurs.

The Go Negosyo Act, authored by Sen. Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino III, paved the way towards the establishment of Negosyo Centers nationwide. Just recently, new centers were opened in Davao, Zamboanga and Iloilo, forming part of the 339 centers and counting.

The trade chief also shared ongoing partnerships with the private sector to mainstream the "Go Lokal!" brand in major malls, featuring the best products from both the One Town, One Product (OTOP) program and the MSME sector.

Meanwhile, in the same meeting, former Valenzuela City mayor and now Senator Sherwin Gatchalian underscored that innovation is key in the successful product differentiation amidst today’s tough market competition.

“Innovation is the backbone of entrepreneurship,” said Sen. Gatchalian, adding that the revival of entrepreneurship has become more vibrant today with the government pushing for it.

Sec. Lopez said that such an innovation can be replicated in government processes. According to him, DTI adopted Valenzuela City’s business streamlining efforts as role model in its similar objective to fast track business processing and licensing system, following the instructions of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Sen. Gatchalian said that automation is the solution to the bureaucratic red tape, which is a major entrepreneurial concern today. He expressed hope that automation in Valenzuela City be emulated by other local government units, which are “the first entities that entrepreneurs have contact with.”

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