The Board of Investments Extension Office (BEO) Davao recently gave a green light to Pistacia Mindanao Coffee Export, Inc. (PMCEI)'s Php1 Million coffee growing project, its first Micro and Small Enterprise (MSE) project approval under the Export Activities of the 2017 Investments Priorities Plan (IPP).

The project involves the production and manufacture of fermented coffee and cacao beans with a capacity of 2,250kg a year and 750kg a year, and will be 100 percent exported to Japan.

The firm will engage in the development of coffee growers and provide technical assistance in terms of growing, sorting and harvesting of coffee.

PMCEI specializes in producing high-quality agricultural crops especially fermented coffee and cacao beans sourced from smallholder farmers. It would provide end-to-end support to smallholder farmers with access to technology and market. Through this innovative business, it will increase and sustain farmers’ yields, income and eventually improve quality of life.

The project will be located in Brgy. Managa, Bansalan, Davao del Sur. Commercial operation is scheduled to begin this month. PMCEI is 80 percent Japanese owned corporation. ♦

Two graduates of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) program have shared their success following the interventions under this initiative. 
Kristine Mae Flores of   Khit’s Homemade Products and Sofia Tricia Zosa of Sofia’s Home Baked Goodies are currently doing good in marketing their products since their graduation from KMME last December 5, 2016. They are among the 232 KMME graduates, as of December 2017.
The meat processor started her business on July 07, 2014. She narrated that the trainings and seminars she availed of from DTI and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have helped her improve her pork longganisa, pork tocino, pork embutido, chicken longganisa, chicken tocino, chickenembutido. Some of them also gave a boost to her skills in running her business.
From then on, I applied all the learning in running my business. By doing so, I have really felt the difference,” Flores said
She further noted that she has been able to slowly build the confidence needed in marketing her products. Her network of potential customers has also increased because her co-participants in the KMME program have become her customers as well. Only after five months since graduation, she added new products - chicken and pork tocino.
She said the Mentor ME program of DTI was very timely and a blessing for her. 
I am indeed so lucky to be one of the mentees of the pioneering batch of 2016, which nurtured me with the right mindset and the business skills to help me manage my business well,” she said.
For her, the program is like a short course on entrepreneurship,yet a very comprehensive one. Particularly, she learned the technical definitions, concepts and principles about running a business through lectures by experts and successful entrepreneurs.
Meanwhile, the Business Improvement Plan (BIP) presentation,as requirement for graduation, has given her a clear picture of her target market.  She is about to celebrate her fourthanniversary in the business with new markets and an increase of 75 percent in her production.
would like to emphasize among the young aspiring entrepreneurs that as long as you have dreams and you believe that they will happen, in God’s grace, they will surely happen at the right time. Dream big and aim high!” she said. 
On the other hand, Zosa started her online business at the age of 16. She described it as accidental since it began when an “online friend” asked her to deliver 100 pieces of cupcakes.
“It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, actually,” she said.
She became the fresh trainer for DTI-Davao Region’s kakanin and pastry classes. On the onset of her participation to the KMME program, she opened her first café in Davao, applying all the learning from Mentor ME. After the graduation, she was able to supply to one of her mentors, Mary Ann M.Monrtemayor’s Habi at Kape snack bar at Abreeza Mall and Villa Margarita Hotel
For her, Mentor ME is like a modern bayanihan, a helping hand and a great support system for fresh entrepreneurs. Just like her favourite quotation that says Continue to soar high and be an inspiration to the new mentees, Zosa is determined to make things bigger for her.
Flores and Zosa are just barely a year out of their KMMEgraduationhowever, they have already levelled up in theirbusinessesas proved by the new markets they have developedan expansion of their facilities. ♦

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Davao Region is urging the public to only patronize Christmas lights brands that adhere to mandatory standards.

The agency emphasized that uncertified ones, or those which do not have Product Standard (PS) and Import Commodity Clearance (ICC) certificates, may pose danger to the users and their properties as these may cause fire.

DTI-Davao Regional Director Maria Belenda Q. Ambi said consumers must be cautious in buying holiday decorations, especially if such need electricity in order to work.

“For years now, DTI has really been advocating the use of safe and certified Christmas lights. We want to continuously remind consumers that those which do not meet the standards may cause their lives and properties,” she explained.

As early as September, the agency already started its monitoring activities throughout the region to ensure that the Christmas lights being sold in the local market are all PS or ICC-certified.

All certified Christmas lights are imported with PS marks or ICC stickers. PS marks are for foreign manufacturers with PS Certification Mark License, while ICC stickers are issued to importers with approved ICC. The hologram ICC sticker contains security features that can be verified by inspection with a seven-digit alpha-numeric serial number.

For 2017, all ICC certificates for Christmas lights issued by the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) from January 1, 2013 to present are still valid. Starting this year, the validity of the ICC certificates issued for imported Christmas lights shall be for a period of five years.

“Consumers should check that the name of the manufacturer, distributor and trademark are on the product packaging. If they want to gather another proof of the product’s quality and certification, they may also ask for a copy of the actual certificate,” she added.

The mandatory certification of LED Christmas lights or lighting chains shall be implemented by the BPS using PNS 189:2000 as reference to protect the consumers from the proliferation of substandard LED Christmas lights in the local market.

Exempted from the mandatory certification scheme are the following:

  • Christmas lights integral in Christmas trees/decors;
  • Rope lights;
  • Meteor tube lights/stick lights/laser lights;
  • Christmas lights using Edison screw lamp holder;
  • Battery-operated Christmas lights; and,
  • Other types may be exempted subject to further verification by the BPS.

For the complete list of certified Christmas lights, consumers may visit Regular consumer updates are posted as well on DTI-Davao Region’s official Facebook page: DTI Region XI.

Meanwhile, DTI released a number of consumer tips when buying Christmas lights. Among them are the following:

  •  There must only be three cascades (not more than three sets of 100 bulbs are connected to each other);
  • Always turn off the Christmas lights when it is time to sleep. Never light them up overnight;
  • Never use sets that have damaged wires and busted bulbs;
  • When replacing bulbs, make sure that the replacement has the same wattage; and,
  • Always read the instruction manual.

Ambi encouraged the public to report to the nearest DTI office immediately should they find uncertified or substandard products or have been victims of unscrupulous business practices.♦

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Davao Region takes pride in the 232 graduates it has produced under its Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) program which started last October 7, 2016.

The agency revealed that the initiative which deems to develop more successful micro entrepreneurs was able to record 20 graduates in 2016 and 212 this year.

For 2016, all 20 MSMEs who graduated were from Davao City. Meanwhile, for 2017, 42 were from Davao City, 44 from Davao del Sur, 19 from Davao Occidental, 40 from Davao del Norte, 20 from Compostela Valley and 47 from Davao Oriental.

The 10-week program of the KMME had weekly modules on marketing, financial management, human resource management, and operations management, among others. These graduates were provided with high calibre mentors who shared their time, knowledge, skills, expertise and tips. On the 10th week, the mentees presented their Business Improvement Plan (BIP), incorporating the learning from the lectures and mentoring sessions in front of a panel composed of marketing/operations management mentors and micro financing institution (MFI) representatives who can possibly assist them on their financing needs.

DTI and the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) – Go Negosyo conceptualized the KMME program to serve as the entrepreneurs’ guide to become a globally competitive enterprise, this being one of the strategies of the government to provide jobs to Filipinos and boost economic growth focusing on the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as they soar to greater heights.

DTI-Davao Regional Director Maria Belenda Q. Ambi, during her inspirational talk in Mati City recently during the KMME graduation in the province, expressed her appreciation for the mentees who religiously attended the 10-week program.

“This only shows that MSMEs nowadays are inspired to improve their productivity, be involved in value-adding activities and be of help to other people by creating job opportunities and become engine of growth,” Ambi said.

For 2018, DTI, through its field offices in the five provinces and one chartered city in Davao Region, will still be conducting the KMME. Thus, MSMEs who are interested to avail of the mentoring sessions may contact DTI-Provincial Office nearest them.♦

DAVAO CITY - The regional offices of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) here are set to hold a two-day event that will not only benefit the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), but the job seekers and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) as well.
Tagged as “Trabaho, Negosyo, at Kabuhayan” (TNK), the event is expected to gather key stakeholders and highlight four activities which will happen on October 26 and 27 at Felcris Centrale along Quimpo Boulevard, Davao City.
The TNK will feature a jobs fair, livelihood and MSME seminars and workshops, trade fair and exhibit, and business and livelihood consultancy and advisory services.
DTI-Davao Regional Director Maria Belenda Q. Ambi said the event is the agency’s response to the Philippine government’s development goals underscored in “Ambisyon 2040: Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay” and “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”
“Apart from the Ambisyon 2040 development blueprint, the TNK is specifically geared towards contributing to Goals 8 and 9 of the 2030 Agenda,” the official said.
Goal 8 talks about “Decent Work and Economic Growth,” while Goal 9 aims to ”Build Resilient Infrastructure, Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Industrialization and Foster Innovation.”
Ambi further revealed that a total of 70 companies, 30 overseas and 40 domestic, will join the job fair. They are expected to offer at least 700 job opportunities, ranging from clerical to managerial positions.
Meanwhile, the participating MSMEs, who will come from the different parts of the region, will be given the chance to find new markets as they exhibit their products and services in the trade fair. They will be provided as well with training programs and advisory services to improve their business management skills.
Those who would like to start their own business, on the other hand, may attend the lined-up livelihood seminars, which include entrepreneurial seminars on wearable and homestyle upcycling, mind-setting, and urban gardening.
Aside from attending these seminars, they may also opt to avail of the on-site business licensing and registration.
The OFWs, who have financial needs, are likewise anticipated to benefit the upcoming event since several microfinancing institutions and commercial banks will participate.  Cooperatives that are interested to avail of the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso (P3) may visit the TNK to learn more about the Duterte administration’s financing program.
For the consumer sector, the Consumer Organizations Summit will be conducted on October 26. Consumer-related issues and recommended interventions to empower the sector are anticipated to be discussed. The regional tilt on poster-making and quiz bee will be made, too.
“We are definitely optimistic about achieving our objectives, especially that we have the support of other government agencies and the private sector,” Ambi pointed out.
Among the partners of DTI-Davao Region for the October 2017 edition of TNK are the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), Home Development and Mutual Fund (Pag-ibig), Social Security System (SSS), Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), Public Employment Service Office (PESO), and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
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