The National Capital Region (NCR), also known as Metropolitan Manila is the country’s political, economic, and educational center. The smallest region in the Philippines, it is the most densely populated region which is a home to over 12 million Filipinos. It has sixteen (16) highly urbanized cities composed of Manila, Quezon City, Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig, San Juan, Taguig, and Valenzuela, all broken down into 1,705 barangays.


Shaped by foreign powers, Manila became the capital of the Philippines in 1571 under the Spanish rule. Mariquina also served as the capital from 1898–1899, under the colonization of United States. In 1901, the recreation of Manila at the time of the Philippine Commonwealth was commissioned to create the grand Plan of Manila, composed of the places and parishes of Binondo, Ermita, Intramuros, Malate, Manila, Pandacan, Quiapo, Sampaloc, San Andrés Bukid, San Fernando de Dilao, San Miguel, San Nicolas, Santa Ana de Sapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Mesa and Tondo.

President Quezon established Quezon City in 1939 to be the capital city of the country from 1948-1976. It was returned back to Manila through Presidential Decree No. 940, stating that Manila has always been to the Filipino people and in the eyes of the world, the premier city of the Philippines.

The City of Greater Manila was abolished by the Japanese with the formation of the Philippine Executive Commission to govern the occupied regions of the country. The City of Greater Manila served as a model for the present-day Metro Manila and the administrative functions of the Governor of Metro Manila that was established during the Marcos administration.

On November 7, 1975, Metro Manila was formally established through Presidential Decree No. 824, under the management of the Metropolitan Manila Commission. On June 2, 1978, through Presidential Decree No. 1396, the metropolitan area was declared the National Capital Region of the Philippines, with the President’s wife Imelda Marcos as the first governor.

In 1995, President Corazon Aquino reorganized the structure of the Metropolitan Manila Commission and renamed it to the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, with its chairperson appointed by the President.


The City of Manila produce industrial-related products such as chemicals, textiles, clothing electronic goods, food, beverages, and tobacco products. The growth in services and industry fueled the expansion in NCR’s construction and manufacturing — making NCR the largest contributor to the country’s production of goods and services at 36.6% GDP. Majority of the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in operation can also be found in the NCR, with

190,166 business establishments and creating 61.6% of the total jobs generated in the Philippines last 2015.

Number of Establishments and Total Employment in NCR (MSMEs)

Number of Establishments and Total Employment in NCR (MSMEs)

Annual Population Growth Rate by Higly Urbanized City/Municipality: National Capital Region

Highly Urbanized City/Municipality

Population Growth Rate



City of Manila



City of Mandaluyong



City of Marikina



City of Pasig



Quezon City



City of San Juan



Caloocan City



City of Malabon



City of Navotas



City of Valenzuela



City of Las Pinas



City of Makati



City of Muntinlupa



City of Paranaque



Pasay City






Taguig City



Data Source: Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)

Most multi-national company offices and embassies are situated in Makati, the country’s financial center for business and economic opportunities. Located in the heart of Makati the famous Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCOM) tower, Ayala Center, composed of Glorietta and Greenbelt, and the Rockwell Center. Lucrative location for industries in NCR also includes Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, Ortigas Business Center straddling in the cities of Mandaluyong and Pasig, Alabang in Muntinlupa, Triangle Park and Eastwood City in Quezon City, and Manila Bay City Reclamation Area in the cities of Pasay.

A city of great diversity, Metro manila is also a place of attraction rich in historical, cultural, and religious influences. Interesting places include Rizal Park, The National Museum, Manila Bay, the walled city of Intramuros, the Cultural Center of the Philippines in Makati, Quezon City Memorial Circle and Ninoy Aquino Wildlife Center, and as well as the shopping centers in Ortigas Center.


DTI-National Capital Region (NCR) under the DTI Regional Operations Group (ROG) aims to contribute to the overall goal of inclusive growth through poverty reduction, income and employment generation, and, competitive business environment creation in Metro Manila.

It has four Area Offices that are mandated to monitor and assess trade performance in Area 1 (Manila, Makati, Pasay), Area 2 (Pasig, Taguig, Pateros, Las Piñas, Parañaque, Muntinlupa), Area 3 (Quezon City, Marikina, Mandaluyong, San Juan), and Area 4 (Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, Valenzuela).

SME Roving Academy is a management training program for would-be entrepreneurs, SME owners, and managers of micro and small to medium-sized businesses. This initiative is meant to provide continuous learning program for entrepreneurs to help them better set up and step up their operations and improve their competitiveness, thereby facilitating easier access to domestic and international markets.

The Academy is an on-site learning institute for SMEs which integrates business development services (BDS) at the local and national levels. Business modules in the early stages of an enterprise’s journey in starting, growing and exporting will be developed, tailor-fitted to the requirements of local entrepreneurs. These accelerated training modules are designed to assist entrepreneurs in making meaningful progress toward business success and sustain business growth.

Program Features

The features of this Program are as follows:

1.) Setting up an Academy Network – Agencies providing business development services have been identified as Network Partners in designing the curricula/programs that will help develop the management capabilities of SMEs.

The potential network partners include:

  • Local Government Units
  • Chambers of commerce
  • Academe
  • Financial Institutions
  • Trade and Industry Associations
  • Other government and non-government organizations.

2.) Bringing the Training to Local SMEs in all Regions/Provinces – Training programs will move from national (head office) to the regions and to every province in the country. The Academy Network will drive business growth by bringing the training to SMEs in the region/provinces, targeting areas with strong industry clusters or those which have identified their SMEs’ training needs.

3.) Implementing Applied Learning Sessions in Various Stages. Learning sessions will be made practical, experiential, and attuned to the current challenges faced by SME participants. To facilitate learning and implementation of interventions/plan of action, business modules will be designed from the perspective of an owner or a middle manager in an SME.

4.) Expanding Business Growth. The Academy through the Network Partners will drive business performance in the region/province by integrating real-life lessons and challenges faced by SMEs in starting, growing, and exporting.

The Academy has identified four (4) critical stages of an enterprise’s pathway to business growth or of eventually becoming a ready exporter. The program has pre-identified specific interventions necessary to prepare an entrepreneur into entering the domestic and the international markets. The entrepreneur does not have to undergo the step-by-step process but this Academy’s platform of interventions hopes to provide the Program Managers/Business Counselor guidance and hints on how to diagnose the readiness of the enterprise in progressing to higher levels of government interventions.

(The characteristics of enterprises with the suggested interventions in the different growth stages can be found in the Toolkit section, Toolkits 1-2, pages 11-13.)

5.) One-on-One Business Counseling by Trained SME Counselors. The SME Roving Academy will include business coaching by SME counselors trained recently under the Shindan Program. Participants may visit an SME counselor assigned at the DTI- SME Center located in each province to seek further business guidance. Most DTI-SME counselors are capable of providing basic information to SMEs on how to start a business and to which agencies SMEs could be referred to for their specific needs. Some SME counselors have adequate business-counseling skills and basic knowledge on management, and can provide practical business advisory to SMEs.

NCR MSME Success Stories

Aging's Food Delight Brings Kakanin To Life

Kakanin, is derived from the word kanin, and means prepared rice is one of the most beloved and cultural desserts of the Filipinos and Aging’s Food Delights brings these kakanins to life through their unique and tasty products.

Aging's Food Delight 1

Aging’s Food Delights started in 2013, where only the entrepreneur Ms. Agapita Mercado and her husband Gregorio Mercado worked for the business. “Nagsimula kami ng kaming dalawa lang ng asawa ko na gumagawa ng kakanin doon sa lamesang yun.” (We started with just the two us making kakanin on that table), say Ms. Mercado while pointing to a corner with a small table. Now the business employs 4-8 workers and has over 15 different types of kakanin products.

Ms. Agapita is thankful for the assistance of DTI and the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM) which helped her business grow. Through their offered seminars and consultations she was able to learn proper food handling and safety. She also learned simple cooking techniques which extend the shelf-life of her products through their assistance.

The DTI and CITEM also helped her business grow by inviting Agapita’s Food Delights to participate in trade fairs. Ms. Agapita was able to significantly expand her market by participating in the International Food Exhibit (IFEX) and National Food Fair.

With her success, Ms. Agapita is also trying to share her blessing from the success of her business by employing single moms and unemployed housewives. “Masarap sa pakiramdam na nakakatulong ka sa tao, lalo na kung nakikita mong may determinasyon at pagsisikap sa buhay.” (It feels great to help people who are determined and make an effort in life) says Ms. Agapito.

Aging's Food Delight 2

She also keeps up with recent times and tries to expand her line of products while not going far away from her source of success which are kakanins. She now offers a new line of products called Tastes of Summer which are shakes with topped or hint of kakanins.

Now she is currently trying to expand her business by looking into putting up branches in other locations. “Tumitingin kami ngayon sa mga ibang lugar na pwedeng pagtayuan namin ng branch. Gusto ko rin na involved talaga ako dahil importante sakin na mapanatili ang kalidad ng produkto. Yun kasi ang binabalik-balikan sa amin.” (We are now looking into other places where we can put our branch. I really want that I’m involved because it’s important that we maintain the quality. That’s the reason why are customers keep coming back) says Ms. Agapito when asked for her future plans.


Handmade PVC Molded Success

John Carlo Creations 1 John Carlo Creations 2
John Carlo Creations 3 John Carlo Creations 4

Back in 2003, Mr. Carlos Yu established John Carlo Creations, a bag manufacturing business which specializes in using PVC (polyvinyl chloride) molds to produce their famous molded bags. They are the sole and pioneer manufacturer of PVC molds in the country.

Mr. Yu an entrepreneur with 30 years of experience first started to go in business when a friend has given him an idea to produce thermoplastic molds to improve the quality of molded bags instead of using the traditional paper-mâché molds with wire at the edges. “I was given an opportunity to go into business and saw the potential of thermoplastic molds. With continuous innovation we were able to develop our current PVC molds”, says Mr. Yu when asked on his beginnings.

In his business journey of ups and downs, he is grateful to the assistance of DTI and of the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM). “I am thankful for the efforts of DTI on encouraging and helping our business and our fellow small entrepreneurs”, comments Mr. Yu. They were assisted on product promotion through free participation to trade fairs. They were also exposed to international market through international fairs.

Now the business is able to produce around 50-60 bags a day and employs 20-25 workers during off and peak season respectively. They have also accumulated more than 500 shapes of PVC molds in their course of business. “Mabilis kami magproduce ng sample. Bukod sa kalidad ng mga produkto namin, isa yun sa gusto sa amin ng mga kliyente.” (“We are fast in producing samples. Aside from the quality of our products, this is one trait that is liked by our customers”), says Mr. Yu. They are regular suppliers in malls and boutique stores while their international markets include USA, Europe, South America and Asia Pacific.

Mr. Yu envisions his company to be stable and prosperous in the future. He plans to continue to share his success to others. As an entrepreneur Mr. Yu believes in doing his share of social responsibility to give back. Mr. Yu also advices future entrepreneurs that there is importance to have no fear in exploring and being a risk taker, coupled with faith in God who is the source of everything and shared this proverb, “In everything you do, put God first. He will direct your path and crown your effort with success. –Proverbs 3:6”.

Triumph Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TEMCO)

The Triumph Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (TEMCO), a cooperative with more than a hundred members, merely owned 13 sewing facilities way back in 2009. But it was in the year 2011 when they started to sew goods such as undergarments (panties and bras) and scrub suit uniforms as additional to their existing water refilling station business enterprise.

Triumph Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative 1

In 2012, they ventured in producing eco bags, baby dresses and bags and in 2013 and 2014, they expanded their bag designs that range from bag packs, sling bags, and lady bags. But with only 13 machines for sewing, TEMCO was having a hard time in complying with bulk orders. At one time they were forced to decline two consecutive orders—(1) 17,000 eco bag orders and (2) 48,000 tote bags given that they have many operators yet few sewing machines which cannot meet that kind of large demand.

TEMCO has diverse products yet can only produce limited volume of each provided the production capacity of their 13 aged sewing machines within 12 hours of operation. With their aspiration to enhance their business enterprise, they opt to seek assistance through the Shared Service Facilities (SSFs) project of the DTI. With the help of DTI the Cooperative was granted on July 2, 2015 a total of eleven machines specialized in sewing and aiding in their operations.

Due to the assistance they were able to further expand their product lines on t-shirt making and made to order logo for these shirts. They are also able to cater diverse designs based on customers’ demand. It also made them possible to reduce operating expense since the new facilities/equipment does not yet require technician fee to repair broken machine while having an increase in volume of production. With these additional machines, their production output increased. Now, they already have 20 hi-speed machines: 10 machines are used for operation while the remaining is used for finished products.

Triumph Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative 2

Nevertheless, workers and volunteers of TEMCO described the benefit they received from the SSF. Ms. Carmencita Batcho, a Board of Director and volunteer worker, expressed how the SSF improved their production output for creating patterns and design on textiles. In terms of expertise and exposures, SSF allowed workers of TEMCO to increase their knowledge and skills in the production of bags, garments and undergarments since new machines implies newer specifications and a different way of equipment operation.

Triumph Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative 3

TEMCO did not fail to remember the socio-economic objective as they continue to cater entrepreneurs of adjacent barangays and nearby cities of Taguig City and help out-of-school-youths (OSY) of the community by giving them the opportunity to generate their own income by sewing TEMCO’s products.

Bamboo Can Do

Triumph Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative 4

One day, while browsing the internet for answers, he came across the Cottage Industry Technology Center (CITC) after following links from several write-ups, blogs and the DTI website. This unknown office, situated in an unfamiliar place and providing unusual services soon became his second home.

There is a place like home

Dondi Fajardo is an engineer who worked with the Energy Development Corporation. When he retired early in 2005, he spent his separation pay to buy a sugarcane farm in Tuy, Batangas. Together with his wife, Jeanne, they established Escovado Trading. They sell their harvest to millers who turned them to sugar. Escovado itself also processed some of their sugarcane into juice. Their business was doing well but Dondi never stops spotting for opportunities. He was aware of the bamboo which also grows in abundance in their farm. Like an inventor whose motto is “Problem leads to invention”, the question, “What can be done with these bamboos?” lingered in his mind and waited for a solution.

One day, while browsing the internet for answers, he came across the Cottage Industry Technology Center (CITC) after following links from several write-ups, blogs and the DTI website. This unknown office, situated in an unfamiliar place and providing unusual services soon became his second home.

Bamboo101. The beginning

Wasting no time, he visited CITC where he learned about the many potentials of bamboo. He also learned about the Center’s MSME development services particularly its SSF program. SSF, which stands for Shared Service Facilities, provides start-up and existing MSMEs with well-equipped production venues. CITC supports this with the necessary capability building and technical assistance, if necessary. Dondi knew that Escovado Trading, the engineered bamboo (e-bamboo) producer, was born the moment he left CITC that day.

Escovado acquired CITC designed and fabricated primary bamboo processing equipment such as a pole cutter and a twin rip saw. It was installed in his farm in Batangas where four CITC-trained workers and Dondi himself, processed bamboo slats. These slats were delivered and processed further to planks in a workshop in Marikina which he uses under a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with CITC. They then sold the planks to Trojan Marketing, a supplier of writing tablets to the LGU of Muntinlupa for their DepEd-designed armchairs.

But Dondi wanted to do more. He envisioned his company to be known in the industry as the leading producer of quality e-bamboo products. He attended the DTI-organized Bamboo Congress 2012 which expanded his network and opened his eyes to more opportunities in the world of bamboo. A few months later, he put-up All aBout Kawayan 101 (ABK 101) Corporation after closing down Escovado to concentrate on bamboo. ABK 101, according to Dondi represents “the beginning”.

As sweet as sugar

Guided by CITC experts, ABK 101 was able to prototype their own product designs. One of these, a chair with a high backrest, was judged as the Most Innovative Product in the 2013 Sikap Pinoy

National Handicraft Fair. Impressed Miles Ahead Corporation, a handicraft manufacturer/exporter offered to bring some of ABK’s new prototypes to Manila Furnishings and Apparel Manufacturers' Exchange (F.A.M.E). Dondi agreed despite the short notice.

The project consumed huge quantity of slats but the company’s stock was ready. Earlier, Dondi acquired a 3-in-1 machine (jointer/thicknesser/circular saw) and a jointer planer following CITC specifications to beef up his slats production. He knew that it takes time to process or source slats, the main raw materials for most e-bamboo products. He must have a head start in case big or rush orders come in. His instinct was right and the Manila F.A.M.E. exposure resulted to orders.

His initial successes in the design and manufacturing field convinced Dondi that bamboo is really the grass of hope. The fame and fortune that it can bring him is as sweet as or maybe even sweeter than sugar.

Success is in the eye of the beholder

Dondi’s company is on the right track. He already had invested on machineries, product design / prototyping, training of workers, and a bamboo nursery using his earnings from his young business. And with CITC on his side, ABK 101 is certainly ready for the bigger fight ahead.

In 2014, CITC was abolished and transferred its functions and assets to the DTI. From then on DTI-NCRO continues to provide assistance to the company.

The company now provides direct employment to six workers and a handful of farmers. It will give more jobs once its bamboo cultivars are ready to be planted in many areas in Batangas. Even more jobs will be created when its new products are ready for the production line. In 2015, ABK 101’s value of goods processed using DTI’s SSF was estimated at PHP 500,000,00. It is not an impressive figure to many. But Dondi has an on-going battle against global warming by using and planting bamboo. It provides jobs that feed the families of his employees at least 3 times a day. These are enough reasons to make him feel like the most successful entrepreneur in the world.

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