Ladies and gentlemen, magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) congratulates the stakeholders of today’s signing, which would launch in Region 7 the Innovation for Business Recovery (IBR) initiative, also called Resilient, Innovative, and Sustainable Entrepreneurs (or RISE).

In particular, we’d like to cite the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI), the Cebu Institute of Technology – University (CIT-U), the Southwestern University (SWU) PHINMA, and USAID-STRIDE. And of course, we’d like to recognize RD Maria Elena Arbon and her team of DTI Region 7, as well as the 10 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that will be participating in the program.

As a program under the Cebu Regional Inclusive Innovation Center (or RIIC), RISE will support our MSMEs by providing them direct consultancy and guidance service from partner universities and industry champions. These, in turn, would assist MSMEs in identifying their needs and provide innovative solutions to their problems.

Likewise, these MSMEs would benefit from the programs and services available in the region, as well as link them up with potential partners to help them implement innovative business recovery plans. For example, as our country deals with the present COVID-19 pandemic, MSMEs can make an informed choice about their recovery and continuity plans with the help of the initiative partners.

More importantly, this initiative is aligned with our Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S), as well as the Inclusive Filipinnovation and Entrepreneurship Roadmap.

On one hand, the i3S aims at growing innovative and globally competitive manufacturing, agriculture, and services while strengthening their linkages into domestic and global value chains. At the core of this industrial policy is innovation, which would guide the government’s strategic policies and programs.

On the other hand, the Roadmap establishes regional inclusive innovation hubs like the Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers (RIICs) to strengthen government-industry-academe innovation collaboration. This, in turn, would lead to highly coordinated innovation ecosystems that deliver tangible impacts to regional economic development, which would contribute to inclusive growth.

Thus, the RISE program is one way Region 7’s innovation ecosystem can ensure MSMEs would have the support of the government, industry, and academe to make them more innovative and competitive.

While the RISE program is an integral part of the innovation ecosystem being developed in Region 7, there are many other parts of the ecosystem already helping our MSMEs. These range from DTI programs to public-private sector partnerships.

For example, we have 65 Negosyo Centers in the region that offer business services and assistance for MSMEs, as well as mentoring programs that can help them acquire the much-needed innovative mindset. We also have 192 Shared Service Facilities (SSFs) that provide MSMEs machinery, equipment, knowledge, and tools under a shared system to make them more competitive and innovative. Under the SSF program, we have a network of nine Fabrication Laboratories (FabLabs) in the region—including a Digital Fabrication (DigiFab)—that can help MSMEs to make prototypes of their products.

Meanwhile, DTI Region 7 has rebranded their Cebu RIIC as R7-UP as part of an umbrella program that includes RISE—which helps brick-and-mortar entrepreneurs—and StartUpIsland.PH—which assists tech entrepreneurs and startups.

To close, even as our country deals with the economic challenges of the pandemic, our efforts to build back better will be supported—as well as complemented—by public-private sector initiatives like RISE. But we also need to remember that having more innovative and competitive MSMEs will generate more jobs and employment for our people, ensuring inclusive growth and shared prosperity for all. This is the goal that we need to keep in mind amidst all our efforts.

As President Rodrigo Roa Duterte once said before, “We are educated, creative, and resilient. Innovation is our big push. This will keep our country on the growth path for decades to come.”

Again, congratulations to everyone on the launch of RISE. Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 5 August 2021