Makati CityDuring the public launch of United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Strengthening Private Enterprise for the Digital Economy (SPEED) Activity, Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual emphasized that one of the top priorities of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is to assist MSMEs in digital transformation. 

“With Strengthening Private Enterprise for the Digital Economy, USAID can be DTI’s partner in empowering small and medium enterprises through digital transformation. One of DTI’s strategic actions is to upgrade, upskill, and upsize MSMEs”, Secretary Pascual stated. 

The USAID SPEED is a five-year project that aims to promote economic growth by expanding and advancing the digital ecosystem of the country. The USAID will work with the government and the private sector to mobilize the digital economy for enterprise-led development and increase the participation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the digital economy. 

Further, the project will focus on four areas: (1) Improving SME capacity and access to e-commerce platforms; (2) Expanding and increasing the use of e-payment systems and other fintech innovations; (3) Improving the integration of e-commerce platforms with logistical supply chains; and (4) Increasing consumer awareness and protection. 

Secretary Pascual also highlighted the benefits of digital transformation to MSMEs, saying that, “digitalized MSMEs can operate more efficiently, reduce costs, reach bigger markets, and earn profits. For example, digital systems of enterprises can accumulate cashflow data on sales, use enterprise data for credit scoring, and provide access to cashflow-based credit.” 

In pursuit of its digitalization goals, the DTI is also working with the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) to establish an e-commerce platform that can be utilized by MSMEs and will facilitate MSMEs’ pivot from offline to online. Likewise, to digitalize supply chains, DTI is implementing the Big Brother-Small Brother Digitalization Project, where conglomerates and big businesses assist in the digital upskilling of MSMEs. 

The USAID SPEED Public Launch was also attended by United States Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, Bangko Sentral Governor Felipe Medalla, Anti-Red Tape Authority Director General Ernesto Perez, DTI Assistant Secretary Mary Jean Pacheco, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President George Barcelon, Employers Confederation of the Philippines President Sergio Ortiz-Luis, other private sector representatives, and stakeholders. *

Date of release: 11 January 2023