Ladies and gentlemen, magandang araw po sa inyong lahat.

First, we’d like to recognize the Women’s Business Council Philippines or WomenBizPH as the leading voice of women in commerce, and for inspiring and empowering women in the Philippines. And as a valued partner of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), WomenBizPh has helped us to promote national growth through economic interventions that are enabling, innovative, job-generating, and inclusive for women.

We all know that our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of our country’s economy, accounting for 99% of the total number of enterprises in the Philippines. Many of our entrepreneurs are women: 58% of the total MSMEs are women-led and 63.8% of the country’s total workforce are women. We also like to point out that women who hold senior management roles in companies in the Philippines have gone up from 37% in 2019 to 43% in 2020, bringing our nation to top the list of 32 countries with the most female executives.

But even though women entrepreneurs and businesswomen are at the forefront of Philippine business, they still have to constantly deal with barriers in setting up or running their own businesses. Kung kaya’t sa gaganaping signing ng Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) ngayon sa pagitan ng DTI at WomenBizPH, mas pagtitibayin pa po natin ang ating kolaborasyon na mas lalo pang i-empower ang mga kababaihan sa paraan ng entrepreneurship.

This is particularly significant now as many businesses had to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic, displacing an estimated 1.19M workers last April 2020 alone. We believe that by supporting our MSMEs to get back on their feet, we can save jobs and employment. And with the assistance of WomenBizPH, we can reach more women entrepreneurs adversely affected by the pandemic.

WomenBizPH is the perfect partner in this regard, being the leading organization of women business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals in the country working towards advancing the role of women in the economy. As the founding member of the Philippine Women’s Economic Network, they served as chair of the ASEAN Women’s Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN) from 2016 to 2018. Furthermore, DTI and the Philippines Commission on Women (PCW) have worked with WomenBizPh on various Gender and Development (GAD) engagements abroad.

DTI, as the main advocate of MSME development, is committed in helping women entrepreneurs—with the full support of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte—through our 7Ms Framework in uplifting MSMEs. Marami po sa entrepreneurship programs at initatives ng DTI ay nakatuon dito sa tinatawag nating 7Ms: Mindset Change, Mastery, Mentoring, Money, Market Access, Machines, and Models of Negosyo.

As part of our 7Ms, DTI conducted during the recent Women’s Month our 3A Program, or “Accept, Adapt, Act,” specifically for women entrepreneurs. Under this program, 75 of them will undergo training and mentorship provided by business practitioners to adjust to the “New Normal” of the pandemic. What’s more, the National Council of Women of the Philippines (NCWP)—our partner in the program—donated 75 livelihood kits worth Php10,000 each to serve as capital so that they can start or expand their business.

Additionally, DTI has been guiding women entrepreneurs in developing their digital capabilities and establishing online storefronts in popular e-commerce sites. This is because we believe that e-commerce can serve as a platform for our women entrepreneurs to reach both national and global markets in the wake of the pandemic.

Moving forward, we believe that women entrepreneurs should adopt innovation and competitiveness to thrive and succeed in today’s increasingly challenging and ever-shifting economic landscape. Through this agreement, DTI and WomenBizPH can provide an enabling environment that will equip women entrepreneurs with the right mindset and knowledge to become innovative and competitive in the post-pandemic future.

With God’s grace, the start of the vaccine rollout and hopefully more medicines/treatments against COVID, we hope to see the end of this nightmare sooner than later.

With DTI and WomenBizPH working together, we can fully empower our women entrepreneurs to fully harness their potential. This, in turn, will help our nation to build back better and, as envisioned by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, give our people a more comfortable and better quality of life.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay ang mga babaeng negosyante!

Date of Release: 5 May 2021