PASAY CITY — Acknowledging the important contributions of women in nation-building and economic growth, Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual discussed various initiatives and programs of the Department of Trade and Industry in support of women entrepreneurs during Go Negosyo’s Women Entrepreneurship Summit 2023 held on 18 March 2023 at Ayala Malls Manila Bay.

As new technology changes the business landscape on a global scale, it is critical for institutions to capacitate women entrepreneurs and enable them to cope with the increasingly competitive market. At present, about 313,608 businesses in the Philippines are owned or operated by women, a testament to their significant contribution in attaining the country’s goal of robust economic growth and expansion.

In his message, Secretary Pascual said that “We at the Department of Trade and Industry consider it a priority to empower and support businesses, including micro, small, and medium enterprises that serve as the backbone of our economy. For women leaders of MSMEs as well as larger businesses, we have designed initiatives that will enable them to overcome and thrive amid barriers in their access to money, mentorship, and the market.”

He further added that “We aim to level the playing field for women by enabling them to grow their businesses. Women entrepreneurs can be part of initiatives such as Rural Agro-Industrial Partnership for Inclusive Development (RAPID) Growth Project, She Trades Philippines, and Investing in Women in Asia.”

Aside from these programs, DTI also aims to assist women entrepreneurs in their digital transformation, which is also one of the Department’s top priorities, acknowledging the importance of adopting new technologies as the Philippines enters a new digital era characterized by Industry 4.0 technologies. Through digitalization, MSMEs would be able to reach wider markets, penetrate online marketplaces, reduce operational costs, and earn more profit.

Further, in support of MSMEs, DTI, through its financing arm—Small Business Corporation (SBCorp) releases accessible loans in soft terms, which, as of now, has already reached around PHP1 billion pesos under the Bayanihan CARES. Aside from this, SBCorp implements other borrowing schemes such as the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso that offers affordable interest rates and charges that suit the capacities of enterprise borrowers with relatively small asset size.

One of the objectives of the Go Negosyo Women Entrepreneurship Summit 2023 is to promote women in innovation and technology, women in trade, inclusive businesses, and women’s leadership and human capital development. It also recognizes women champions who shall serve as role models where more people, especially women can learn from and emulate.

In recognition of women entrepreneurs, during the summit, Go Negosyo also awarded eighteen

(18) women in various areas such as inclusive business, young entrepreneur, woman innovator, woman enabler, most promising microenterprise, inspiring Filipina entrepreneur, public transport advocate, health and economy advocate, and woman of legacy.

Seated from L-R: Go Negosyo Founder Joey Conception, First Lady Marie Louise Araneta- Marcos, US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson, DTI Secretary Fred Pascual

The summit was also attended by First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos, Ambassador Marykay Carlson from the United States Embassy, Go Negosyo Founder Mr. Joey Conception, and Parañaque Mayor Olivarez.*

Date of release: 20 March 2023