Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez encouraged executives of the Ayala Group of Companies to help the government in elevating the competencies of Filipino micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) during the Ayala Sustainability Summit on 11 October 2016 in Makati.

In the dialogue session between the trade chief and the Ayala business group, Sec. Lopez emphasized the need for continuous innovation and entrepreneurial skills and mindset for MSMEs to prosper.

The sharing of leadership skills and best practices from the private sector are critical components in enhancing the ability of MSMEs to thrive in a globally-competitive business environment, according to the trade chief.

Business sector groups were invited to extend additional support in mentoring and passing on the business know-how to Filipino MSMEs, alongside existing government efforts which include establishing Negosyo Centers and conducting training and seminars across the country through the SME Roving Academy. The Kapatid Mentor Me is a business advisory program with private sector partners like the Go Negosyo group, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Philippine Franchise Association, the Association of Filipino Franchisers, Inc. and other groups.

Sec. Lopez also called on the business group to adopt an inclusive business model, where MSMEs are integrated in the value chain.

“The ‘Go Lokal!’ brand is part of DTI’s MSME push, improving market access by mainstreaming MSME products in major malls,” he said, adding that DTI has already started partnering with some of the country’s mall owners. He expressed hoped that Ayala Group of Companies will also consider the “Go Lokal!” initiative.

On the ease of doing business, Sec. Lopez noted that DTI and other government agencies work together to streamline business permit processing and licensing from an average of more than a week to two days or less using a unified form and a maximum of two signatures only.

He also added that the government recently partnered with the UK Embassy to help implement the Project Repeal, geared towards eliminating red tape by systematically removing redundant, antiquated and burdensome policies across the bureaucracy.

“Success begins when you show concern for others,” said Sec. Lopez, adding that the MSME development agenda is a priority of the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte as part of its poverty reduction strategies.

For its part, Ayala Corporation President and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala emphasized the need to forge a partnership that “stretches beyond the economic realm to other challenges that perpetuate poverty and inequity.”