The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) formally turned over the “Connecting Women to the Digital Economy” (CWEDE) program under the Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP) to its project principals, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the National Confederation of Cooperatives (NATCCO) last 2 February 2021. Since its launch on 1 July 2020, the integrated and collaborative partnership has empowered Filipina entrepreneurs to access markets by equipping them with knowledge, tools, and skills to become effective online sellers.
Led by USAID, the CWEDE was able to capacitate selected women entrepreneurs and mentors through a 90-day Integrated Digital Marketing Training Program, followed by social media boost and online store promotion through the “E-Taas ang Pinay MSMEs” digital campaign with its partners, Shopee, Lazada, and Facebook PH and growing community of digital Filipinas. More than 380 women entrepreneurs were able to build their online stores in Facebook, Lazada, and/or Shopee and put up their Facebook Business pages. Over 220 women entrepreneurs made online sales totaling P36M in just six months.
“We see how cooperatives have grappled to shift to the digital world. We are thankful for this project and for opening a window for us to build capacity of our member cooperatives and MSMEs in digital marketing,” said CEO Paraguya who also praised the partners for their dedication and hard work.
Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez also underscored the contribution of women entrepreneurs who represent a third of the MSME base. As the economy shows signs of recovery and reopens to the new normal, Sec. Lopez is optimistic that women entrepreneurs and their collective efforts present the biggest opportunity in leading the way to transform challenges into opportunities, building the path towards a better normal.
“The CWEDE program—with its aim of shifting women entrepreneurs to online selling and digital payments—was able to take advantage of the rapid acceleration of the digital economy during the present health crisis. As such, our women entrepreneurs have answered the call of the changing times and have become true agents of innovation and change,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez added.
The DTI will continue to implement the IDMTP Program as one of the activities under the REBUILD PH campaign, or ‘Revitalizing Businesses, Investments, Livelihoods, and Domestic Demand’ which is aimed to jumpstart and reinvigorate the Philippine economy starting 2021.
Meanwhile, Chief of the Office of the Economic Development and Governance of USAID-Philippines, Jeffery Goebel was pleased to share the success of the program and thanked its partners for their strong commitment to this project. The Operations manual, training modules, and the digital marketing campaigns that they co-developed were turned over to guide the project principals to scale up and integrate the program into its broader digital economy initiatives.
“USAID will continue working to promote digital technology to achieve inclusive growth, resilient and democratic societies, and increase economic opportunities for all,” Mr. Goebel said.
ROG Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona took on the challenge and expressed ROG’s commitment to continue and grow this initiative. Just seven months after, the program has achieved significant gains amid the pandemic with stories of women entrepreneurs on creativity, resourcefulness, and resilience resonated from the field offices.
“This will be a live document willing to guide our regional and provincial offices not only in monitoring the first set of beneficiaries that we have, but also in growing this project in order to benefit more women entrepreneurs,” Usec Lantayona said as she urged the regional directors and program teams to follow through, and increase the beneficiaries in this program.
The “E-Taas ang Pinay MSMEs” digital campaign is expected to kick off this March in celebration of Women’s month.
Also present during the turnover ceremony are the ROG Assistant Secretaries, Regional Directors, program coordinators, DTI-KMIS, NATCCO Cooperatives, and the USAID project management team.
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Date of Release: 10 February 2021