The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Negros Island Region (NIR) recently launched five Negosyo Centers to assist Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the region.

The NIR opened Negosyo Centers in the cities of La Carlota and Victorias in Negros Occidental, Canlaon, Guihulngan and Tanjay in Negros Oriental.

DTI NIR and Region 7 Director Asteria Caberte led the launching of the Negosyo Centers last week.

“This is a big help to MSMEs, because instead of going all the way to Bacolod or all the way to Dumaguete for their business name registration, this transaction is now available in their Negosyo Centers,” she said.

A Negosyo Center is a place where MSMEs can be assisted in starting a business, as well as to sustain their operations through mentoring and trainings.

“Negosyo Centers make it easier for entrepreneurs to build their businesses and make their companies grow. It used to be tedious for entrepreneurs to process their licenses and other requisites to start a business. Now, they just have to go straight to these centers”, Caberte explained.

“Counselors stationed at the centers are expected to provide business counseling and advisory services to MSMEs such as pricing of products, trainings in product development, packaging and retail trace management,” she said.

The DTI will also utilize Negosyo Centers as a platform to assist in the development of returning Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

The department entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) to implement joint projects for Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and their families who intend to pursue entrepreneurial undertakings.

The MOU formalizes the partnership of OWWA and DTI to jointly conduct developmental trainings under OWWA’s Enhanced Entrepreneurial Development Training (EEDT) and other related activities.  Through DTI’s assistance, OFWs will have access to training and technical support in starting an enterprise, as well as opportunities to attend special events such as conferences, exhibitions, symposia, caravans, and other promotional activities initiated by DTI and the private sector.

Caberte said DTI’s mentoring program will complement OWWA’s reintegration initiative thus, the latter can now immediately refer to their agency which will then cover OFWs as “mentees” in its provision of assistance like market intervention, technology, productivity, pricing and branding of products, among others.

Caberte revealed that the DTI recently entered into an agreement with the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship – Go Negosyo to implement a project entitled “Kapatid, Angat Lahat”, an initiative which encourages medium and large corporations, or the “Big Brother”, to help Micro and Small enterprises (MSEs), or the “Small Brother”, through the use of Inclusive Business (IB) models.

“The Mentor Me Program, Under the Kapatid Angat Lahat aims to help Micro and Small Entrepreneurs scale up their businesses thru the weekly coaching and mentoring by business owners and practitioners on different functional areas of entrepreneurship to be held in Negosyo Centers (NCs) nationwide,” Caberte said.

 The Go Negosyo Act or Republic Act No. 10644, authored by Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino., has given DTI the challenge of establishing business centers in strategic areas in the country to provide business registration assistance, advisory services, information and trainings to local entrepreneurs and prospective business persons.

“With former Go Negosyo Executive Director Ramon Lopez as Secretary of the DTI, there will be stronger support for all business persons especially the micro and small entrepreneurs.” Caberte discloses.

She added that with the Go Negosyo Act, the DTI, with the support of LGUs (local government units) and other government agencies, expects to further boost its assistance to MSMEs to grow and flourish, and intensify the promotion of entrepreneurship in the country.

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