ZAMBOANGA—During the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) official launch of Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) on 6 October in the Zamboanga Peninsula, the country’s trade chief called on locals to maximize the use of government programs to create businesses and gain employment to empower themselves.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez highlighted the government’s initiatives to extend to all Filipinos the benefits of the current Philippine economic growth by strengthening the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), creating robust industries, and boosting investments. These, in turn, will lead to job generation and sustained entrepreneurial revolution, according to him.

“TNK’s goal is to create a culture of Filipinos who are success-driven, independent, and know how to appreciate the value put on one’s work. The core of the program is to empower the bottom of the pyramid to empower the nation,” said Sec. Lopez.

He shared that the business confidence index of the Philippines is at 38%, which has an impact on various industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and export.

DTI is currently using the 7Ms of Successful Entrepreneurs framework (Mindset, Mastery, Mentoring, Money, Machine, Market, and Models) as a strategic approach to empower entrepreneurs and encourage Filipinos to start their own businesses, thus helping them improve the quality of life.

Apart from national and international trade fairs, there are partnerships with premier malls, shopping destinations, as well as airports to enhance market access for local entrepreneurs through the Go Lokal! stores and other pasalubong centers.

These Go Lokal! stores and pasalubong centers serve as incubation stores for MSMEs where their products gain public exposure for free before they enter bigger markets.

MSMEs were also encouraged to utilize the government’s business expansion program through the Pondo para sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso or the P3 program, which offers low-interest financial assistance via recognized micro financing institutions.

Further, the trade chief called on officials from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and local government units to provide spaces in their respective public markets for MSME products and entrepreneurs.

Meanwhile, at the sidelines of the TNK launch, Sec. Lopez also attended the Zamboanga Peninsula Investment Conference, wherein he encouraged stakeholders to continue partnering with the government in raising the investment profile of the region and improving the investment climate.

“We can address inequality and reduce poverty by implementing programs that sustainably create jobs and increase incomes through exports and investments, as well as through smart, innovation-led entrepreneurship,” he said.

Also at the event were DTI Undersecretary Rowel Barba, Department of Labor and Employment Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod, Small Business (SB) Corporation President Maria Luna Cacanando, as well as Zamboanga Sibugay Governor Wilter Yap Palma, Zamboanga City Mayor Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, Zamboanga City 1st District Representative Celso Lobregat, and 2nd District Representative Manuel Jose Dalipe.♦

 Sec Ramon Lopez at Zampex 2017
(L to R) DTI Undersecretary Rowel Barba, DOLE Undersecretary Joel Maglunsod, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Zamboanga City Mayor Isabelle Climaco-Salazar, DTI-Region 9 Director Sitti Jain, Indonesian Consulate General Berlian Napitupulu, and DOLE-Region 9 Director Ofelia Domingo at the opening of ZAMPEX 2017 in Zamboanga City.