The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Baguio Benguet, took part in the region-wide launching of the Kapatid Mentor ME and Money Market Encounter (KMME-MME) Online on 5 April 2022 via Zoom with its mentees from the agribusiness, processed food, wearables, handicrafts, and tourism industries.

The COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected the lives of the people especially the economy, causing the constriction of businesses worldwide. For seven years now, the KMME has been an avenue to boost micro, small, and medium enterprises’ access to Mentorship, Money, and Market in accordance to its 7Ms agenda. This year’s program will be a weekly mentoring between mentors and mentees to provide necessary entrepreneurial information for improving the business. Previously, this was a face-to-face activity, but with the pandemic, the mentoring is now being managed via dual-modality, virtual and face-to-face.

“We are indeed happy to continue the advocacy of enabling our micro and small entrepreneurs amidst the pandemic. I hope that you will all survive or be able to restart your businesses so we will co-exist with Covid-19 all the way in this new normal” said Engr. Merly Cruz of the PCE-Go Negosyo.

The 10-module KMME-MME Online is designed to culminate with the preparation and presentation of individual Business Improvement Plan (BIP) intended to serve as a guide for the mentees to improve their respective businesses. Coaching will be conducted to assist the mentees in the preparation of the plan and further develop their capacities in accessing capital and market. The final draft BIP will be presented to a panel of evaluators composed of representatives from the financial institutions, academe, business owners, and other government offices. These panel members will further provide additional information for the improvement of the plan and help the mentees prepare for the new normal.

Undersecretary Blesila A. Lantayona of DTI Regional Operations Group (ROG) likened the KMME program to a Master in Business Administration course with a special session on Digitalization. “The only difference is that this program is for free,” said USec Lantayona.

Regional Director Juliet P. Lucas, the Regional Director of DTI CAR, inspired the new mentees by sharing the story of Eileen Faith Biswayan of Am-amay Food Products, her journey towards entrepreneurship, and how the KMME Program helped her. “I know you, the mentees, are already ready to take on whatever lies before you”, said RD Lucas.

Atty. Samuel Gallardo, the Provincial Director of DTI Baguio Benguet, said that the KMME is an opportunity for the mentees to learn and hoped that this program can become an eye-opener for them in running their business.

To start the ball rolling on the mentoring session, business owner and mentor, Dean Cuanso of Accents and Petals, advised the mentees to educate themselves, be passionate, patient and walk their brand.

Two graduates from the KMME Program shared their journey through the mentoring process. Wanda Omengan of Rock Inn Café of Mountain Province shared that the program came in timely during the lowest moments of her trade because of the pandemic and became an instrument that restored her mental health. Lianne Dolique of Nuttin Better also shared that she met mentors who are still giving her business ideas even though the session ended.

The KMME–MME Online mentoring session will run from April to July 2022. ♦

Date of Release: 7 April 2022