Davao City – A study on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 11’s mentorship program implementation in Davao City was accepted in an international conference for researchers. 

As part of the 3rd EATA-NABEA-KITRI (East Asian Trade Association-Northeast Asian Business and Economic Association- Korea International Trade Research Institute) Biannual International Conference and Research Symposium in mid-October, the agency was given an opportunity to present to a group of critic consisting of professors and researchers from other countries the implementation of the Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) program. This is a brainchild of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE)-Go Negosyo, which DTI adopted throughout the country.

The inclusion of the program in the gathering of research and development experts from China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, the United States of America, and the Philippines can be regarded as a milestone for DTI 11. It is seldom that an initiative like the KMME becomes part of a prestigious research-related event. 

The presentation of the program was based on the results of the study “The KMME Program in Davao City, Philippines: A Case Study.” This is the graduate school thesis of the DTI 11 regional information officer Jenny Grace M. Mendoza. Her adviser, professor Rey A. Castillo, submitted it to the EATA-NABEA-KITRI panel, and luckily, it was accepted. 
DTI 11 Regional Director Maria Belenda Q. Ambi shared that with the case study, the office was provided with a picture of how the KMME graduates viewed the program and its set of mentors. Likewise, it gave the DTI-Davao City office an assessment of how KMME impacted on the lives of its graduates. 

Based on the study results, the respondents, who were picked through purposive sampling technique, revealed that with the 10 modules of the KMME program and the expertise of their mentors, they were equipped to become better entrepreneurs. Hence, all of them, who had a capital of not more than PHP100,000 and were operating their food business for five years or less when they participated in KMME, recorded growth. 

According to them, they noticed a great improvement in their sales after adopting and implementing what they learned through the program. The 10 modules are the Entrepreneurial Mind-Setting and Values Formation, Marketing Mindset, Business Model Canvas, Operations Management, Digitalization, Supply and Value Chain Management, Accounting and Finance for Small Businesses, Human Resource Management, Market Driven Innovation 1: Product Development and 2: Market Expansion and Internationalization, and Good Governance and Ethics. 

After the two-minute presentation of Castillo during the international conference, the panel suggested to expand the study and include the other groups of KMME 2 beneficiaries. This would give DTI 11 a wider perspective of the program’s success as well as the enhancements it may need to integrate, especially with the pandemic. Ambi noted that the KMME program has embraced innovation since 2020 after the government imposed restrictions on the movement of people. 

“We have started conducting the KMME program online, while making sure that each of the participants is continuously given proper guidance and appropriate interventions. Moreover, we have been strict in choosing our mentors. We have made sure that they are industry experts and adept in their respective fields, who are willing to share their expertise with our mentees,” the local trade official said. 

As mentors, they are expected to nurture the mentees assigned to them. They are considered as “angel-preneurs” as they guide the start-ups and micro-entrepreneurs in every step towards becoming successful business people like them. 

“We are glad that through the case study of our colleague in DTI 11, our efforts have been recognized. We are reassured that mentorship is indeed a feasible strategy in the development of entrepreneurs,” she said adding that having an international audience for such an endeavor is already a feat in itself. 

Since its launch in 2016, the KMME program already has a total of 642 graduates throughout Davao Region, 96 of whom just finished this year. Apart from this program, DTI 11 has been implementing, too, other initiatives and interventions for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). These range from product development and labeling to marketing and financing facilitation.

The KMME program is being implemented under the public-private partnership approach between the DTI and PCE Go Negosyo. ♦

Date of Release: 26 October 2021