The Kapatid Mentor ME program was regionally launched for Cagayan Valley Region last March 23, 2017 at Santiago City, Isabela. However, a separate grand launching was held at Basco, Batanes on March 31, 2017 due to its geographical location. It was graced by DTI Assistant Secretary for Regional Operations Blesila A. Lantayona who stressed the importance of the mentoring program for local MSMEs to scale up their businesses by enlivening the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. “Because of your promising tourism industry, there is a need to help your MSMEs in scaling up and sustaining their enterprises in support to your tourism sector.”, emphasized by Asec. Lantayona.

Former DTI Undersecretary and now Go Negosyo Adviser for MSME Development Engr. Merly M. Cruz was also present and gave a developmental advice on the promotion of Batanes tourism together with local MSMEs. Batanes Governor Marilou H. Cayco, who welcomed the guests and participants, expressed her overwhelming elation that finally, the program will be implemented in the province. The Honorable Governor expressed her full support to the implementation of the Program in Batanes.

DTI – RO2 Regional Director Ruben Diciano emphasized that “the project will take off only if there are entrepreneurs who are interested to learn, who are willing to grow and to graduate from micro, small to medium and large and who are humble enough to accept that there are those who know better and willing to teach and share their skills and best practices in order for smaller ones to scale up their businesses.” Furthermore, RD Dicano pointed out that according to studies, 30% of new businesses will not survive in 24 months, 50% will not survive in 5 years, while 70% of all mentored business survive in more than 5 years. Hence, the importance of being part of the KMME program. RD. Diciano also expressed how happy he is to be back in the province being the provincial Director of DTI – Batanes 26 years ago.

The whole-day activity also includes lectures on the first two KMME modules. Let’s Go Foundation President Mr. Jay Bernardo discussed the module on “Entrepreneurial Mid-Setting and Values Formation” in which he emphasized the important of seeing various opportunities in every crisis. On the other hand, Mr. Vix Madlangbayan, Special Programs Consultant of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship gave an interactive discussion on the module on “Marketing.” He showed the participants on how to have a creative and catchy product brand to easily market their products and services.

DTI – Batanes Provincial Caretaker Marietta B. Salviejo explained the various assistance and services that the MSMEs may avail at the Negosyo Centers located in Basco, Sabtang and Itbayat. Moreover, she encouraged them to register under the Barangay Micro Business Enterprise (BMBE) law to gain numerous privileges. Two local inspiring successful entrepreneurs namely Ms. Magdalena C. Millan of Shanedel’s Inn & Café, and Mr. Quirino Gabotero who represented his sister Ms. Marilyn G. Hubalde of Midtown Inn, shared their stories of success. They inspired and encouraged the participants to never give up and be part of the program. To further develop their enterprises, Mr. Gabotero even volunteered to be one of the local mentors.