The Department of Trade and Industry marked the launch of the KAPATID Mentor ME Program or KMME in Laguna at the Centro Mall, Los Banos on 27 July 2017.

Last year, Laguna was made the pilot province for the inauguration of the program, which gained wide success that made the program to be rolled out to other regions in the country.

The event drew out 322 total participants; majority of them were the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The KMME launch coincided with the Seminars on Entrepreneurial Mindset cum Values Formation and on Marketing handled by Senator Bam Aquino and Mr. Paolo Tibig.

Kapatid Mentor Me Laguna Launch 
Crowd shot of the launch of the KAPATID Mentor ME Program or KMME in Laguna

Oryspa owner Sherill Quintana, named Outstanding ASEAN Woman Entrepreneur and this year’s awardee for Franchise Excellence Awards and Special Award for Corporate Social Responsibility, has been a volunteer mentor to small enterprises in the country since 2016. Like Quintana, Clarke Nebrao, who heads the Association of Laguna Food Processors (ALAFOP), has been going around the country to speak to micro and small entrepreneurs who want to grow.

“It is possible for a microentrepreneur to grow, to be a medium enterprise, and to export our brands,” Quintana said.

Quintana started as a young wife who loved to experiment by creating soaps and candles. In her book “A Small Entrepreneur’s Journey,” she writes about learning from so many mentors who took her in. A staunch advocate of the Filipino brand, Quintana’s Oryspa’s rice-bran based spa products are now available in 23 branches in the country, two stores in Singapore, and are exported and sold worldwide.

Laguna’s launch of the KMME marks the pioneer program of the DTI to enable MSMEs’ development in the country. The KMME is an intensive 11-week program where MSMEs learn from Volunteer Mentors like Quintana and Nebrao. It was corroborated by a poll conducted during the ASEAN 2017 MSME Development Summit, which verified that business-to-business mentorship would be the most effective way to strengthen the capacity of small businesses.