The year 2020 was difficult for everyone, but it was particularly tough for many Filipinos who lost their jobs. We have not yet fully gauged the fallout, but the months of lockdown led to the scarcity of funds and a fall in demand for certain products and activities. These have led many entrepreneurs to close their businesses, rendering many employees jobless.

Although the current pandemic has had a severe impact on brick-and-mortar businesses, the digital economy has proven instrumental in our country’s battle against COVID-19. Those who had already embraced internet technology in the past had the advantage of being able to fast-track their business growth.

Our ability to leverage digital tools has been key in business survival during COVID-19 times and the pandemic has also accelerated the process of digital transformation across almost all sectors.

As we slowly but steadily shift to the recovery stage, we’ve also seen that the pandemic has brought on drastic changes to consumer behavior that are likely to remain for years to come.

The question then is how we can help more entrepreneurs, particularly those in the services industry, grow and successfully navigate the new normal.

Digital Service Industry

This trend toward a leaner, project-based digital workforce is expected to continue beyond the current crisis, driven by the digital transformation movement and the maturation of online services that match businesses with available freelance professionals. But while COVID-19 has motivated businesses that otherwise wouldn’t have considered using outside help, many experts believe most businesses will continue to use more freelance help in the future. There are many reasons for this long-term outlook. These include cost savings, specialization, flexibility, better quality, and wider talent choices.

As online platforms become more sophisticated, it’s easier than ever for businesses to find the right person for a particular project. Also, businesses save money when they’re not paying for long-term employment or office space.

Businesses are noting that successful freelancers are agile especially if they work for multiple clients or take on short-term roles with limited ramp-up times. Freelancers know how important it is to constantly prove their worth to short-term clients.  Companies who hire them can benefit from this extra effort.  Moreover, the types of work that can be performed by freelancers, contractors, and independent consultants are almost limitless. More importantly, businesses can choose freelance candidates from virtually anywhere around the globe. Geography does not appear to be a limitation.

Knowing their value, digital freelancers should take stock of their skills and experience and consider upskilling through training courses to be better prepared for seismic changes ahead.

The Department of Trade and Industry Central Visayas (DTI-Region 7)  is currently developing an online training course specifically for digital services entrepreneurs.

In partnership with the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI),  DTI-R7 will implement the Digital Services Entrepreneurs Advancement Mentoring (DREAM) Program in August of 2021.

DREAM Program will feature mentorship modules to be used to propel digital services entrepreneurs to thrive in spite of the unprecedented setbacks that now confront businesses of all types and sizes.

The modules will cover:
• Entrepreneurial Mind-setting and Values Formation
• Overview of the Market
• Developing the Business
• Finance and Operations Management
• People Management
• Contract Management
• Client Management
• Legalizing your Business
• Business Model Canvass
• One on one mentoring:

DTI’s DREAM program is free of charge but can only accommodate a maximum of 30 participants for the first batch in Region 7.

The program aims to produce confident local entrepreneurs with the right mindset and basic management skills which will enable them to sustain their enterprises amidst the challenges of the pandemic and new normal conditions.

Interested applicants must have at least six months of freelancing experience, willing and committed to complete the program, able to submit the necessary documents, and agree to upscale his/her business.

If you are interested to participate in the program,  get in touch with Marilyn Tancinco, Supervising Trade and Industry Developing Specialist (STIDS) of the DTI-7 Small and Medium Enterprise Development Division, through the following contact information: / +63.920.902.0341

Date of Release: 16 June 2021