CEBU CITYDTI Region 7 Central Visayas conducted, for the first time since the pandemic, a face-to-face graduation ceremony for its Kapatid Mentor ME-Money and Market Encounter (KMME-MME) Online program.

Forty-six (46) MSMEs from Bohol, Cebu, Negros Oriental, and Siquijor gathered on October 17, 2023, marking the completion of the 10-module mentorship aimed at enhancing the entrepreneurial capacity of MSMEs through improved access to mentorship, money and market (i.e., the 3Ms).

DTI 7 Regional Director Maria Elena Arbon said that the program, in partnership with PCE – Go Negosyo, represents the vision of empowering MSMEs by providing invaluable guidance, financial insights, and strategic pathways through a ‘big brother-small brother’ approach, where large corporations teach MSMEs various aspects of business operations with the assistance of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The ‘mentees’ underwent 3-month mentoring and coaching sessions via the Zoom platform and presented a Business Improvement Plan (BIP) to an expanded panel of evaluators, including representatives from banks, online market platforms, and other business support organizations.

Among the graduates, fourteen (14) are from Bohol, thirteen (13) from Cebu, thirteen (13) from Negros Oriental, and six (6) from Siquijor.

All of them are in the youth sector, aged 18-35, and come from various sectors such as processed food, food service, coffee, retail, creatives, health and wellness, and other services. In total, the region has produced 905 KMME graduates since the program’s inception in 2016.

The physical graduation ceremony held in Cebu City served as an opportunity for ‘mentees’ to convene and network with their mentors and coaches.

Notable attendees included PCE – Go Negosyo programs development associate Rholan Nuqui, as well as KMME mentors, coaches, and panelists Doc. Leonor “Neng” Caneja, Jo Ann Tudtud-Navalta, Zee Pono, Enrique San Juan, Ana Michelle Kesner, Karl Kesner, and Pearcy Joy Salvador.

The event also included special messages from DTI Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion, and mentee testimonials and presentations.

In closing, RD Arbon said that the DTI will persist in offering programs and services to nurture ‘mentees’ as they transition into small or medium-sized enterprises in the coming years. ♦

Date of release: 19 October 2023