SME Roving Academy is a management training program for would-be entrepreneurs, SME owners, and managers of micro and small to medium-sized businesses. This initiative is meant to provide continuous learning program for entrepreneurs to help them better set up and step up their operations and improve their competitiveness, thereby facilitating easier access to domestic and international markets.
The Academy is an on-site learning institute for SMEs which integrates business development services (BDS) at the local and national levels. Business modules in the early stages of an enterprise’s journey in starting, growing and exporting will be developed, tailor-fitted to the requirements of local entrepreneurs. These accelerated training modules are designed to assist entrepreneurs in making meaningful progress toward business success and sustain business growth.
The features of this Program are as follows:
1.) Setting up an Academy Network – Agencies providing business development services have been identified as Network Partners in designing the curricula/programs that will help develop the management capabilities of SMEs.
The potential network partners include:
- Local Government Units
- Chambers of commerce
- Financial Institutions
- Trade and Industry Associations
- Other government and non-government organizations.
2.) Bringing the Training to Local SMEs in all Regions/Provinces – Training programs will move from national (head office) to the regions and to every province in the country. The Academy Network will drive business growth by bringing the training to SMEs in the region/provinces, targeting areas with strong industry clusters or those which have identified their SMEs’ training needs.
3.) Implementing Applied Learning Sessions in Various Stages. Learning sessions will be made practical, experiential, and attuned to the current challenges faced by SME participants. To facilitate learning and implementation of interventions/plan of action, business modules will be designed from the perspective of an owner or a middle manager in an SME.
4.) Expanding Business Growth. The Academy through the Network Partners will drive business performance in the region/province by integrating real-life lessons and challenges faced by SMEs in starting, growing, and exporting.
The Academy has identified four (4) critical stages of an enterprise’s pathway to business growth or of eventually becoming a ready exporter. The program has pre-identified specific interventions necessary to prepare an entrepreneur into entering the domestic and the international markets. The entrepreneur does not have to undergo the step-by-step process but this Academy’s platform of interventions hopes to provide the Program Managers/Business Counselor guidance and hints on how to diagnose the readiness of the enterprise in progressing to higher levels of government interventions.
(The characteristics of enterprises with the suggested interventions in the different growth stages can be found in the Toolkit section, Toolkits 1-2, pages 11-13.)
5.) One-on-One Business Counseling by Trained SME Counselors. The SME Roving Academy will include business coaching by SME counselors trained recently under the Shindan Program. Participants may visit an SME counselor assigned at the DTI- SME Center located in each province to seek further business guidance. Most DTI-SME counselors are capable of providing basic information to SMEs on how to start a business and to which agencies SMEs could be referred to for their specific needs. Some SME counselors have adequate business-counseling skills and basic knowledge on management, and can provide practical business advisory to SMEs.