Ladies and gentlemen, magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat and welcome to the OTOP National Virtual Trade Fair!

Before anything else, we’d like to greet everyone a happy National MSME Week! Today’s launch is part of our celebration to honor our Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) who are not only essential for our country’s economic growth, but are also our new hope in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’d also like to thank PLDT for providing this free virtual platform to enable our MSMEs to gain wider market access and reach so that they can showcase their products through e-commerce. Last year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) partnered with PLDT in providing the same online platform for our MSMEs through a Virtual Trade Expo.

Now, for this year’s five-day event, 320 MSMEs who are part of our One Town, One Product (OTOP) Program will have an online marketing opportunity to showcase their products. As these entrepreneurs—or ‘OTOPreneurs’, as we call them—meet, source, and connect with local and international buyers online during the virtual trade fair, they can also widen their market reach without endangering themselves through transmission of COVID-19.

And as part of our 7Ms Entrepreneurial Framework—which includes Mindset change, Mastery, Mentorship, Money, Machines, Market access, and Models of Negosyo—OTOP not only provides MSMEs with market access, it prepares them for the market.

On one hand, the program—under OTOP Next Gen—supports OTOPreneurs from all over the Philippines by assisting them to build up their brand, improve their packaging, and enhance their overall value proposition. This, in turn, improves the competitiveness of their products and services in both local and global markets.

On the other hand, the OTOP Hub provides physical and online channels, as well as market access platform where OTOP products can be showcased. We like to point out that we presently have 62 OTOP Hubs nationwide, which have helped 50,323 OTOPreneurs and generated sales worth Php5.5B.

More importantly, as the program name says, this initiative enables our communities in the countryside to determine, develop, support, and promote products or services rooted among them as a “pride-of-place.” These are offerings where their communities can be best at, or renowned for—which can help to provide them a greater quality of life.

Today’s launch is also aligned with our current MSME Development Plan 2017-2022, which has the aim of creating “more globally competitive MSMEs that are regionally integrated, resilient, sustainable and innovative.”

To do this, we need to achieve five strategic goals. These are: (1) improve business climate; (2) improve access to finance; (3) enhance management and labor capacities; (4) improve access to technology and innovation; and, (5) improve access to market.

As our OTOPreneurs present their products and services at today’s virtual trade fair, this will fulfill both the goals of improving MSMEs’ access to technology and innovation, as well as markets.

To close, we believe that MSMEs will play an essential role in helping to build back better so that we can uplift the lives of our people in the post-pandemic future. That’s why we remain committed to your growth and development, and that’s also why President Rodrigo Roa Duterte had committed to assist the private sector regain the commercial vibrance of the country prior to the pandemic.

To our OTOPreneurs, we wish great success during the virtual trade fair. Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 2 August 2021