MINERVA BC NEWMAN
CEBU CITY – The Province of Cebu led by governor Gwendolyn Garcia and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-7) encouraged all local government units (LGUs) in Cebu to develop its local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to have access to local and national funds; promote products and services via trade fairs and exhibits and access to training on business development and entrepreneurial skills of local MSMEs.
Governor Garcia in her messages during the various trade fairs and exhibits this year and in 2021 reiterated her utmost support to the development of local MSMEs. The entrepreneurial spirit of the MSMEs in every R’ Cebu trade fair is a unique exhibition of local services, products, festivals and tourists’ destinations in Cebu.
“Cebu is always at the forefront in any ‘kasikas’ (noise) always starting how to support and develop the local economy. Cebu was the very first to reopen tourism under specific protocols. We went around the province to encourage the tourism sector and the local domestic tourist to discover the beauty of the province, its local products and sites even at the height of the pandemic,” Garcia said during the latest “Kasikas sa Sugbo” trade Fair on June 17-19 at Robinsons Galleria featuring the 2nd and 6th districts LGUs.
It can be recalled that in 2021, the Cebu Provincial government and Robinsons Galleria inked a memorandum of agreement for the use of the Mall for the trade fair and exhibits of MSMEs of various LGUs in Cebu dubbed as R’Cebu.
R’ Cebu is a 3-day exhibit showcasing one district per month. Cebu Province has seven administrative districts composed of 44 towns and seven cities. According to the data from the Cebu Provincial Tourism Office, in 2021 R’ Cebu mounted six tourism exhibitions from the seven districts while this year, four exhibitions were already mounted since March.
Roland Tabunag, assistant Tourism Officer and Stakeholders Relationship Officer told this writer that the R’ Cebu exhibits from 2021 to March 2022 had generated more than P2.2 million in revenues with an average of P200,000 to 250,000 receipts per display/exhibit.
Tabunag noted that since the launching of R’ Cebu in 2021, it had created more local innovation and created new products of local MSMEs and it has increased the number of interested local exhibitors/entrepreneurs due to the significant foot traffic observed in every R’ Cebu exhibition.
“Aside from increased local revenue from local entrepreneurs, it also opened wide opportunities such as assistance from the DTI for product enhancement, variety of workshops from various government agencies. Due to increased product exposure, their local products have gained more buyers,” Tabunag said.
Recently, Talisay City had its “Talisay Trade Fair” on June 17-19 showcasing 68 food, non-food micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and other service industries from the City at the City Hall Grounds in collaboration with the Talisay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the DTI-Cebu.
Talisay City mayor Gerald Gullas, Jr. noted that in 2021, in the midst of pandemic, 981 new businesses were registered in the City. “If you support the businesses in your city, it will come back as business taxes, and will eventually come back to the city,” he added
Shalimar Hofer Tamano, regional director of the Department of Tourism (DOT-7) said that MSMEs have been declared as the driver of the country’s economic growth. He added that no other than President-elect Ferdinand Marcos acknowledged Cebu as the leader of the MSMEs development and in running the tourism development in Cebu and in Central Visayas.
Tamano said he has seen how the LGUs and other agencies partnered and networked to work and develop the MSME and the tourism sectors here. The series of R’Cebu trade fairs and exhibits since 2021 up to the present proved to be the economic leverage for tourism and the MSMEs.
“Those fairs and exhibits allowed people to buy and support local, improved entrepreneurial development and showcased products and tourism destinations for more funding and project development in the future,” Tamano said.
DTI-7 regional director Maria Elena Arbon’s messages in those series of trade fairs since 2021 to the present amplified the dynamic leadership and ability of Cebu Province to assist MSMEs on the ground.
“These events give the market, the residents and tourists more options to buy local products and patronize local tourism destinations. As the lead enabler on MSME development, we in DTI are pleased to continuously support and provide guidance and assistance to our Cebu micro and small entrepreneurs grow their businesses,” Arbon said.
DTI-Cebu Provincial director Rose Mae Quiñanola said that this is a breakthrough of the partnership with the government and private industries in helping the MSMEs as the country goes back to normal. “This will foster our economy, and I hope we continue to promote local products and entrepreneurs,” she added.
DTI-7 said the presence of Negosyo Centers in LGUs in the different political districts in Cebu makes it more accessible for the entrepreneurs to avail services in the areas of entrepreneurship development, market access, product development, among others.
The MSME sector is crucial in the country’s economic recovery and path to prosperity as it comprises 99.5 percent of all business establishments in the Philippines generating 62.6 percent of jobs for Filipinos, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion said this during his meeting with President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. last June 15.
Conception told Marcos that the MSME sector needs access to money, market and mentorship opportunities. He said that large corporations can support MSMEs by including them in their value chain, allowing them to move up the ladder and help propel forward the country’s economic progress.