The micro-business assistance program of the Cebu Provincial Government to uplift the countryside, particularly those displaced from work by the Covid-19 pandemic, will be launched on September 8.
This was agreed in an August 19 meeting presided by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, with representatives of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7 led by Assistant Secretary Asteria “Aster” Caberte, representatives of Philippine Veterans Bank led by Ofelia Oliva, and 6th District Provincial Board (PB) Member Glenn Anthony Soco who chairs the PB Committee on Commerce and Trade.
Through the program, Cebu Province workers displaced from their domestic or international jobs and residents who belong to the lowest 20 percent income group will be given a chance to start or recover their economic enterprises.
It is the earnest desire of Governor Garcia to help constituents redeem or improve their businesses, or engage in a startup.
The program launch will jumpstart the acceptance of applications both online and offline.
Caberte, in her presentation, said the DTI rises to the occasion by providing technical assistance to the Capitol for this worthwhile project of the governor for workers who have been badly affected by the pandemic.
She said that DTI sees how the project brings government services and business development assistance closer to the people which is one of the national agenda of the agency.
The Capitol, in partnership with DTI, will grant to qualified micro-entrepreneurs or beneficiaries their “negosyo kits” which will utilize coupons that can be used to redeem goods worth P5,000 or P10,000 as “seed capital.”
Estimated allocation is P15 million through the Vice Governor’s Office and P85 million for the 17 PB members at P5 million each. There is approximately 20,000 beneficiaries of P5,000 per kit.
However, Garcia said that with seven districts in the Province, the beneficiaries are expected to reach 80,000.
DTI 7 will also assist in facilitating business registration for the business name, barangay micro-business enterprise registration, and the registration with the local government unit (LGU) for the mayor’s permit.
It will provide business advisory such as counseling on small and medium enterprise, product development, financing facilitation, market/business matching, trade promotion, and investment promotion.
The agency will also help in business information and advocacy such as information dissemination, training, seminars, and workshops both online and offline, as well as referral to Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) agencies.
After the launch, evaluation of applications is expected to be done from October 9 to 15, announcement of beneficiaries on October 16, orientation and consultation from October 19-24, awarding of beneficiaries on the 26th, and distribution of coupons by district from October 26-31.
Monitoring of the micro-business assistance is set to start by November 9.
Application for the program is open to residents of the Province of Cebu who are at least 18 years of age at the time of application. High priority is given to individuals in the lowest 20 percent income group and displaced workers as certified by the Social Welfare Development Office.
Caberte said that the program is also open to new and existing micro-entrepreneurs severely affected by Covid-19, including those that are pivoting or repurposing their business under a New Normal setting. A good example of this is the production of face masks and other personal protective equipment.
The application is also open to other disadvantaged groups and marginalized sectors such as the differently abled, the youth, and enterprises who went bankrupt and of which the Capitol may deem appropriate for priority assistance.
Implementing partners are the Offices of the Governor and the Vice Governor, the Provincial Board, LGUs, and DTI Negosyo Centers in partnership with MSMED-related agencies such as national government agencies, the academe, non-government organizations, financing institutions, business chambers, and local MSMED Councils.
Cebu Province has 27 Negosyo Centers located in the Province’s seven districts. These are in the cities of Naga, Carcar, Talisay, Bogo, Danao, and Mandaue as well as in the towns of Dalaguete, Balamban, Pinamungajan, Tuburan, Bantayan, Daanbantayan, Madridejos, Medellin, San Remigio, Santa Fe, Tabogon, Tabuelan, Borbon, Pilar, Poro, San Francisco, Sogod, Tudela, Consolacion, Alegria, and Moalboal. (Eleanor Valeros)