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QR-coded coupons for MSME assistance program
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Monday, September 7, 2020
Capitol’s micro-business assistance program will be using digital coupons with QR codes that will allow program beneficiaries redeem goods and raw materials for their businesses. (Lito Tecson)

Digital coupons that will be used to redeem goods and raw materials from suppliers will be given to the beneficiaries of the Cebu Provincial Government's micro-business assistance program.

The dynamics of the program involves purchase of goods from suppliers since the assistance is in kind, not in cash, so recipients will make good use of government-funded assistance. 

According to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Scholar and Information Technology Expert Eddie Ybañez in a meeting Monday, September 7, the digital coupons will have a Quick Response (QR) code resembling how PayMaya works to ensure authenticity. 

“Kon familiar mo anang sa style sa PayMaya, ingon ana ni siya (digital coupon),” Ybañez said.

Much like using a PayMaya application on one’s mobile phone to scan a merchant’s QR code, the digital coupons will instantly provide details on goods on a so-called wishlist of the micro-entrepreneur. The goods or raw materials will be used for either a startup or the repurposing of a business heavily affected by the pandemic.

Since the assistance is in kind, the Provincial Social Welfare Development Office, headed by Marivic Garces, said it is important to have a checklist of the supplies needed by a certain micro-business to start.

For example, a sari-sari (variety) store owner will redeem goods from a partner-retailer such as Metro Gaisano. A displaced worker who has construction or plumbing skills may redeem goods from Cebu Home and Builders of Cebu Oversea Hardware or from Cebu Home Atlantic Hardware.

As for meat products, Bellshayce Trading offered to provide a freezer to entrepreneurs with huge volume of orders for distribution. 

Bellshayce Trading is the supplier of “chorizo” for the “Tindahan sa Kapitolyo” program offering marked down prices at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic so constituents in the fourth and fifth income class municipalities in the Province were able to stretch their money for basic commodities.

Ong King Kin and Cebu Commercial Kitchen also committed to provide baking and cooking equipment, respectively, while People’s Educational Supply promised to provide office supplies.

Angel Sportswear, which has always been supportive of the Capitol’s initiative against Covid-19, agreed to provide training to budding entrepreneurs who might want to engage in sewing rags (trapo) commonly sold at one peso on the street.

“This is a stimulus package. Dili man na ingon nga igkahurot sa P100 million nga allocation of the program nga mohunong na na ang programa. The program is geared to be sustainable. Makaganansya naman na ang micro businesses ug anha ninyo mangompra,” the governor pointed out to suppliers in the said meeting.

The micro-business assistance program, set to launch on September 10, is an earnest desire of Governor Garcia to help constituents redeem or improve their businesses, or engage in a startup. 

The Capitol, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) 7, will grant to qualified micro-entrepreneurs or beneficiaries their “negosyo kits” which will utilize coupons that can be used to redeem goods worth P10,000 as “seed capital.” 

This amount can go as high as P20,000 depending on the viability of the business proposal.

Estimated allocation is P15 million through the Vice Governor’s Office to cover an estimated 1,500 recipients and P85 million through the 17 Provincial Board members at P5 million each covering 1,000 beneficiaries per district. 

The governor further announced that the Cebu CFI Community Cooperative, with Atty. Winston Garcia as chairman, vowed to provide loans to these micro-entrepreneurs to uphold sustainability.

After the launch, evaluation of applications will 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 so that by November 9 the monitoring of the micro-business assistance could start.

Application to the program is open to residents of the Province of Cebu, and 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 Municipal or City Social Welfare Development Office. (Eleanor Valeros)