Sugbo Negosyo, the Cebu Provincial Government’s micro-enterprise assistance program, is another selfless act of Governor Gwendolyn Garcia aimed to revive the economy of the Province of Cebu.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez expressed this in a message relayed by Assistant Secretary Aster Caberte during the program launch Wednesday, September 30.
“I wish to extend our warmest greetings and gratitude to Governor Gwen Garcia for another selfless act in behalf of the Provincial Government of Cebu for contributing to the over-all economic recovery agenda of government and even allocating a substantial portion for the SME sector that is hard hit by this pandemic,” Lopez said.
“The initiative that our long-time partner in SME advocacy Governor Gwen has done can definitely be considered as best practice that other local chief executives can follow. Maraming salamat Gov Gwen,” he added.
Garcia tapped the DTI and the Mandaue Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) to help the Province’s small and medium-sized enterprises and future SMEs amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Caberte and MCCI President Steven Yu expressed their gratitude to the governor for spearheading the Sugbo Negosyo program and involving them in the Capitol’s initiative to promote and sustain an entrepreneurial culture encouraging new and existing SMEs for a better normal.
“As I speak, 90,000 SMEs have closed down. They are already belly-up, not even staying above water, they’re all closed. And this is six percent of the total number of SMEs in the country,” Caberte stated, adding that other provinces and other regions were “crying in envy” because of such timely initiative.
“I thank Governor Gwen for personally opening up the province to us, the Department of Trade and Industry, for giving us a chance to personally dialogue with the affected SMEs. It was really my personal experience visiting the towns in the province, giving us the chance to dialogue with affected SMEs to be able to craft something for them which they really need in this pandemic,” she added.
SMEs have a crucial role in the revival of the Philippine economy crushed by the pandemic, Caberte said, as they comprise 99 percent of the business community contributing 30 percent in the Philippine economy and employing over 62 percent manpower.
It is also a driver of innovation as SMEs try to cultivate the “seeds of creativity” to become more competitive in a very challenging market, she added.
“This makes our SMEs underrated gems that have so much potential to drive a more balanced and long-term economic growth, job generation, income distribution especially in the rural areas,” she stressed.
She urged the local government to leverage this strength and provide a gateway for them to grow, foster, and shine to their greatest potential.
Caberte lauded the Sugbo Negosyo which is an “offspring of shared hope, a will to help, and a compassion for all” coinciding with the national government’s vision to stimulate vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in the province.
“The generous fund support of the Provincial Government of Cebu, sana all, because other regions definitely cannot afford this. In force by the skills, knowledge and network of the DTI through its Negosyo Centers and the Mandaue Chambers of Commerce and Industry makes a perfect formula for success when implemented efficiently,” Caberte said.
Yu, for his part, said the MCCI committed to assist in the program implementation and looked forward its successful and meaningful completion.
MCCI had worked with the Capitol before under the leadership of Garcia where they become one of the finalist in the World Chamber Competition in Doha, Quatar competing with 12 other countries around the world.
“This year, we once again take on this challenge to help micro and small business owners and promote local economy through Sugbo Negosyo. This is most timely intervention when all businesses are welling from the effects of the pandemic,” he said, adding that MCCI is committed to provide the necessary support through mentorship. (Mylen Manto)