Sunday, March 25, 2018

DTI's Free Negosyo Seminar Batch 3 & How Government Agencies Can Help Local Industries

The third batch of the Department of Trade's Free Negosyo Seminar is launched March 26 2018 at the Vittoria 1 in Bantay, Ilocos Sur. Some innovative products are featured among the chosen mentees from small entrepreneurs and groups in Ilocos Sur.
Most notable has been the "abel" espadrilles and custom-shaped dress and top. Staple food products are the rice cakes (bibingka, leche flan, puto), processed meat bagnet, coffee, sugarcane products - muscovado and balicucha sugars (now, these sweets are worth checking out and supporting because they are organically processed), vinegar, and Ilocos wine basi, and woven bags/baskets from a palm variety.

Suggestions on how local government units and the provincial government offices can help these local producers/manufacturers:
1. Mandate local government offices to support abel products as part of their uniforms. Cost may be a little bit higher but that is to compensate for the actual cotton fabrics used as opposed to the plastic fabrics often preferred by government offices. One example is this comfortable cotton abel top from one of the mentees, probably from Caoayan:

2. Use local food products in their catering needs in meetings, seminars, forums, workshops, and other events such as the Palarong Pambansa for their meals and merienda.
3. Use local and eco-friendly products for their event announcements or invitations such as this from Bantay, Ilocos Sur's ToyKalapawMi made of old book pages:

4. Add more exposure to local industries not only in trade fairs but also target global markets through strategic online marketing and promotion. For a while, even the Department of Science and Technology attempted to help local industries by featuring Philippine-made products in their sponsored website, but it lacked direct and smooth purchasing as well as impossible user-interface. The DOST also refuse affordable workshops to transfer technologies to their local industry clients.

Sustaining local industries remain a challenge not only for policy and government but more so for the entrepreneurs. Rents are very high and the retail industry is currently dominated by foreign but Philippine-based real estate giants like SM, Robinson's, and Ayala. If the national and local governments will avoid intervention,  these MNCs will continue eating up local industries and flood the local market with disposable plastics made from China and processed foods from dubious raw materials while allowing only a marginal return of investment for locals.