Valenzuela city helps SMMEs engaged in online selling

The Valenzuela City government has initiated a public-private partnership with a local social media page and group curator to help small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs) survive the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) health crisis. 

SUPPORTING LOCAL SMMEs. Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian (2nd from left) signs a memorandum of agreement with the administrators of Valenzuela Online Palengke and Valenzuela Online Tiangge at the City Hall on Thursday (Oct. 1, 2020). The agreement aims to help the city’s small, medium, and micro enterprises expand their markets amid the Covid-19 crisis. (Photo grabbed from Mayor Rex Gatchalian's Facebook page/MANILA BULLETIN)

The city government on Thursday (Oct.1) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the administrators of Valenzuela Online Palengke and Valenzuela Online Tiangge to enable local entrepreneurs to gain a wider market.

Mayor Rex Gatchalian said the pact seeks to provide the necessary support for small-time sellers shifting to the new normal of online selling.

"We will help her get these pages out in the market through boosts and online ads. In return, her pages will become the online marketplace for our home-based entrepreneurs who wish to get their products in the digital marketplace," Gatchalian said in a social media post on Thursday night. "This is our way of helping our micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs."

Under the agreement, the city government would boost the posts of local SMMEs and online sellers on Facebook to help them reach a wider range of audience apart from their pages' followers, targeting consumers residing outside Valenzuela.

“We tapped into existing capacities out there, through this partnership, we want to make sure that there is space for SMMEs to be able to sell and get their products out there," he said.

The city government would be in charge of the advertising, boosting, placing banner ads, and provide other online efforts for these Facebook pages, Gatchalian added.

Donna Aguirre, administrator of Valenzuela Online Palengke, thanked the city government for helping small entrepreneurs expand their businesses amid the health crisis, a move that she described as "timely."

“I am very grateful because the group is supported by the city government of Valenzuela. I am also very thankful for this project because it will help our online sellers who have been displaced by this pandemic," Aguirre said.

Two weeks after the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila, Aguirre began to create a community group to curate online sellers in Valenzuela City.

Aguirre initially created a Facebook group for personal online browsing and purchasing of necessities without needing to go out, which follows the minimum health standards to halt the transmission of COVID-19.

"At least nakikita natin ‘yung (we can see the) support ng (of the) city government for small businesses. Hindi lang yung malalaking businesses ‘yung sinu-support, pati yung mga maliliit na businesses din (They are not only supporting big businesses but small businesses as well),” she said.

According to the city government, Valenzuela Online Palengke has gained more than 25,000 members, leading to the establishment of the Valenzuela Online Tiangge, its counterpart for non-food items.

With nearly 19,000 local SMMEs in Valenzuela, the city said some small businesses have resorted to online selling via Facebook to continue earning while physical operation of stores  and public transportation are still limited.

"This endeavor also goes with the national government’s initiative to provide assistance to affected businesses and communities during the pandemic by expressing its support through the grant of financial assistance by the means of social media advertisements and as passed by the City Council in its Resolution No. 1802, series of 2020, last September 14," the city government said.