In partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, MSME Caravan aims to train micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) how to grow their business efficiently through a wide array of digital tools such as Google My Business and Primer app, and access to experts. The program planned to deliver on this goal via physical events when it was first announced last February 2020. The pandemic arrived and the Caravan carried on via webinars to help small businesses acquire digital skills so they can continue serving their customers online. To date, the training program has reached more than 14,000 business owners for 2020 alone. MSMEs interested to join the training can register through the campaign website.
According to the United Nations Development Programme, MSMEs play a crucial role in the inclusive economic recovery of the Philippines as they comprise 99.5% of businesses and employ about 63% of the workforce. MSMEs generated 40% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in previous years and this number has declined by 16.5% due to the impact of the pandemic.
Aside from providing free training, Google Philippines aims to help small businesses by inspiring them through stories of hope from the MSME community. As part of the MSME Caravan updates, the company launched an online video featuring Dalareich Chocolate House from Bohol, White Beard Coffee from Siargao, and Kanami Supplies (woven face masks) from Quezon City who shared how they started and how the pandemic has challenged them to rise above difficulties.
Google Philippines also announced that starting today, Filipino merchants can list their products on Google Shopping tab for free. For MSMEs, this change means free product exposure to millions of people who come to Google every day for their shopping needs. For shoppers, it means more products from more stores, discoverable through the Google Shopping tab. For advertisers, it means paid campaigns can now be augmented with free listings.
“Economic recovery is a critical moment for the Philippines and Google is committed to supporting the country through the best of our technology and programs like the MSME Caravan. We will continue to empower Filipinos and our partners with the right digital knowledge and tools so the benefits of technology can be harnessed for the safe rebuilding of our economy,” said Bernadette Nacario, Country Director of Google Philippines.
“Digitalizing and supporting local businesses is important to Google. Earlier this year, we launched MSME Caravan to train more small businesses nationwide so they can strengthen their presence online and maximize the benefits of the growing digital economy,” said Mervin Wenke, Google Philippines Head of Communications and Public Affairs. “During the pandemic, this commitment has become even more important and we continued delivering on this goal by conducting more virtual workshops and entering into strategic partnerships. We hope that this webinar will be helpful to the MSME community so they can leverage the power of going digital for their business.”
“Digitalization is one of the keys to help our MSMEs cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. This will help small businesses reap the benefits of the growing digital economy, including reaching and engaging customers while prioritizing their well-being. We’re glad our partnership with Google Philippines will enable us to conduct webinars and offer other resources to help small businesses digitalize at this important time,” said Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez.
In terms of supporting safe local tourism, Filipinos will soon be able discover things to do and places to go in the Explore tab on Google Maps as recommended by the Department of Tourism. By following the Department of Tourism profile in Google Maps when this becomes available soon, people can get recommendations that range from restaurants and shopping malls to cultural attractions and other tourism activities across the country.
“The revival of local tourism plays a significant role in the recovery of our economy. The strategic use of technology will help us reopen our destinations while ensuring the health and safety of Filipinos. Thank you to Google Philippines! The DOT is excited with the possibilities ahead for Google Maps in helping our tourism establishments bounce back,” said Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, Secretary of the Department of Tourism.