This Christmas season, our gifts take a meaningful turn when we not only make their recipients happy, but also support a worthwhile cause. What better way to do this than by gifting locally-made products by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs): whether sweet treats, artisanal goods, local apparel, home decorations, or other keepsakes. By doing this, we not only keep our heritage alive by promoting local craftsmanship and delicacies, we also help businesses bounce back.
In partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Buy Local, Support Local campaign, SM is providing MSMEs a way to sell their products through the SM Christmas Markets. The SM Christmas Markets are simultaneously happening in 54 SM malls nationwide, featuring around 300 MSME participants from nearby communities, DTI partners, tenants of SM Supermalls, and partner suppliers of Kultura. Buy Local, Support Local is a national campaign that aims to boost demand for Philippine-made products, particularly those from small businesses. SM Christmas Markets will run from November 9, 2020 to January 3, 2021.
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, SM Supermalls President Steven Tan, and SM Retail President Chito Manalo personally visited the MSME participants of the SM Christmas Markets at SM Megamall on Tuesday, November 17. During the short program, Sec. Lopez emphasized the importance of supporting local products to jumpstart the economy.
“The MSMEs are a big part of our economy, accounting for 70 percent of employment. It’s really important to save MSMEs to save jobs,” he said.
He also lauded The SM Group’s longstanding support for MSMEs through its partnerships and participation in government-led initiatives such as Go Lokal! and OTOP (One Town, One Product) hubs.
“We are thankful that SM partnered early on in Go Lokal!, establishing a market incubation concept where we can carry MSME products. SM also continues to work with us during this difficult time of the pandemic, giving waivers and rental adjustments to its partners. This really allowed MSMEs to bounce back,” Lopez said.
Community, marketplace, partner of MSMEs
SM Christmas Markets is just one of the avenues SM has been helping its MSME partners bounce back from the impact of the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tan highlighted that since its humble beginnings, SM has always been a community, marketplace and partner of MSMEs.
“SM’s humble beginnings and these trying times that we find ourselves in only fuelour drive to help MSMEs. For more than 60 years, SM has been home to over 80,000 MSMEs, serving as their community, marketplace, and partner,” Tan said.
Manalo meanwhile underscored the symbiotic relationship of SM and its MSME partners even in the face of challenges. While SM has served as a breeding ground for the growth of many MSMEs, he also acknowledged them as the backbone of SM’s business.
“We want to maximize our assistance to our community of MSMEs and create meaningful impact that is why we are continuously working with other members of the private sector and the government to find immediate as well as long term solutions that will ensure business resilience and sustainability for the most vulnerable members of our community,” Manalo said.
SM traces its roots from being a small shoe store in downtown Manila, so its affinity with MSMEs comes naturally. Some of its MSME partners started as homegrown businesses. As SM grew, a longstanding partnership has evolved beyond being a business transaction into an enabling community where MSMEs are nurtured in SM stores, malls, and other business ventures.