Fueling resilience with patriotism: The story of Filipino MSMEs

Published March 25, 2021, 12:01 PM

by Jonnah Lynne Pante

The Philippines is a country of diverse talents. One of the many indicators of this is how Filipino MSMEs parade creativity and craftsmanship with their proudly local products. From everyday staples and necessities to products that one would consider a luxury, name it and it’s highly likely that there’s a manufacturer somewhere among the over 7,000 islands in the country who takes pride in producing them.

The number of MSMEs in the Philippines has grown significantly over the years. Although there is a saturation of retail stores in the National Capital Region (NCR), provinces are experiencing a growth scenario, which means economic opportunities are sprouting in different regions of the country and MSME owners are slowly but surely finding avenues to reach more consumers.

According to the 2019 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, the top five regions with the most number of MSMEs include NCR (20.2 percent), Region IV-A CALABARZON (14.8 percent), Region III or Central Luzon (11.6 percent), Region VII or Central Visayas (7 percent) and Region VI or Western Visayas (6 percent). The DTI said that in 2019, MSMEs in the Philippines generated a total of 5,510,760 jobs or 62.4% of the country’s total employment.

Since the country is on its way to survive a recession caused by COVID-19, DTI has successfully launched a number of campaigns that hold a recall among consumers including the Buy Local, Go Lokal initiative. Success stories surfaced amid the pandemic, proving even more that there’s a brighter future ahead of local MSMEs as long as there is patronage from fellow Filipinos.

Take for example the story of Mama Cili Enterprises from Anda, Pangasinan. When the pandemic restricted their production of bottled foods, Mama Cili managed to generate sales through orders from customers in their community. The enterprise owner, Cecilia Natividad, acknowledged how government agencies like the DTI, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Department of Agriculture (DA) helped MSMEs like hers to continue doing business through funding assistance and marketing programs like the virtual trade fairs where they were able to participate for free.

Manila Chocolatier operations manager Mr. Reagan Ayles, meanwhile, shared the support of Filipino consumers is a great encouragement for MSMEs to keep their business going and to come up with more creative ways to provide good quality products and services.

In 2020, Go Lokal helped 131 MSMEs from all over the country to sell online in Carousell, LazMall, Shopee Mall, Shopinas, and UnionBank GlobalLinker. To date, over 1,000 local products also found their way to the digital space as more MSMEs opened their own online stores in various e-commerce platforms with Go Lokal microsites and flagship stores.

Bulacan-based MAJ Sweet Shoppe Phils., Inc., one of the MSMEs that benefited from online selling shared that it helped their business thrive amid the pandemic.

“The DTI’s Go Lokal project paved the way for MAJ to transition from traditional selling to online selling which we could not have achieved in such a short time on our own,” Lorie J. Carlos, the general manager, said. “Nowadays, it is impossible for a business to survive without building its online presence. The DTI’s Go Lokal helped us do that.”

MSMEs are considered the backbone of the Philippine economy and their imperative role has been even more emphasized when the pandemic struck. Once the country recovers from this economic slump, the impact of the contribution of MSMEs will be felt in the long term. In this shared goal of helping the country slowly rise up again, no effort is big or small. 

Support local and discover more about the country’s diverse MSMEs and their products, visit the Go Lokal Concept Store in Makati and shop online through Lazmall, Shopee Mall, Shopinas, Unionbank GlobalLinker.