Small businesses must be AI-ready, Marcos says

Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in the country should be introduced to artificial intelligence (AI)- powered system to comply with the changing technological demands, President Marcos said.

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President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. (Photo courtesy of Malacañang)

Marcos pitched this during a sectoral meeting on Tuesday, April 30, stressing that MSMEs need to be fully equipped with modern technology to keep up with both physical and online demands amid technological advancements.

“We are not teaching them to be engineers, AI engineers. We’re not teaching them to be blockchain engineers. We’re teaching them how to use the system that we have provided. That, I think, we have to be clear about that,” the President said.

“Don’t teach the theory that goes on behind it, but just teach what it is that they need to use the AI. That’s the whole point of AI, you just talk, that’s where we want to get them to,” he added.

The Chief Executive also said the government’s efforts to introduce MSMEs to AI system aims to ensure the ease of doing business, and to make it “as easy as possible, as simple as possible” for them.

During the meeting, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual presented the fourth iteration of the Development Plan that focuses on a progressive and smart approach to MSME development with the vision of an “innovative and resilient MSMEs in a digitally sustainable ecosystem, creating sufficient number of quality jobs and driving high levels of continued inclusive national growth towards global competitiveness.”

According to Malacañang, topics discussed during the meeting were automating business regulatory processes and transactions, innovative financing methods, reskill and upskill management, expediting the integration of technology and innovation to propel the growth of the MSME sector, institutionalizing the One Town, One Product (OTOP) across all local government units to stimulate growth at the local level and penetrating the global market.

In 2022, MSMEs comprised 99.59 percent of total establishments in the Philippines. They contributed 65.10 percent to total employment, highlighting their huge impact on jobs and livelihood in the country.