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DTI Philippines launches e-forum for MSME resilience amid COVID-19

The Department of Trade and Industry opened its three-day 2020 National MSME Resilience e-Forum focusing on ensuring the recovery of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), helping businesses adapt during the COVID-19 crisis.

The recent outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic greatly disrupted business operations in various parts of the world. With this situation in mind, this year’s National MSME Resilience e-Forum, Business Continuity Towards the “New Normal”, will focus on helping MSMEs adapt and recover in the time of the pandemic, DTI said in a statement.

On its first day, the zoom forum “Building Resilient MSMEs through Data and Communication” was aimed at helping business owners in “Understanding COVID-19 in the Lens of Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System”.

Topics discussed in the forum were, conducting risk assessment through the GeoRisk Philippines initiative, strengthening the resilience of the Philippine MSME sector amid COVID-19 pandemic, and strengthening MSME resilience through local government initiatives.

The next two days, the e-forum focused on “Capacity Building as Key to Ensuring Pandemic Productivity” (15 July) and “Supporting Resilience Initiatives through Policy and Finance” (16 July).

This e-forum was made possible through the collaborative efforts of DTI, the Department of Science and Technology, Office of Civil Defense, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Asia Pacific Alliance for Disaster Management-Philippines, Employers Confederation of the Philippines, and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre.

MSMEs also are encouraged to strengthen their online presence and digitise their businesses to adapt and bounce back stronger.

Recently, the Philippine Trade Training Center – Global MSMEs Academy (PTTC-GMEA) held a webinar entitled Strengthening Online Presence.

During the meeting, the head of business development for Google Philippines said it is important for MSMEs to have an online presence; equally important is having digital influence.

According to a survey from 2018, 65% of the respondents conduct research on the company before they make a purchasing decision. Thus, he urged MSMEs to focus on their social media.

Business resiliency as a corporate goal is the ability to anticipate, avoid, protect, respond, and recover from the effects of change and adversities. Adaptability skills are critical soft skills necessary at this time, an expert speaking at the meeting said.

The ability of entrepreneurs to leverage digital tools has become a must to survive the on-going crisis.

DTI and the Department of Tourism (DOT) also recently held a collaboration webinar, titled ‘CTRL+Biz: Reboot Tourism Now’.

The two agencies advised business owners to use computer processes to complete business needs. The webinar was for tourism workers and stakeholders to be guided by experts in the digital economy in their digital conversion.

OpenGov reported that a recent study showed 44% of Filipinos from the 35-44 age group have increased online purchasing during the pandemic.

Also, according to a 2020 Philippine Travel Survey Report, more than 12,000 individuals all over the country are still willing to travel but prefer contactless activities. Individuals prefer the convenience of using online platforms and contact reduction.

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