Negosyo Centers

According to RA 10644, the law which calls for the creation of the Negosyo Centers, the Centers will be responsible for promoting “ease of doing business and facilitating access to services for MSMEs within its jurisdiction”, such as:

  1. Business Registration Assistance
    1. Accept and facilitate all new registration and renewal application of MSMEs, including application for Barangay Micro-Business Enterprise (BMBE);
    2. Coordinate with the respective local government units (LGUs) and liaise with concerned government agencies to process the duly accomplished forms submitted by the MSMEs;
    3. Implement a unified business registration process preferably through automated systems such as the Philippine Business Registry (PBR);
  2. Business Advisory Services
    1. Assist MSMEs in meeting regulatory requirements to start and maintain the business;
    2. Build local support networks and establish market linkages for MSME development through the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council and DTI;
    3. Facilitate access to grants and other forms of financial assistance, shared service facilities and equipment, and other support for MSMEs through national government agencies (NGAs);
    4. Ensure management guidance, assistance and improvement of the working conditions of MSMEs;
    5. Co-organize with the local chambers of commerce, other business organizations and government agencies, a mentoring program for prospective and current entrepreneurs and investors;
    6. Conduct other programs or projects for entrepreneurial development in the country aligned with the MSMEs development plan.
  3. Business Information and Advocacy
    1. Provide information and services in training, financing, marketing and other areas as may be required by MSMEs;
    2. Establish and maintain a databank which will support business information requirements of MSMEs;
    3. Promote ease of doing business and access to services for MSMEs within its jurisdiction;
    4. Support private sector activities relating to MSMEs development;
    5. Encourage government institutions that are related to the business application process to help promulgate information regarding the Negosyo Center;
    6. Coordinate with schools and related organizations on the development of youth entrepreneurship program;
    7. Encourage women entrepreneurship through access to information, training, credit facilities, and other forms of assistance.
  4. Monitoring and Evaluation
    1. Monitor and recommend business-process improvement for MSMEs;
    2. Establish a feedback mechanism among the MSMEs in the respective jurisdiction of Negosyo Centers.
  5. Perform such other functions that may be assigned by the MSMED Council as germane to RA 10644 and other related laws.

I think all of the above have already been implemented in one way or another by one or two programs of DTI in the past. I wonder what is the value added of having another law passed concerning SME development. What will this new law bring to the table?

According to a presentation that I got hold of, the law has three salient features which could make it an improvement over all the other laws that was passed before it. One is that it will reconstitute the MSMED Council and it also formulated additional functions for it. Two, and I think, the most unique about this particular law, is the establishment of Negosyo Centers in all provinces, cities, and municipalities nationwide. Three is the registration of MSMEs: a simplified business registration is being proposed and a BMBE Certificate of Authority (for microenterprises) will also be issued.

The Centers are actually expected to offer a lot of services:

  1. business name registration
  2. business consultancy/advisory services and referrals
  3. provision of SME information brochures, newsprints, business report, and viewing of livelihood tapes
  4. preparation of feasibility studies and business plan
  5. business linkages between buyers and suppliers
  6. entrepreneurship and management training programs
  7. business incubation
  8. SME One Stop Clinic Services (“General Hospital” for SMEs)
  9. support to IP registration
  10. identifying brands for SMEs which can be registered for IP
  11. promoting a culture of innovation
  12. build on OTOP/OVOB/provincial branding schemes
  13. regular training e.g. entrepreneurship, environment/safety measures, financial management
  14. specialized business consulting (improving competitiveness, sustainable practices, technology commercialization)
  15. consultancy – one-on-one business guidance to SME development, market research, training needs, bookkeeping, business values and ethics
  16. Negosyo Center library (books, reading materials, statistical reports, directories, etc.)
  17. access to knowledge database website (technology, market)
  18. market matching and credit facilitation

Institutionalizing Innovations in Negosyo Centers

Yesterday D/LRG had a Skype conference call with the account person from the German Development Cooperation about a new project that DTI proposed to GIZ. The new project is to be funded by the ASEAN-German Promoting Innovation and Technology (PIT) Program. Specifically, the new project is called “Negosyo Centers – Institutionalized Innovation Assistance for SMEs”. Its key purpose is to provide assistance to DTI to foster innovations in SMEs through institutionalizing innovation promotion in Negosyo Centers.

Negosyo Center is a new facility to be established by virtue of RA10644 or the Go Negosyo Act. It is primarily aimed to serve as business incubator which will provide (1) affordable and accessible common business development services to SMEs and start-ups and (2) a knowledge support system that will nurture and facilitate innovation and growth of SMEs. It is envisioned that at least one Negosyo Center will be established in each province.

This new project aims to provide capacity development interventions, specifically on promoting innovations, to SME Counsellors who will be tasked to manage these Negosyo Centers. It is also aimed to complement existing DTI programs on SME development such as:

  1. Shared Services Facilities (SSF) which provide critical equipment to help community-based associations of MSMEs become more competitive through cost efficiency, improved product quality and productivity.
  2. SME Roving Academy (SMERA) which is a continuous learning program for the development of MSMEs to become competitive in the domestic and international markets.
  3. National Industry Cluster Capacity Enhancement Project (NICCEP) which provides assistance to develop the capacity of selected industry clusters to plan and implement cluster upgrading strategies as well as enhance service delivery to improve cluster competitiveness.
  4. Promotion of Green Economic Development (ProGED) which supports SMEs to go green and become more environment-friendly and climate-smart while increasing competitiveness.

The above programs are however sectoral in nature, that is, it engages with a number of SMEs in a given industry sector. While this is appropriate in addressing common issues and challenges for a given sector, there is still a need for a fim-level assistance that would cater to the needs and requirements of individual SMEs. This need is what the Negosyo Centers are designed to fill.

The proposed project will have six major components, as follows:

  1. Conceptualizing an innovation promotion capacity development strategy for the Negosyo Centers. This was initially proposed to be conducted in 2 expert days. However, Ms. FJ noted that this time frame may too ambitious so she suggested increasing the number of expert days to 7.
  2. Training of trainers for DTI, selected members of the academe and established BDS providers. Four expert days is the time frame for this and 1,000 EUR was allocated for this activity.
  3. Capacity building for SME counsellors and standardization of processes and services together with the trained trainers. This is designed to have one intensive and detailed training workshop (1 week), follow up visits, and validation of the Operations Manual for Negosyo Centers. The time frame is 6 expert days and the indicative workshop cost is 2,500 EUR. Ms. JF suggested collapsing this training with that in Item 2. In my understanding what she is proposing is to have one continuous training/workshop that will have two modules. The first one is a general training for the DTI personnel who will man the Negosyo Centers. The second one is a more detailed and comprehensive training for the trainers who will actually go to the provinces and municipalities to replicate the workshops to other would-be SME counsellors or staff in the Negosyo Centers.
  4. Linking Negosyo Centers to German innovation institutes or an innovation partner in Germany for partnership, coaching and mentoring – through the PIT/PPS, from the start till the end of the intervention.
  5. Conducting action research focusing on the experience of the SME counsellors and clients and with a view of identifying constraints and opportunities for improvement. D/LRG noted that this is an evaluation or assessment and entails documenting the best practices, facilitating and hindering factors so that it can also be shared with other ASEAN countries. Ms. JF said that the overall PIT program already has a component on knowledge management and knowledge sharing that could cover this activity, hence this may not be needed anymore.
  6. Engaging and M&E. This involves assessing the application of the introduced concepts and processes to identify lessons learned in follow up visits. This will be accomplished in 8 expert days and the workshop costs is 2,500 EUR.

The call was made at 5pm and I had to stay cause I was the one who setup the Skype call and I was needed in case a technical problem would arise. Fortunately, the video call went smoothly. D/LRG actually commented that the video and audio quality was very good unlike the previous conference calls with Bernd where there were lags in audio/video transmission. I said that it is because there were no employees anymore who competes with the Wi-Fi bandwidth. The previous Skype meetings with Bernd were held at around 2-3pm and the employees are still around. Their smartphones and tablets are most probably connected to the Wi-Fi and thus competing with the overall bandwidth.

Hello world!

This is my very first post and this blog is my latest attempt on creating a personal journal. There are a lot of things going on in my work, a lot of new things, a lot of learnings. I feel that there is a need for me transfer all these new information into something that I will be able to review, study, analyze.