More than 500 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) and Go Negosyo entrepreneurs from all over the country converged for the launching of the Mentor Me Program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Friday, Oct. 7, at the Marco Polo Hotel that was graced by no less than President Duterte.
“Mr. President, allow us to call you Kuya Rody, our champion and big brother,” said Joey Concepcion, presidential adviser for entrepreneurship, who led the launching of the Mentor Me Program together with DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Concepcion said the country’s biggest problem is poverty and that he had asked President Duterte to help the MSMEs in the Philippines move up from “survival” to a “sustainable state.”
“The passion you have in solving drug problems is immense. We hope that the same passion that you have in fighting drug addiction will be the same passion you bring and help many of our micro and small entrepreneurs,” Concepcion said.
Mentor Me, which stands for Mentor Micro-Enterprise, is among the three components of “KAPATID, Angat Lahat! Program” being implemented by DTI in partnership with the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, Inc. – Go Negosyo (PCE-GN).
Mentor Me aims to help MSMEs in the country scale up their businesses through weekly coaching and mentoring by business owners and practitioners on different functional areas of entrepreneurship through the DTI’s Negosyo Centers.
“I would see that after a visit in China things would improve a lot. Maybe or maybe not I would have enough money to play around to fund things like Go Negosyo,” President Durterte said during his remarks at the event.
The President disclosed that when he assumed office as President, he no longer had capital outlay but only MOOE or funds allocated for the Executive Branch’s operations expenses.
“One thing worth watching is how China would respond to the challenges of our needs. If I get some loans I will give you some,” he said.
President Duterte said the first that thing he will focus on next year would to provide additional funding to enhance the education sector, provide assistance to drug dependents, enhance the nation’s agriculture industry, and empower the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
The Chief Executive also advised MSMEs who are participating in the DTI’s Mentor ME Program to learn from the lessons of the successful businesses in the country.
“When you learn from the learned then maybe something will come out of it,” the President pointed out.
He also told the MSMEs that they are close to his heart as he too, experienced a lot of difficulties in life before he became successful, adding, “Anak lang din ako ng mahirap.”
Meanwhile, Trade Secretary Lopez lauded the President’s campaign against the illegal drug trade, saying that its end result will be to decrease the country’s crime rate.
“Decrease in the number of crimes and corruption, Lopez added, are necessary fundamentals before we go into the 10 socio-economic agenda,” he pointed out.
According to Lopez, the DTI is now being flooded with queries from potential investors who see the Philippines as a big market.
Investors have also expressed their plans to expand their presence in other ASEAN markets once they put up their business in the Philippines, he added.