By Jezza Nepomoceno
ILOILO – Micro entrepreneurs are getting much attention these days as the province develops to become business-friendly and globally competitive.
With the help of the Department of Science and Technology in Western Visayas, the Provincial Planning and Development Office, through its Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion Division, is providing packaging assistance to hundreds of micro enterprises in Iloilo.
Among those who benefited from the assistance is prison guard Mayflor Cepeda of MC Food Products in Calinog, Iloilo.
She and 49 other micro entrepreneurs received prototype labels and packaging materials from by DOST-6 in a ceremony held at Casa Real de Iloilo on May 27.
Cepeda sells tropical fruits and produces assorted pasties and other native delicacies to support her family, especially her son who is now studying in a private college in Iloilo City.
Grateful of the aid, Cepeda said the program taught her to preserve her products better and enhance its aesthetic value.
“It helps me boost my self-confidence because I can guarantee that my products are of good quality,” she said.
During the ceremony, Provincial Administrator Raul Banias reiterated the support of Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. to micro, small and medium enterprises.
“In our belief that the major driver of our local economy is the micro, small and medium enterprises, the province, under Gov. Arthur Defensor Sr., has enhanced, expanded and sustained support to this sector,” he said.
He added that with this assistance, they hoped that “they can penetrate and widen their market, enhance profitability and create more jobs”.
The provincial government partnered with DOST-6 to implement the program in late 2015 to develop and enhance the market competitiveness of locally produced food products in Iloilo.
Through the program, the micro entrepreneurs are capacitated to penetrate the market in malls, supermarkets and similar establishments, prolong the shelf-life of their products and comply with country’s labeling regulations.
Only the micro entrepreneurs belonging to priority sectors (e.g. food processing) and those producing priority products (e.g. snack foods, nuts, pickled vegetables, dried fruits and fish, chips, biscuits, cookies, & candies) can avail of the assistance.
DOST-6 and the Province of Iloilo will hold an impact monitoring six months after the release of the labels and packaging prototypes to the beneficiaries.