DTI-12 slates regionwide business caravan

Ibrahim Guiamadel, DTI Region 12 director, said the caravan primarily aims to gather aspiring entrepreneurs in the region and provide them opportunities that will help jumpstart their businesses.

He said the activity, dubbed "Business Caravan," is slated on the first week of March.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, Cotabato and the cities of Koronadal, General Santos, Kidapawan, Tacurong and Cotabato. 

Guimadel said the caravan, which is part of the DTI's Livelihood Emergency Assistance Program or LEAP, will provide a package of services to aspiring entrepreneurs and offer employment opportunities to the unemployed or those who were laid off as a result of company closures.

It will feature product demonstrations, briefing on micro-credit financing, business development coaching and online business name registration.

"(We're expecting to gather) hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs or residents affected by the crisis," Guiamadel said in a statement. 

Guiamadel said among the projects that will be highlighted in the Business Caravan are the production of moringa (Malunggay), coco-based products, charcoal briquette, Pangasius, muscovado, banana chips, peanut butter, tiger grass brooms, tinagtag, massage therapy, bahalina wine, ethnic food, abaca/sinamay products, dried fish, bamboo furniture and furnishings, banana catsup, honeybee, bayong, tilapia, gift boxes, meat products and flower pots.

He said they will also introduce ventures on loom weaving, water lily development, bead work, pawnshop, botica sa barangay, flower arrangement, and coffee nursery.

Guimadel said they will also help provide opportunities for those who are considering joining the franchising bandwagon as well as offer possible financing alternatives.

The caravan, which was based on a directive earlier issued by the DTI central office, will be led by the agency’s regional operations development group, Philippine Trade Training Center, Bureau of Micro Small and Medium Enterprise, Bureau of Domestic Trade, Cottage Industry Technology Center and and other business development service providers.

Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila earlier mobilized all DTI bureaus and attached agencies to embark on massive livelihood programs for residents who will be affected by the continuing global financial crisis.

To finance such initiative, the DTI has tapped the P100-million Industrial Guarantee and Loans Fund of the National Economic and Development Authority. 

DTI officials had met with officials and executives of Small Business Corp. and the Development Bank of the Philippines for the possibility of bankrolling start-up projects of would-be entrepreneurs that would avail of the livelihood programs promoted by the agency. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)