Financial access for entrepreneurs, farmers top agenda in 22nd MinBizCon

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 31  July) – With Mindanao now in the “radar of the government,” problems of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and farmers in accessing financing will be among the major issues up for discussion during the 22nd Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon) here, a business leader said.

John Gaisano Jr., MinBizCon conference director, said that access to financial institutions has cropped up as among the main concerns brought up in the series of consultations around the island a few months ago in preparation for this year’s MinBizCon.

“The process of accessing loans with financial institutions will be addressed by the government to help MSMEs enhance their ventures,” he told MindaNews.

“Based on our consultations with local business leaders, they have a general perception that this government is now giving Mindanao ‘no longer’ a third class treatment but a special one,” Gaisano added.

Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima will discuss “Reforms in the Financial Sector: Providing SMEs More Access to Financing,” organizers said.

The MinBizCon is slated on August 8 to 10 at the SMX Convention Center with the theme “Moving Towards ASEAN Business Integration.”

Purisima will speak afternoon of August 8. Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala will follow him with the topic “Financing the Agricultural Sector.”

This year’s MinBizCon, which promises to be a “problem-solving” conference, is breaking traditions, according to the updated program released by organizers on Tuesday.

For one, President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is slated to appear on the opening day. In the past MinbizCons, the president would usually grace the event at the last day of the conference to accept the submission of resolutions.

President Aquino was originally set to speak on August 10.

Also, the United States Agency for International Development, through its Growth with Equity in Mindanao (GEM) program, is no longer part of the event. The GEM program ended several months ago.

Since the MinBizCon started in 1992, GEM has been backing every annual event until last year in partnership with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

This year’s MinBizCon is hosted by the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.