CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Sept. 30 — A total of 40 small and medium entrepreneurs who just graduated in the first virtual Kapatid Mentor Me (KMME) program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Northern Mindanao were encouraged to embrace digitalization in their pursuit to sustain and improve their businesses amidst the pandemic.
The mentees attended the virtual graduation on September 28 via Zoom after finishing the 10-module program with a presentation of their Business Improvement Plan (BIP).
DTI Northern Mindanao Regional Director Linda Boniao said in her welcome remarks that going digital and adopting to new ways of doing things and looking at things differently under the new normal is key to business survival and sustainability.
“We cannot insist on our own way of doing things.” Boniao added. “Learn from the giants.”
DTI Regional Operations Group (ROG) Undersecretary Blesila Lantayona echoed the same sentiment on the importance of shifting the businesses digitally through a message read by DTI Misamis Oriental Provincial Director Almer Masillones.
“The unprecedented crisis has noted the importance of digitalization. For everyone, embracing the digital world is something that must be seen as a utility, just like an electricity, that gives hope to businesses to continue their operations.” Lantayona said.
For his part, Presidential Adviser (PA) for Entrepreneurship and Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (Go Negosyo) founder Joey Concepcion shared in a video message the importance of having a vision for the entrepreneurs to create their own pathway in their business while continuing their learning from a mentor.
“The environment right now is challenging for certain sectors in the business community. In every generation, there is always going to be some disturbance. But in those times, there are opportunities.” Concepcion said. “Learn from these sessions. Learn from them [mentors] and continue to be the best in what you do.”
Meanwhile, Secretary Ramon Lopez stressed on the importance of thinking outside the box in this time of crisis in his own video message.
“There’s always a way para matuloy ang negosyo at lumago pa and we do it the right way.” Lopez said. “Hinahighlight po natin ngayon as we use the online technology yung continuous innovation and the digitalization of entrepreneurship during the crisis.”
The virtual graduation rites also featured testimonials from mentees as they shared their experiences and expressed their gratitude to DTI for the unwavering support in helping micro and small entrepreneurs to become successful, updated, and continuously grow through the program.
Michelle Enterina of Luning Food Products Processing shared that joining KMME opened her eyes on why her previous businesses did not succeed. The modules undertaken by the mentees made her “more motivated as we adjust our business to this new normal.”
Another mentee Jenny Tomatao admitted that as a rookie in the business industry, she has faced problems and hurdles in managing her own business, Celebrate Manna from Heaven; she felt she had no one to seek advice from. “But with KMME, all my questions have been answered.”
“KMME created a huge impact to my drive to reach my goals for my business and for my family. It has given me hope and determination to never give up.” Tomatao added.
On the other hand, Edith Christmae Tan of The Good Life Nature Farms recognized DTI and her co-mentees who are also in the agribusiness for inspiring her to push agriculture more as a way to revamp the economy and to also show representation for women in the business.
“With the right people, with the right team like DTI, we still push through.” Tan said. “We don’t consider being new moms as a hindrance but as an inspiration to even move further and use that as a catalyst to push our business even more.”
Meanwhile, Glenn Villacin of Kogiyah Yakiniku Bar expressed that the graduation was one of the major milestones the mentees have accomplished.
“We have shown to the world our commitment to better ourselves and to open new doors to opportunities.” Villacin said. “This time we are not fighting for ourselves anymore. We are not defending our presentations. We are defending the very lives that rely on our businesses—the children and the families of our workers who are praying that we could recover,” he added.
The Kapatid Mentor ME (KMME) is a program that aims to help micro, small and medium entrepreneurs scale up their business through weekly coaching and mentoring by business owners and practitioners on different functional areas of entrepreneurship. (DTI-10)