MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are the lifeblood of the economy. They are important contributors to our country’s growth and development, and they are crucial in building a better future for the Philippines.
According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), 99.51 percent of all businesses in the Philippines are considered MSMEs, and they contribute a sizable chunk of our gross domestic product at about 35.7 percent. Not only are MSMEs crucial to the overall health of the country’s economy, they also employ a large portion of our population. About 62.66 percent of the entire county’s workforce are employed by MSMEs. As such, they are vital in providing livelihoods to millions of Filipinos.
With all of that said, it is no understatement that MSMEs in the country are invaluable to building a more prosperous Philippines. But when the pandemic struck, MSMEs were undoubtedly some of the most hard-hit.
Acknowledging the crucial role of MSMEs in the economy and the need to provide them with a leg up especially as we continue to recover from this health crisis, the Araneta Group through the J. Amado Araneta Foundation (JAAF) has been actively playing a role in highlighting and assisting MSMEs.
“We have always believed in the promise of MSMEs and their unique ability to power our economy while proudly showcasing the best of Filipino culture and craftsmanship. That’s why when the pandemic hit, we knew we needed to be there for our MSMEs,” Diane Romero, JAAF Executive Director said.
One of the flagship programs that the Araneta Group has been supporting since the start of the pandemic in 2020 is Bayang Hinabi. Through the program, women from Brgy. Sto. Cristo and Brgy. Greater Lagro in Quezon City were provided with free sewing training that equipped them with the skills and knowledge to make personal protective equipment and start their own livelihood.
Together with the Araneta Group, DTI-NCR, SPARK Philippines, and the QC Small Business and Cooperatives Development Office also supported the program. And in March last year, the women sewers transitioned into the newly formed Quezon City Sewers Producers Cooperative.
The Araneta Group also tapped the Cooperative to provide PPEs to the LGUs of Quezon City and Bago City. The foundation ordered 1,000 PPE sets and turnovers were done in January and April 2021. Aside from that, the Sewers Cooperative also took part in the Women’s Marketplace, a trade fair featuring women entrepreneurs held in March 2021.
“We are so proud of these women! When times got hard, they did not settle for what life has dealt them. They banded together to create an opportunity to make their lives better. They used their skill not only to make a living but to make the lives of other people better, too,” Romero said.
To showcase the indomitable spirit of MSMEs who thrived and persevered in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, the Araneta Group launched the #ResilientPinoy campaign. With this campaign, they highlighted the innovativeness, bravery, and agility of eight MSMEs who strived to overcome the challenges of the pandemic and succeed even while facing its threats.
The Araneta Group talked to the chosen #ResilientPinoy about their experiences and asked them about tips that they can share with other MSMEs who may be facing difficulty because of the current challenges that they are facing. Words of inspiration, stories of perseverance, and faces of courage defined the run of the #ResilientPinoy campaign which primarily ran on JAAF’s social media pages.
“Our #ResilientPinoy honorees embody the best of the Filipino. They showed each one of us the drive, passion, ingenuity, and perseverance of our MSMEs. They proved that they will not be stopped by any obstacle, even a pandemic. They strived even when the odds were against them. They proved that with heart and mind united to doing one thing, they can persevere and succeed,” Romero said.
From the virtual world, #ResilientPinoy jumped over to the real world with the #ResilientPinoy Araneta City’s CHRISTMAS BAZAAR which took place during the tail end of last year’s Holiday Season at the Gateway Mall, Ali Mall, and Farmers Plaza. All selected MSMEs were able to showcase their products. Baguio Gawang Kamay, Echel Home-Made Peanut Butter, Trio Tango, Axiom Natur Trading Corporation, James Leathercraft, Little Mom’s Donut Factory and Curves & Lines Graphics all took part. Buyers came in throngs all excited to buy from these outstanding MSMEs.
“Our MSMEs have a very important role in our country’s recovery,” Romero said. “And as they continue to strive to thrive and grow amid all the adversity, we are committed to be there and help them succeed. We know that their success is the success of our communities and our country.”
For more information about the J. Amado Araneta Foundation and the efforts of the Araneta Group, please visit https://jaaf.aranetacity.com/. You may also like and follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/JAmadoAranetaFoundation/