MSMEs urged to continue innovating

Micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) participating in the weeklong trade fair organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Iloilo City are encouraged to continue developing their products to remain competitive.

The MSME Week Trade Fair that concluded on October 17 kicked off at the Megaworld’s Festive Walk Mall in this city’s Mandurriao district on Wednesday with 58 participating exhibitors from the six provinces of Western Visayas.

“We continue to encourage our MSMEs to go on product development. This is the only to be competitive. Every time a buyer sees a product whether online or physical, they will look for new,” said DTI Western Visayas Regional Director Rebecca M. Rascon in her message during the opening ceremony.

Rascon said after two years, the products currently being displayed have new designs and new combinations which are already the result of the product development under DTI’s One Town, One Product (OTOP) Next Gen.

In developing the products, she said it is important that MSMEs look into making their packaging attractive, as the current bulk of buyers include young people or millennials who are mostly visual.

“We have to also develop our products depending on our target market and trend,” she said.

Meantime, Rascon expressed appreciation to the Megaworld for allowing the department to hold the physical display of the products amid the challenges of the health pandemic.

“While we encourage online, we still believe that the physical trade fair is still effective. People still go to trade fairs and exhibits to see products, touch them, smell and even eat to appreciate immediately,” she said.

Among the products on display are merchandise from processed foods, handicrafts, and other non-food products.

They included products such as hablon from piña and other fibers, yummy food and delicacies, artisanal homegrown crafts of fibers, bamboo, vines, abaca, and various local raw materials.

The trade fair with the theme “Makabagong MSMEs, Bagong Pag-asa Laban sa Pandemya”, she said, is still part of their program expansion to assist MSMEs.

The regional director said that through the trade fair, producers can meet buyers that would result in matching and establishing linkages.

Meantime, DTI Regional Operations Group Assistant Secretary Demphna Du-Naga lauded the participants, which showcased the passion, pride, and the spirit of Western Visayas through their “creative, competitive, classic yet contemporary products”.

“Your dedication and passion for your craft is truly inspiring. It is truly amazing how with passion and dedication that our MSMES continue to strive during the new normal for themselves and their community,” she said.

She assured that DTI will always extend the needed support starting from product development to market access. (PNA)