Iloilo’s Negosyo Center to also aid foreign investors

Posted on August 05, 2015

ILOILO CITY -- The newly opened Negosyo Center here, part of a national network of one-stop assistance centers for small businesses, is also aiding potential foreign investors in Iloilo province by supplying them with industry-related information.

Facade of the Iloilo provincial Capitol
Department of Trade and Industry-Western Visayas (DTI-6) Regional Director Wilhelm M. Malones said the center is building up a database of the various business sectors in 42 municipalities to quickly provide information to existing and prospective micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) as well as companies with foreign partners.

“Information should be ready so that whenever there are incentives coming from the board of investment drawn by municipal and provincial ordinance, they can be given to possible foreign investors,” Mr. Malones said.

For MSMEs that plan to set up new businesses in their respective municipalities: “they will already have the profile of the resources in the area,” the DTI official said.

“If you have the product, we will provide them information as to who are the possible buyers and areas, pricing and costing, financial facilitation and also assistance for local government units for coming up with local investment and incentives code,” he added.

The Iloilo Negosyo Center, located at the provincial capitol building and managed by the Local Economic Development and Investment Promotion Unit, is getting funding assistance from the Canadian government for its staff as well as technical assistance.

“We will give technical assistance for the planning of idea in doing a business plan. What we provide is mostly equipment such as computers, camera, scanner and printer. And then we will continue to complement what other sectors cannot provide,” said First Secretary Genevieve Asselin of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development-Canada.

The Canadian assistance project will run until 2016.

“Until then, we might be providing some extra technical assistance. What we want is to achieve sustainability of the center,” Ms. Asselin said.

The DTI is the lead implementing agency for the Negosyo Centers, which is provided under Republic Act 10644 or the Go Negosyo Act of 2014, passed in July 2014 to promote employment generation through the development of the MSME sector that comprises 99% of businesses in the country.

Meanwhile, Iloilo Business Club Executive Director Lea E. Lara said the opening of the Negosyo Center expected to increase the investment potential of the province, especially in agriculture-based enterprises, as well as ensure the sustainability of MSMEs.

“We have seen in the past the proliferation of unregistered household businesses. They do not grow or expand fast as they do not have assistance. There should be somebody helping them out making them understand how important it is to be a legitimate business,” Ms. Lara said.

She added that a growth in the MSME sector also translates to more business taxes for the local government that can be used for development projects. -- Louine Hope Conserva