OFFICIALS of private companies SM Investment Corp., Angkas, Aboitiz Equity Ventures, Inc., and San Miguel Corp. called for the government’s recognition of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to help the economy.

“If we can help all of the MSME at this point with simpler government regulations then we can grow and the employment can be addressed,” SM Investments Vice Chairman Teresita T. Sy-Coson said on the first day of the 48th Philippine Business Conference and Expo on Wednesday.

She said that if the government could recognize that the country has many MSEs and MSMEs, and at the same time support them, “our economy will really grow and we’ll become a greater nation.”

“The first thing we need to do is really define what MSME means,” Angkas Chief Executive Officer George Royeca said.

“This is a hidden gem that we have yet to realize and we can harness that aside from the employment that our local industries generate,” he added.

Mr. Royeca said that recognizing MSMEs in a semi-formal economy and finding a way to regulate them is already a big step forward in helping them.

“The MSMEs have difficulty getting credit and getting recognized. And I think if you use more data analysis and if you use more of the technology that is available today and make it more inclusive [it will help MSMEs],” Aboitiz Equity Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Information Officer Manuel R. Lozano said.

“All conglomerates started smaller. Somebody took a risk on us, somebody took a risk on the family and that’s what made them grow. We need to be able to enable that again on a larger scale because we got hundreds of thousands if not billions of SMEs that are just waiting for good opportunity,” Mr. Lozano added.

Meanwhile, San Miguel Chief Finance Officer Raoul Eduardo C. Romulo said that improving the infrastructure could also help the MSMEs.

“If we don’t build the roads, the connective bridges, the airports and all the trains to move your goods to where they have to be sold, they won’t get anywhere. You can text all you want and have it delivered but how will it get there?” Mr. Romulo said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile