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Local products get a boost at Shopwise

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Go Lokal!
The Go Lokal! aisle at Shopwise Araneta Center in Quezon City on opening day. -- ZSARLENE B. CHUA

IN A bid to make local products from micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) available to the general population, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) together with Shopwise hypermarkets has dedicated an aisle in the supermarket for local products as part of the department’s ongoing Go Lokal! program.

“We started talking [with DTI] in September… [this is] our way of helping fellow countrymen with their businesses,” Irwin C. Lee, CEO of Rustans Supercenter, Inc., said during the launch on Dec. 4 at Shopwise Araneta Center, Quezon City.

Mr. Lee added that they are giving the space for MSMEs “vetted and validated by the DTI” and the Go Lokal! aisles will also be set up in other Shopwise branches.

The Shopwise Araneta branch has chosen 51 products — mostly food products — such as Cebu dried mangoes and otap (a cookie), among others.

Shopwise currently has 12 hypermarkets alongside seven smaller “Express” branches nationwide.

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Go Lokal! is a DTI-led initiative meant to “give more opportunities for Filipino businesses,” and “giving opportunities for products to be showcased,” said DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez during the launch.

Described as a “design-led concept store showcasing quality products crafted, designed and created by Philippine MSMEs,” the project is envisioned “as an opportunity for the country’s micro and small enterprises to go mainstream and test the marketability of their products without incurring the high costs of operating a retail outlet,” according to the DTI Web site.

“The challenge [for small businesses] is always where to sell as listing fees and rent can be high… in this project, [products] will be exposed to consumers, volume buyers and foreign buyers,” Mr. Jimenez added.

DTI has also partnered with other retailers under the Go Lokal! project including SM Robinsons, Ayala Malls, and City Malls. — ZBC

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