Micro, small businesses urged to innovate for new normal
DAVAO DEL NORTE (PIA) – Leading entrepreneurs in Tagum City positively noted government’s effort to help people ride through COVID-19 crisis but they’ve asked fellows in the small and micro enterprise sector to “innovate and plan” how to fit with the new normal.
Guesting at the COVID-19 Special Edition of Kapihan sa DavNor, Tagum City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCII) President Rita Tayong appealed to recipients of government cash aid and wage subsidies to become prudent in their spending as they can no longer depend on employers who are facing the dilemma of either reviving or surviving their enterprise.
“Atong planuhon nga mabuhi ta kay dili na pwede magsalig sa kanhing employer kay siya pud mismo naglisod pud. Kinahanglan tan-awon pa kung mabuhi ang negosyo kung mag open ta. (We have to plan to survive because we can no longer depend on previous employers who are also facing difficulty. They are also looking at the survival of their businesses once they’d open.),” she said referring to transition to general community quarantine status (GCQ) which allows some industries, trade and commerce entities to run operation which was temporarily closed during enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
During the same forum, TCCII Secretary Vincent Arriesgado pointed out the need to ride with the new normal situation by innovating the way to do business, and not to rely on the social assistance and subsidies doled out by the government.
“Karon giawahag ang mga naminaw nga dili na lang nato isalig tanan sa gobyerno kay dili man ta maapud apud. (I am encouraging listeners not to solely depend on the government because we would not be given all.),” he said.
“Siguro moduyog na lang ta sa panahon sa new normal. Mag-innovate. (I think we need to go with the new normal. Let’s innovate.),” he said citing as an instance the barber shops which have been closed during ECQ but some barbers have found means of earning a living by offering online, their home services.
Arriesgado who owns the Arriesgado College of Tagum and the Arriesgado Tagum Function Hall, admitted that his businesses have been losing due to suspension of classes and closure of facilities generating mass gathering of people.
“Manangkimot na lang jud ta; naa man ang gobyerno magpaluyo sa atoa kung naa tay kinahanglanon, maningkamot ta unsa nga innovations ang himoon. (We have to find ways because the government is there to support what we need. We have to try some innovations.),” he said generally addressing the business and enterprise communities.
TCCII Past President Nenita Malbas agreed with fellow TCCII officials to find ways to survive and to sustain business and enterprise.
She pointed as crucial to business survival, the knowledge on handling risk in management and operation, and on basic financial analysis to determine whether to continue running the business, to temporarily close or to shut it down.
“Daghan ang dapat estudyohan (There are a number to consider) to re-open the business: the business climate, restrictions. it is really a challenge how to address the current concerns and the sustainability,” she said.
On top of these, businesses have to blend into its system of operation the guidelines on new normal set forth by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) particularly the 50 percent cut in onsite manpower which she said can bring down production and slows down operation, however essential in keeping physical distance among workers along with wearing of face mask and sanitizing.
With her considerable years in the business circle of TCCII, Malbas said the business and enterprise sector of Tagum City have bled in losses spawned by COVID crisis.
“Dako kaayo ug impact (It has enormous impact) as to the production and employment as well as on sales and income. Some businesses are complaining as they don’t have cash flow to operate when the ECQ will be lifted,” she said during the Kapihan sa DavNor.
Malbas requested the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for financial assistance through soft loans especially for micro and small enterprises.
In a phone patch during the same forum, DTI Davao del Norte Provincial Director Romeo Castanaga said DTI is rolling out COVID-19 Assistance to Re-start Enterprises (CAREs) Program for micro and small enterprises of not more than P10 million asset size through DTI-attached agency Small Business Corporation (SBC)
SBC can lend out P10,000 to P500,000 loan “depending on needs” with an interest rate of 0.5 percent per month, Castanaga said.
The Department of Finance is also providing assistance for micro and small enterprise to re-start and the application to available these assistance can be applied through the Negosyo Center established at the city and municipal levels, he explained.
Meanwhile, Castanaga directed attention of micro and small entrepreneurs to innovate and to maximize online operation citing Grab taxi and online food delivery as gaining business models during community quarantine period. (Jeanevive Duron Abangan, PIA XI)