Local MSMEs told: Adopt digital tools to survive crisis

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The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has urged micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to equip themselves with digital skills and tools to remain competitive and survive the current pandemic.

ECOP vice president George Barcelon said many who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic are now venturing into entrepreneurship. Barcelon told the recent employers’ conference that the key to their success despite all the odds brought about by the pandemic is the utilization of digital tools accessible to their smartphone or laptop.

Ruben Pascual, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) secretary general, said the business group is helping the MSMEs migrate from “brick-and-mortar” presence to digital.

“We are considering an e-commerce platform for members and started online transactions. We are going to set-up an e-library where everybody has access to our resources. The application for memberships is available online and we are looking at digitizing our data and establish the PCCI academy where the main presentations are in the form of webinars,” he said.

Pascual said the group will also have a series with Amazon Web Services (AWS) on cloud computing to engage customers, while GCash has been invited to teach companies about e-payments and how they will bill transactions.

“We will have a seminar from LaunchGarage so that every member company will have an MSMEs toolkit with a   software that will help design your website, get an effective and professional business name, and other tools that MSMEs can use to start going digital,” he said.

“There is no other way for you to survive post-pandemic but entering the internet and knowing how to use it,” he added.

Yani Hornilla Donato, country head at Canva Philippines, advised the MSMEs to “sense check” as they go digital.

“Ask yourself when you invest in technology. Does it solve a problem? Does it make it easier? Or is it sustainable? If yes, for how long? Does it inspire activity and support your mission? You don’t go digital just for the sake of having another layer there. If it’s a tool that adds more time to your processes, that’s probably not worth it,” she said.

Donato said firms do not always need to buy digital tools and can also avail of free trials for apps if unsure of their investments.

Sherill Quintana, president of Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) and chief executive officer at Oryspa Spa Solutions Inc., underscored the importance of benchmarking and innovating what is available in the market and is being used by other entrepreneurs.

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