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Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Google offers 39,000 scholarships to aid Filipinos with in-demand, job-ready skills

Manila, Philippines – Tech giant Google has announced that it will provide 39,000 Google Career Certificate scholarships to equip Filipino students and job seekers from underserved communities with job-ready skills. This aims to help them land career opportunities in high-demand industries such as IT.

The Google Career Certificates provide a suite of flexible online training programs available on Coursera.org. These certificates, built and taught by Google, are designed to provide learners from all backgrounds with digital skills within an estimated time of three to six months. The four certificate options that Google provides are IT Support, UX Design, Data Analytics, and Project Management, which are available for everyone aged 18 and above and require no previous degree or experience. 

“Google is committed to supporting the Philippines’ economic growth through the opportunities created by the country’s growing digital economy. With the unemployment rate at 5.2% and rapidly growing job postings in tech, Google hopes to address the digital skills gap and improve the lives of thousands of Filipinos for themselves and their families by providing free Google Career Certificates,” said Bernadette Nacario, country director of Google Philippines.

Moreover, Google will be working closely with local partners such as the Globe Group and government stakeholders, including the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Information and Communications Technology, to distribute the scholarships. These distribution partners will nominate qualified recipients and track the progress of the scholars.

Yoly Crisanto, Globe’s group chief sustainability and corporate communications officer, noted, “Empowering today’s workforce with digital and job-ready skills is important to lead the country towards economic development. The Globe Group is honoured to play a vital role in the Google Career Certificates program in the Philippines that will help 39,000 young Filipinos with advanced IT courses.”

Meanwhile, Alfredo Pascual, secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry, said, “As we continue to move towards inclusive growth and employment generation, programs like the Google Career Certificate scholarships are invaluable to our mission of creating globally competitive industries. We laud Google for launching this initiative that will bridge 39,000 students and jobseekers to in-demand career opportunities in tech and IT.” 

Atty. Ivan John Enrile Uy, secretary at the Department of Information and Communications Technology, commented, “We thank Google for launching this high-impact program in the country that will not just create career pathways for thousands of Filipinos but will help the Department champion the economic benefits of a digital Philippines.”

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

PH’s DICT eyeing MSME-centric online shopping platform

Manila, Philippines – The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) government agency is eyeing an online shopping platform dedicated to the country’s micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), the Philippine News Agency (PNA) first reported.

According to DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy, said platform would provide a complete e-commerce “ecosystem” from sourcing of raw materials, global digital marketing, as well as an e-payment system.

The platform, which will be operated in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), would be similar to other online shopping platforms such as Shopee and Alibaba.

“This will be integrated — they won’t have to worry about how would they transform their business from a brick-and-mortar into an e-commerce-enabled business. This will bring them up, make them more, and will become a major player. Because MSMEs have always been a major player in our economy,” Uy said.

He also added that the government would design the platform and the MSMEs would simply need to ‘register and be onboard’.

“They haven’t been able to shift their business into the e-commerce platform because of challenges. We’re here, and we’ll solve those challenges for them and make it easier for them to do,” Uy said.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

PH trade body partners with 1Export to introduce local MSME products globally

Manila, Philippines – The Department of Trade of Industry (DTI) in the Philippines has partnered with cross-border trade platform 1Export to introduce locally-made products from MSMEs to the global market. This is done through DTI’s ‘Go Lokal!’ program that targets local MSMEs to make their products more accessible to new markets.

The partnership also includes the utilisation of 1Export’s ‘Kalocal’, a platform where you can order export-ready Filipino products at wholesale prices. Said platform aims to help Filipino communities abroad who want to start their own business through importing and reselling products directly from local producers and manufacturers by offering competitive pricing for a wide variety of products – from heritage to novelty, from premium to popular and fast-moving brands.

For this year, DTI and 1Export will be launching the ‘’Go Lokal Surprise Box’ — a curated gift box containing Filipino products that will be made available, initially in the USA and Canada. Every product highlights a unique story of being proudly and passionately made by MSMEs in the Philippines.

“This promotional initiative will help MSMEs transition to cross-border trade as it provides the opportunity for the world to discover Filipino culture through artisanal handicrafts and delectable treats. This 2022, try Go Lokal products and join us in our journey to empower our local MSMEs,” DTI said in a press statement.

Since its inception in 2016, the ‘Go Lokal!’ program has partnered with 24 retailers, rolled out 154 stores nationwide, and assisted 859 MSMEs of which 385 have become regular suppliers of partner retailers. To date, the program has generated sales amounting to PHP 428m.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Zilingo PH takes part in DTI’s four-month online learning series for local MSMEs

Manila, Philippines – Zilingo in the Philippines, the technology platform that powers brands, wholesalers, and distributors, as well as retailers, and factories, has announced its latest partnership with the country’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in order to strengthen the MSME industry in the country by taking part in the latter’s ‘CTRL+ BIZ Reboot Now Zoom Shows’ initiative – a series of online lectures, webinars, and masterclasses.

The ‘CTRL + BIZ Reboot Now Regional Zoom’ webinar series has already started last June and will run until September 2021, targeting specific regions of the Philippines. Through the sessions with enabling partners across the entire e-commerce ecosystem, local entrepreneurs will learn to take advantage of the digital space.

Zilingo said that it recognizes the continuous growth of the local e-commerce industry, and with this partnership, it aims to provide services to further help the local Filipino businesses to expand their reach and revenue, as well as to help them be competitive in the market.

Shiela Mauricio, Zilingo Philippines’ country manager, shared that Zilingo would like to help solidify the stature of the MSME industry in the country to provide a sensible measure for Filipinos to earn a living through the usage of digital and online platforms like theirs.

“At Zilingo, we want to dedicate our expertise by providing our target audience a wide array of goods and services from a business-to-business standpoint. May it be through sourcing quality goods for their online business, Financial Technology assistance, or even Marketing services, Zilingo is here to help our local MSME grow their business exponentially,” said Mauricio.

Aside from Mauricio, the webinar session was also attended by Zilingo’s Business Development Head Heintji Tobias, who introduced and presented the benefits of the Zilingo platform for all the attendees from several regions of the country. 

The platform’s PR and Influencer Marketing Manager Edryan Lorenzo have also shared his expertise through a masterclass session, where he discussed the basics of digital marketing and how it will help online businesses.

During his masterclass session, Lorenzo said, “Guided by your passion and goals, as a business owner, you must learn how to identify, engage, and assess the proper ways to touch base with your customers and convert your efforts into leads generation and sales.”

Interested partners and participants may connect with their local DTI office to learn more about the program.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Shopee PH furthers MSMEs’ digital know-how via webinar series ‘Shopee Thursdays’

Manila, Philippines – As e-commerce continues to be a crucial part of today’s retail framework, Shopee in the Philippines has launched a new webinar series called ‘Shopee Thursdays’, that aims to offer in-depth discussions about online selling to support the growth of MSMEs in the country. 

Done in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the webinar series consists of masterclass sessions that seek to equip existing and aspiring online entrepreneurs with the right digital tools and information to operate effectively in the e-commerce space.

‘Shopee Thursdays’ started running on 3 June, with its first session ‘Attract Buyers with Powerful Product Listing’. This was followed by the second session ‘Engage and Sell with Livestream’ on 10 June.

The third session, which is slated for today, 17 June, entrepreneurs will be given advice on how to better manage shop operations, inventory, warehouse processes, and employees, while on 24 June, the masterclass session will focus on the potential of data and how entrepreneurs can use it to improve their shop’s performance. 

Shopee Philippines’ Director Martin Yu commented that they are excited to partner with DTI to equip MSMEs with the proper knowledge and skills to thrive in the e-commerce space.

“As many entrepreneurs transition to online platforms like Shopee, it is important that they learn the basics of online selling and maximize the e-commerce space to its full potential. We will continue to collaborate with DTI to support MSMEs in their e-commerce journey to success,” said Yu.

Meanwhile, Jean Pacheco, the assistant secretary at DTI, said that every business is essential for the Philippine economy to prosper, which is why they want to support them in any way possible. 

“With leading marketplace platforms like Shopee, we can reach more people who want to expand their business and learn more about e-commerce. It is an honor for us to work with a company that prioritizes the local community and we will keep on partnering with organizations like Shopee, to uplift Filipino entrepreneurs,” said Pacheco.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Shopee PH rolls out this year’s virtual National Food Fair to support MSMEs

Manila, Philippines – Shopee in the Philippines has launched anew this year’s National Food Fair, which had been originally introduced to support local businesses, done in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

The National Food Fair was first launched in May 2020 and is being relaunched in 2021 to give micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) an online platform to showcase their products during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Following last year’s online set-up, consumers can find products such as jams, pastries, condiments, and more from local sellers starting from 10 to 16 May.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial that we provide our local businesses with opportunities to bounce back and stay afloat. Shopee will continue to ramp up its efforts to plan initiatives that support local MSMEs and help them thrive on our platform. We invite our shoppers to support our local entrepreneurs this 10 to 16 May at the National Food Fair,” said Martin Yu, the director at Shopee Philippines. 

Meanwhile, Marievic M. Bonoan, Director at DTI – Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion, shared that they are working towards empowering MSMEs by expanding and increasing their access to economic opportunities. 

“We have partnered with Shopee to further bolster our support for Filipino MSMEs, especially during this pandemic. With the online National Food Fair, local businesses can promote their products on a larger scale and help them grow in the long run,” said Bonoan.

Last February, Shopee also launched #TatakPinoy: Buy Local, Support Local, a campaign that empowered local MSMEs by giving their products a spotlight on the platform, and other Shopee initiatives focused on online sellers to equip them with the necessary tools to monitor their business growth and development while providing them with knowledge on e-commerce and digital marketing.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

Shopee PH offers new education, enhancement tools to plug MSMEs to online ventures

Manila, Philippines – Shopee continues to be steadfast in its mission to bring more MSMEs online by offering new educational and enhancement tools and services in aiding MSMEs’ business activities to be more seamless and effective.

The newest announcement from Shopee is in response to the growing number of online merchants in their platform as physical stores close down during the pandemic. Shopee will initially show support for MSMEs by developing the Shopee Seller Education Hub, maintaining a robust digital infrastructure, and reinforcing partnerships with various organizations. 

Shopee’s tools announcement are the company’s commitment to expand its digital network to help retailers future-proof their businesses, embrace digitalization, and establish a successful online presence.

“The global situation has accelerated digital transformation, as more brands and MSMEs explore the opportunities of e-commerce to reach a wider audience. As the marketing landscape changes at a rapid pace, Shopee will continue to offer improved in-app features and initiatives to cater to the growing demand for e-commerce here in the Philippines,” said Martin Yu, director at Shopee Philippines.

The Shopee Seller Education Hub functions in the way that it hosts modules on how to cultivate an online presence and boost sales. Such ‘masterclasses’ include sharing how-tos on running effective campaigns and growing the business, proper guidelines on handling return and refund requests, managing listing assets, boosting sales using available marketing tools, and creating awareness of the target market through activity and business insights.

Furthermore, Shopee helps sellers maximize their online presence by offering their in-app features such as Shopee Live, which helps them engage more with customers through polls and games, and Shopee’s in-app digital wallet ShopeePay that allows sellers to withdraw their earnings conveniently.

“Shopee wants to make e-commerce accessible for everyone. Our goal is to evolve quickly to cater to our customers’ and sellers’ needs. Shopee continuously provides different initiatives that enable our retailers to go digital easily and quickly. It is a commitment that we take seriously, and we will continue to connect people and businesses, support MSMEs’ transition to a digital economy, and power the next wave of growth in the industry,” Yu added.

Shopee also revealed that it is strengthening its partnerships locally, teaming up with regional and provincial offices of the country’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), as well as with online sellers through various regions and provinces of the country, and with organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to which they provided more than 500 women entrepreneurs with integrated digital marketing training.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Universal Robina named top PH processed F&B exporter by DTI

Manila, Philippines – Local food and beverage company Universal Robina Corporation (URC) has been named by the country’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as the top exporter of processed foods and beverages in the Philippines.

Based on value transactions recorded by the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) for 2019, Universal Robina’s export transactions have reached more than USD 30M for the said  year.

In a press statement, URC Vice President for global exports and frontier markets Brian Go stated that exporters are moving forward despite constraints on trade during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, as more lockdowns are imposed.

“This recognition for our hard work and dedication to our customers is especially meaningful, given the challenges businesses, and our nation as a whole, are facing because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Go stated.

Universal Robina’s Brian Go, Vice President for Global Exports and Frontier Markets

Furthermore, the recent announcement also aligns with the country’s Export Development Council goals,  to which they stated that ‘export companies navigated their way to adapt to the abrupt digital transformation.’

“We looked at those companies who took their chances by embracing the shift of the changing business landscape towards a post-COVID-19 world…we wanted to hear their stories – their stories of survival, recovery and resilience and what their plans are as the country now moves towards the resurgence phase,” the council said during this year’s National Export Congress.

Universal Robina, through its Exports Group, is distributing their brands such as Jack ‘n Jill snacks, Great Taste instant coffee, and C2 ready-to-drink tea across 38 market countries. 

At present, the Global Export business unit serves nations and territories in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Indian Ocean islands, North Asia, and Oceania, and the Pacific Islands. Its Philippine office also distributes its products to affiliate URC companies in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Digital agri market platform is PH’s agri & trade departments’ latest endeavor

Manila, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) have recently collaborated in pushing a digital market platform that is based on an end-to-end system between farmers and consumers.

The platform is called Deliver-E, and allows buyers to directly access agricultural products and other basic food items. As the system eliminates middlemen, products are sold fresh at low prices.

In a press statement, DA Secretary William Dar (depicted in the banner picture) pledged that the recent platform development is part of the department’s pledges for the agricultural sector, upscaling the agriculture value chain and improving overall food security in the country even beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

“With the sheer size of agricultural supply chains, only a multi-stakeholder approach to their management could free up the bottlenecks. This event sparks hope that many heads are coming together to assist key supply chain players with their technological needs and constraints. Online is the new byword of food security. We are fully embracing the digitalization of the agriculture sector as we journey towards the 4th Industrial Revolution, or Agriculture 4.0,” Secretary Dar stated.

Developed by tech startup Insight Supply Chain Solutions (InsightSCS), the platform has also received support from private sector partners, farmer cooperatives, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

DTI Secretary Mon Lopez commented, “Let us try to create a Better Normal where all Filipinos can enjoy the fruits of our country’s inclusive growth and shared prosperity for all.” 

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

PH trade dep’t reveals 14,869 online purchase complaints this year, led by Shopee, Lazada

Manila, Philippines – With increased online spending during the pandemic also comes a surge of online purchase complaints, and this has been evident in Southeast Asia market The Philippines, with the country’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) revealing that a total of 14,869 complaints have been made against online shops this year, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

The complaints were made from the period of January to October this year, where according to DTI Undersecretary for Consumer Protection Group Ruth Castelo, nature of the complaints spanned violations of the Price Act, the quality of products, and deceptive, unfair, or unconscionable sales acts or practices.

Being the top e-commerce sites in the country, Shopee and Lazada were reported to account for the majority of complaints with a combined 6,907 number of flags.

Compared to the full year of 2019, complaints against Lazada grew three-fold from 1,014 to 3,475 complaints for the first 10 months of 2020. Meanwhile, those against Shopee increased over five times, from 607 complaints from the end of 2019, to a total of 3,432 complaints this year.

“Ninety percent of the total online complaints from October 2020 are against two of the more familiar platforms,” said Castelo.

She added the remaining complaints last month involved transactions on Facebook and other online platforms.

In early October, news about a scammed student astounded Filipinos, where a 20-year-old received rocks instead of his ordered laptop.