Marcos, Concepcion team up for MSMEs

MEETING OF MINDS President-elect Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

PRESIDENT-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion 3rd have agreed to work together to help the country's micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) achieve “inclusive growth.”

Marcos met Concepcion Wednesday at his headquarters in Mandaluyong City and discussed issues affecting MSMEs, such as health, economy and the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on small businesses.

In a statement Thursday, the Go Negosyo founder described the meeting as “meaningful and promising.”

“It was a productive discussion between two people who have heard of each other but never had the chance to meet in person. President Marcos was very sincere and I can feel his passion to make sure Filipinos will have a better life under his administration,” he said.

Concepcion said he and the incoming president agreed that MSMEs will be crucial in the country's path to prosperity.

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The sector, which makes up 99.5 percent of all business establishments in the Philippines, generates 62.6 percent of jobs for Filipinos.

“We both agree that MSMEs should be supported if we are to realize inclusive growth for the Philippines,” Concepcion said.

Marcos promised that his administration will focus on the MSME sector and sought Concepcion's suggestions on what the industry needs most as the country recovers from the pandemic.

“Our MSMEs need access to money, market and mentorship opportunities,” he said, as he outlined the three elements that underpin the programs of the nonprofit Go Negosyo, which he founded in 2005.

The “money” element will be especially crucial as the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the resulting inflation continue to exert pressure on the country's entrepreneurs, he said.

Concepcion shared with Marcos how large corporations can include MSMEs in their value chain, allowing them to move up the business ladder.

Marcos welcomed the continuation of initiatives to help ease MSMEs into the digital economy, including those pioneered by Go Negosyo at the height of the pandemic lockdowns.

Concepcion told Marcos that Go Negosyo was able to shift online its in-person mentoring programs, allowing Go Negosyo to explore more alliances and expand its reach across the country.

He and Marcos likewise discussed the organization's health initiatives during the pandemic.

Marcos said his administration recognizes the need to always consider people's health and the economy as interrelated issues.

“I suggested to the president-elect that we should eventually have to plan how we can move out of a pandemic mindset to ensure our country's economic growth,” Concepcion said.

He also reiterated to Marcos his call to improve the public health emergency status and the eventual removal of alert levels while at the same time continuing with vaccinations.

Concepcion suggested the granting of certificates of product registration for Covid vaccines to make them commercially available to individuals who want to be vaccinated.

He also committed to consolidate the private sector in its common goals with the Marcos administration and to work with incoming Trade secretary Alfredo Pascual to ensure continuity of its programs to provide access to money, market and mentorship to MSMEs.

Also present at the meeting were incoming executive secretary Victor Rodriguez and Go Negosyo Lead Adviser Josephine Romero.

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