Google, DTI partner to digitize MSMEs

Google Philippines and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) launched Wednesday the MSME Caravan to encourage micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to use digital tools to grow their businesses.

Under the Grow with Google program, the MSME Caravan will be conducted nationwide this year to train entrepreneurs in utilizing Google platforms, such as Google My Business and the Primer app that are useful in daily operations, as well as to improve the entrepreneurial skills of MSMEs.

We are glad to partner with the Department of Trade and Industry in our mission to digitize MSMEs in the country. Combine that with the new tools and opportunities of the internet and there is no limit on what's possible for them, Google Philippines Country Director Bernadette Nacario said.

On the sidelines of the event, Google Philippines Head for Government Affairs and Public Policy Yves Gonzales said the program targets the MSMEs in provinces where there is low awareness in going digital for their businesses.

One key challenge in their mind is they have to pay for the tools, Gonzales said, adding that both Google My Business and Primer are free online platforms.

Google My Business allows entrepreneurs to be more searchable online by registering their business information like address, map direction, and contact details.

Gonzales said registered businesses on this platform appear on near me function of Google, which helps those who are searching for stores, products, and services near their current location.

When you have a tourist coming to the Philippines and he wants to try lechon in the Philippines, the first thing that the tourist will do is to search Google Maps or Google Search 'lechon near me'. When you have your own website, you will be searchable and be searched in the Maps, he said.

From 2017 to 2019, searches for stores, products, and services on Google's near me have increased by 2.5 times.

Another important thing is validation. It adds credibility to the MSME, especially when we are talking about exporting. When a potential buyer looks up your business, the first thing they'll ask themselves is let's go to their website and let's see who their corporate people are and their experiences. It really helps the business to grow internally and even exportwise when they have their own website, he added.

The Primer app enables business owners to download lessons and courses such as digital marketing, branding, and online selling.

Gonzales said this platform is helpful for those who cannot attend the MSME Caravan or those who would like a refresher of lessons from the Caravan.

Data from the DTI show that 99 percent of establishments in the country are MSMEs. They employ 63 percent of the workforce and share 25 percent of export revenues.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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