By Alexander Villafania
QUEZON CITY, METRO MANILA – Micro to small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) are by far the most numerous in the Philippines. According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), 92 percent of all businesses are in the MSME sector.
Many of these businesses are cooperatives, businesses built by locals and whose incomes are shared among the owners. These are companies that have a much larger number of owners that help develop their local products or services. With their numbers growing, many finance organizations have opened micro-financing schemes to start their businesses.
In Quezon City, the Sikap Buhay Entrepreneurship and Cooperative Office (SBECO) has been helping over thousands of the city’s micro-entrepreneurs. Since it was opened up by former Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte in 2002, the program has already helped at least 40,000 people for their cooperatives and has released at least P500 million in micro-financing funds.
The program has been re-launched under the banner of incumbent vice mayor Joy Belmonte and is organizing a number of free seminars in different parts of the city. Additional seminars can be held in selected locations as long as there are a number of attendees from the districts residents.
A number of seminars are being held until October 17. Among these include basic business practices, organic soap and shampoo making, perfume and cologne making, meat processing, fashion accessory making, among others.
Felix Canimo, SBECO unit head said the program aims to help the cooperatives in the 13 districts of Quezon City. Some of these businesses could be junk shops, food and beverage stalls, agricultural and livestock shops, distribution networks, among others.
Canimo said residents of Quezon City must be given business opportunities, which should help not just the individual, but also the community. It also pays for having sustainable cooperatives that also contributes to the economy of the city.
“Cooperatives support a number of people and by doing so, they can improve their lives financially. It also adds to employment opportunities as well as new business ventures,” Canimo said.
He said that for a cooperative to qualify, members of a cooperative must already have an existing business. They must also have no existing debts and must pass a credit investigation. Usually, the amount that can be loaned is between P3,000 and P49,000, with a monthly interest of 1.5 percent to 3.5 percent.
The SBECO is located at the 7th floor, Civic Center Building A, Quezon City Hall. They can be contacted at telephone numbers 444-7272 local 8731.
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