The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) have entered into a collaboration to provide free Wi-Fi and learning modules to DTI’s Negosyo Centers. DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez and DICT Secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr signed a Memorandum of Agreement on 15 March 2018.
The Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Council thru the DTI is the coordinating and supervising body for all the agencies involved in the establishment and operation of the Negosyo Centers. The Negosyo Centers promote ease of doing business and facilitate access to services for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) within their jurisdiction. The scope of their activities encompasses business registry assistance, advisory services, providing information as required by MSMEs and monitoring and evaluation of business processes.
Through the agreement, DICT will provide selected DTI Negosyo Centers with free internet access, ICT equipment, and access to its Tech4ED (Technology for Education, Employment, Entrepreneurs, and Economic Development Project)Project.
DICT’s Pipol Konek Project gives free Internet access to public places such as public schools, libraries, and local government units. Till date, PipolKonek has provided internet access to 44 out of the current 805 Negosyo Centers.
The two government agencies view digital literacy as a potential catalyst for the growth of MSMEs. Negosyo Centers will also carry DICT’s Tech4ED Project, a platform that offers digital literacy and training in a variety of skills; an eMarketplace; and a one-stop-shop for government applications, among others, to citizens in rural and underserved areas. Tech4ED also offers “ICT for Entrepreneurs”—where micro entrepreneurs are trained to create their own website and use the internet to increase their market reach.
Plans going forward include merging existing Tech4ED Centers and Negosyo Centers since some of them are housed in the same local government units. The DICT is also open to host DTI’s educational materials in the Tech4ED platform.
“This convergence of the DICT and DTI will arm the entrepreneurs, especially in the regions, with the tools they need to develop and innovate on their products and conduct their business online. Connectivity and digital literacy are the future-proof ways to help those at the bottom of the pyramid,” said Secretary Lopez.
“The DICT’s main objective is to facilitate connectivity. We are thus counting on our partner agencies like the DTI to provide tools and content that will benefit the public,” said Secretary Rio.