Agri-Entreprneurs Complete The RAPID-KMME Program

Last May 25, the Rural Agro-Industrial Partnership for Inclusive Development (RAPID) Growth Project, together with the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (or Go Negosyo) and the Department of Trade and Industry as the project implementing agency, held the online graduation rites for the 35 beneficiaries who have recently completed the DTI RAPID-Kapatid Mentor Micro Entrepreneurs (KMME) Program.

The conjoining of the RAPID Growth Project and the KMME Program leverages the impact of one on the country’s enterprises in the agricultural sector and the success of the other in empowering micro- and small enterprises (MSEs) and the farmer producers by mobilizing mentors for its 12-module curriculum that covers all critical aspects of business management.

With the support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the implementation of the RAPID Growth Project has been led by the Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) since 2017 with the aim to propel agriculture-based processing enterprises and entrepreneurial communities to become innovative, productive and competitive. Meanwhile, the KMME Program is borne of a public-private partnership (PPP) between the DTI and the Go Negosyo and has capacitated over 9,000 micro- and small enterprises (MSEs) as mentees with the help of its pool of almost 800 business leaders and entrepreneurs who signed up as mentors.

And so the DTI RAPID-KMME Program aims to establish an ecosystem for a comprehensive capacity building using online and offline platforms, capitalizing on experiential and participatory activities guided by modules and webinar or a blended structure of learning procedures. Its end-goal is to equip beneficiary-mentees with knowledge on adaptive business strategies that will enable them to cope with the pandemic and to thrive in the market in the “new normal”.

DTI Regional Director cum RAPID Growth Project Director Edwin Banquerigo opened the program with a message of thanks and an optimistic outlook. He expects that the mentee-graduates will be part of the core group that would really help them in pushing for another batch of DTI RAPID-KMME Program and to be at the forefront of economic recovery since they now have what it takes to be a driver of economic recovery and economic growth. He thanked the mentors and coaches for sharing their real business experiences which were truly remarkable, notable and priceless. His advice to the mentee-graduates is to create jobs and livelihood opportunities that will make many people happy.

Undersecretary for DTI Regional Operations Group, USec. Blesila Lantayona laid out some advice to the mentee-graduates that will help their businesses and cooperatives. She hopes that they will apply the knowledge they have gained to their daily business operations and on pivoting to the new normal. She also mentioned that there are more training or webinars that they are welcome to join for free to deepen their knowledge on any aspects of the business operations. The said partnership will be instrumental in bringing to the next level of the entrepreneurial competencies of the target beneficiaries that will hopefully provide them with the mindset, tools, and support system to scale up their businesses and help achieve the goals of RAPID Growth Project and this milestone will be a step towards achieving their goal of surviving and thriving under this new way of doing things.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo Founder, PA Joey Concepcion gave his keynote message by easing the worries of the mentee-graduates on updating them of the current vaccine efforts from both the private and public sector and how vaccines will serve as the serving glory against this pandemic. He mentioned that when the time comes that the mentee-graduates will be needing help, they may get in touch with Go Negosyo mentors to help them through mentorship on solving their specific problem which they have encountered in their businesses or cooperatives. He also advised the mentee-graduates not to lose hope because Go Negosyo and the Department of Trade and Industry are here to help them.

The 35 mentee-graduates who successfully completed the program were granted confirmation by RD Edwin Banquerigo, USec. Blesila Lantayona, and Engr. Merly Cruz, and received their certifications. After the awarding of the certificates, seven (7) graduates shared their learnings and takeaways from the program through their testimonials.

For Ursolo Dela Pena of Ursing’s Integrated Farm from Region 8, he thanked God for giving them an opportunity to continue learning and to be part of the pilot batch of DTI RAPID-KMME program. As a mentee, this training is a very useful and very important foundation in establishing a business. He also expressed his gratitude to all the mentors for sharing their knowledge and expertise in the field of business.

For Sheena Mae Mante of Alonzo Gourmet Food Products from Region 9, she realized on the first day of DTI RAPID-KMME that there are so many things which she needs to learn. And now, because of this program, she is ready to face the challenges in the world of entrepreneurship. The learning will continue and she sees herself becoming a successful entrepreneur.

For Rico Badilla Kamada of Arc Cooperative from Region 10, RAPID-KMME helped him develop a clearer vision for his coop and helped in formulating strategic moves. It widened his cooperative’s perspective in terms of expansion on its agri-operation which will definitely help a lot of farmers in improving and uplifting their financial capacity and economic status. After joining the RAPID-KMME program, he sees himself more equipped and confident that he can apply the knowledge he has gained.

For Audrey Pancho of Comval Tropical Harvest Trading Company Inc. from Region 11, the program is an eye-opener that made her realize that they are not just small-scale entrepreneurs but also they also have a social responsibility not only to the community but to the whole value-chain itself. Through the program, it helped her identify the key partners and how to optimize the relationships with them. Most importantly, the RAPID-KMME program really helped her realize, to reevaluate, and innovate on the areas that she thinks that they really need to improve. She hopes that in the next couple of years that they are still partnered with the program, RAPID-KMME, that they will together achieve the goals of helping the value chain, and giving back to the communities.

For Abigail Ranera of Nikko’s Brew from Region 12, she gained and learned a lot of knowledge from the program. The program gave a big impact not just to her business but this can also help other start-up businesses on how to operate the business and build partnerships. The RAPID program also helped them in providing machineries, tools they needed for their business. She sees herself expanding her business through the help of the program.

For Panganda Tanggote of Darusalam High Valued Crops Farmer Cooperative from BARMM, the DTI RAPID-KMME and the team behind the program prepared them to adapt to change and challenge. He gives thanks to all the mentors and coaches of the program which transformed them into entrepreneurs and he believes that they could also make it big. The most important thing he learned is that they have already taken the initial steps needed to build a more promising future.

Lastly, for Regan Cacho of Dugmanon United Coconut Farmers Association from Region 13, through the help of the program, he is now more empowered because of all the learnings and knowledge he gained that he can apply to his cooperative. In the coming years after joining the DTI RAPID-KMME program, he would like to see himself watch his organization grow, touching every farmer’s life in his community who will feel their mission by alleviating poverty.

Closing the program, Go Negosyo Adviser for MSME Development, Engr. Merly Cruz congratulated the mentee-graduates and told them that they have set a very good example in the agribusiness sector and hopes that they can do something beyond what they have already done not just for their cooperatives but also for the community. She also thanked the mentors and coaches who actively participated in the pilot batch of the program. It is not just the success of the program but also their own success.

The program was hosted by Joby Linsangan-Moreno, owner of Orange Blush Salon and Go Negosyo Mentor.