Batac: Ilocos Norte allocates PHP4.2-M stimulus for small biz

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photo courtesy by Leilanie Adriano

The Ilocos Norte provincial government is infusing PHP4.2 million to assist start-ups and small businesses to continue and strengthen their operations this year.

Elma Gabriel, head of the provincial government’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Office, said in an interview on Wednesday that the program prioritizes small-scale businesses that are engaged in manufacturing, handicrafts, retail, and services, particularly those owned by women, poverty-stricken individuals, the elderly, and physically-challenged individuals.

The provincial government targets to extend the PHP5,000 cash aid to about 849 beneficiaries this year.

Gabriel said interested small business owners should submit their application for the cash aid to the Ilocos Norte MSME Incubation Center located on the 2nd floor of the La Tabacalera building.

“The recipient is also required to attend training and capacity-building activities to enhance the entrepreneurs’ skills and productivity,” she said.

To date, the MSME Office has received about 300 applications.

Last year, the provincial government assisted 600 MSMEs under a business stimulus program.

“The program is really beneficial for us, small business owners because they also teach us how to increase our income,” Elvira Uddon, 63, vice president of the Saud Whitesand and Shellcraft Producers Association, said in Ilocano.

Uddon said their sales have been low since the pandemic and they barely make an income of PHP2,000 to PHP3,000 per day. The association has 32 active members, mostly housewives.

Before the pandemic, their profit was more than PHP5,000 per day during crowd-drawing events at Saud Beach, recognized as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

Aside from availing of the business stimulus package of the provincial government, the association is also participating in various trade fairs and exhibits for its business to stay afloat.

Among the regular trade fairs they look forward to are the Producer-to-Consumer markets held in Quezon City and San Juan, as well as the Kadiwa pop-up store held here at least twice a month. (Leilanie Adriano)

(Source: Philippine News Agency)

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