Ilocos Norte - The provincial government of Ilocos Norte is allocating PHP4.2 million in aid to support start-ups and small businesses this year, aiming to bolster local operations affected by economic challenges. Elma Gabriel, head of the provincial Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Office, announced on Wednesday that the initiative will focus on aiding entities in manufacturing, handicrafts, retail, and services, with particular attention to ventures owned by women, impoverished individuals, the elderly, and those with physical disabilities.

According to Philippines News Agency, approximately 849 beneficiaries are targeted to receive PHP5,000 each in cash assistance. She detailed that applicants must visit the Ilocos Norte MSME Incubation Center, located in the La Tabacalera building, to submit their applications. Additionally, recipients are expected to participate in training and capacity-building activities designed to enhance their business skills and productivity.

As of now, the MSME Office has received around 300 applications. This follows last year's effort, which supported 600 MSMEs under a similar business stimulus program. Elvira Uddon, vice president of the Saud Whitesand and Shellcraft Producers Association and a beneficiary of the program, shared that the support has been crucial, especially since the pandemic severely affected their sales. She noted that current earnings range between PHP2,000 and PHP3,000 daily, a stark contrast to the over PHP5,000 daily profit experienced during pre-pandemic periods at events on Saud Beach, a location famed for its beauty.

In addition to the government's stimulus package, Uddon mentioned that her association participates in various trade fairs and exhibits, including the Producer-to-Consumer markets in Quezon City and San Juan, and the bi-monthly Kadiwa pop-up store, to help sustain their operations.

By admin