A BUSINESS organization is hoping that more projects will be geared toward small and medium enterprises (SME) development this year, citing the sector’s robust growth and contribution to the local economy.
Filipino-Cebuano Business Club Inc (FCBI) president Rey Calooy hopes more incubation centers will be put in place to help companies that don’t have much capital yet to set up their own offices.
Calooy said other Asian countries like Japan and Korea have been successful in SME development as their governments and private sectors worked together to provide SMEs the technical and financial assistance they needed.
He said the Philippines should follow the two countries so that it could attract Filipinos, especially the younger ones, to invest locally.
“SMEs are the ones driving the economy now. Even large companies are now penetrating small malls in the countryside to ride with the growth,” Calooy said in a phone interview recently.
Data from the Department of Trade and Industry showed there were 10,038 new businesses of single proprietorship in Cebu as of November 2012.
The region recorded a total of 16,694 new businesses of single proprietorship in the same period.
Calooy lauded private sector initiatives like that of Plantersbank, which set up the first SME industrial park in the Philippines, saying it helps in SME development.
Six FCBI officials met with Plantersbank chairman and chief executive officer Ambassador Jesus Tambunting last month and discussed new products and services the bank is extending to the sector.
In 2007, Plantersbank developed the 45ha SME Industrial Park in Naga City, Cebu.
The company said it wanted to provide more opportunities to SMEs while enjoying special economic zone incentives like tax and duty-free privileges.
The bank said that unlike other industrial parks that only lease the land to locators, the Plantersbank SME Industrial Park offers ownership of industrial lots ranging from 1,000sqm to two hectares.
The company said this makes it easier for SMEs to plan the construction and expansion of their manufacturing plants.
“Cebu SMEs welcome developments like this because these help elevate the standing of SMEs,” said Calooy.
“We need more projects like this if we want to grow and help the SME sector become globally competitive,” he said.
Calooy said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations integration by 2015 will present both opportunities and challenges to small players.
Aside from product innovation, Calooy said strong support from the government is needed in terms of providing a business-friendly environment for small enterprises.
Calooy said the SME Industrial Park is on the right location, with business growth in Cebu heading south.
“We forecast that growth within the next five to 10 years will be coming from the south,” he said.
He referred to robust economic activities in the area like the South Road Properties. – Sun-Star