DTI taps PJ Lhuillier for a digital platform

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced that the Negosyo Center Program Management Unit (NC-PMU) has signed a partnership with PJ Lhuillier Inc. (PJLI) to develop a digital platform aimed at promoting business information and advocacy for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Complementing the role of the Negosyo Centers to provide access to DTI services such as business registration, the Ministry of Commerce said the proposed “MSME Shared Business and Services Center” project will serve as a website that helps MSMEs with their business needs. The latter includes: financing; small insurance; small investments; business advisor; and payment and settlement options.

According to DTI, said portal will be accessed in any web browser and at kiosks located at select branches of PJLI’s Cebuana Lhuillier Services Corp., which operates the eponymous Cebuana Lhuillier pawn shop chain.

DTI-Regional Operations Group Undersecretary Blesila A. Lantayona expressed her support to PJLI in supporting the development of MSMEs through this digital initiative which, she said, will contribute to inclusive growth and assist the government in digitizing its public services and operations.

Join Undersecretary of Commerce in signing the Memorandum of Understanding: DTI-Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development OIC-Director OIC and Negosyo Center Program Emma C. Asusano; PJLI’s Chief Financial Officer, Filemon C. Cabungcal; Michael Contreras, Business Partner Finance at PJLI; And, the support team.

Last December, Secretary of Commerce Alfredo E.

Gaps recognized by the Department of Commerce include addressing access to finance, technology and market constraints for MSMEs to continue expanding their knowledge, upgrading their digital capabilities and improving their business operations.

With the development of MSMEs as one of the strategic actions of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Pascual earlier provided an overview of another initiative of the Ministry of Commerce related to the upgrading of small traders in the country. This is the e-commerce platform that DTI aims to launch in the second quarter of this year.

Pasquale is looking forward to this platform being set up as a way for “Filipinos to see what’s available from Philippine companies across different regions and really focus on it.”

The head of commerce said last December that the whole process — which includes setting up, training and “hooking” them to the e-commerce platform — can be likened to that of a supermarket. Pasquale envisions the platform as having an “e-catalog” of Philippine products.

On top of the MSME initiatives, the Department of Commerce also hopes that a program from USAID (“Strengthening Private Foundation for the Digital Economy”) will support DTI’s e-commerce-related goals to help small merchants.

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