16 December 2016, By Mr Frank Waeltring and Dr Volker Steigerwald
During the last four years, the Promotion of Green Economic Development (ProGED) project has been promoting the use of green services and green technologies by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Then with additional resources from the Challenge Fund of the GIZ Sector Network Sustainable Economic Development (SED) Asia and the GIZ supported project Promoting Innovation and Technology in ASEAN Countries (PIT) ProGED helped the DTI to build up the potential of its Negosyo Centers, especially by using the Negosyo Centers to be The Hub that facilitates the provision of innovation related services to MSMEs.
It is against this backdrop that the second Innovation Promotion and Technology Workshop was conducted on 15 to 16 December 2016 at the City Garden Hotel in Makati City. This was a follow up to the Innovation System Training held in February 2016 in Iloilo. There were a total of 24 participants (11 males, 13 females) mainly comprised of DTI staff from Regions VI and X who are directly involved in the operations of the Negosyo Centers (67 percent). Other participants included staff of DTI national offices which were the Philippine Trade Training Center and Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (13 percent). The other 20 percent were comprised of staff from the University of the Philippines Institute of Small Scale Industries, PhilExport, Philippine Plastic Industry Association, Office of Senator Bam Aquino, Wood Foundation in Tarlac and an enterprise in Laguna.
The workshop, being conducted by Mr Frank Waeltring from Mesopartner, together with four GIZ ProGED staff led by Dr Volker Steigerwald was to 1) identify ways to make the Negosyo Centers become a facilitator and networking hub for innovation linkages between service providers and enablers and MSMEs, 2) start the process of identifying further capacity development needs of Negosyo Center staff so they can identify and assess the innovation demands from MSMEs and 3) generate recommendations to achieve the objective of making the Negosyo Centers to be the hub for the provision of innovation services to MSMEs.
The results of the workshop were encouraging as the staff of the more established Negosyo Centers such as those in Cagayan de Oro and Iloilo have expressed interest take on the challenge. One of the participants expressed it very clearly, “We would like to take over this innovation facilitation role but we will need more capacity building like this training and similar workshop events to take over this role. In our case we already demonstrated that we can also do something with our existing resources but this is not enough.”
As DTI ROG USec Maglaya has requested during the first day of the event, the workshop ended with concrete recommendations to the Negosyo Center Program Management Office and DTI policy level representatives to make use of the window of opportunity through providing the Negosyo Centers with a clear mandate and support structure to fully assume the envisaged innovation facilitation role.