Empowering small and medium enterprises

Empowering small and medium enterprises

by UA&P News Desk on December 13, 2011 - 11:08 am

by Trivia Morento, from the Manila Bulletin

MANILA, Philippines — If there is anything the Occupy Wall Street movement last September 17 taught us, it is that the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations (read: the wealthiest 1 percent of America) over the democratic process has caused the greatest recession the world has experienced in generations.

The movement, which uses the slogan, “We are the 99,” highlights the men and women that represent the country’s multitude of small businesses. “The General Motors and the GEs may be very big in value to GDP (gross domestic product) but in terms of enterprises, they constitute less than one percent,” says Dr. Bernardo M. Villegas Ph.D., SVP of the University of Asia and the Pacific, at the recent launch of Western Union Business Solutions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“What is meaningful here,” Villegas says, “is that these small businesses are telling these big guys that ‘we are the 99, and you are only 1.’ And you can say exactly the same thing here in the Philippines. The San Miguels, the Ayalas, the SMs—while they definitely represent an important value in our GDP, in terms of number they only constitute less than one percent. It’s the small and medium enterprises that make up more than 99 percent of all businesses in the Philippines.”

Underserved

In his keynote address, Villegas further asserts that it is the SMEs that serve as the foundation of any economy, whether developed or developing. “In Japan, for example,” he says, “it’s not the Mitsubishis and Toyotas that are the foundation of the Japanese economy. It’s the thousands of small suppliers that precisely make these large corporations productive. Without these suppliers, the large corporations would not be able to contribute to the value of the economy.”

Villegas’ vision for the Philippines is the same. “It isn’t a reality yet because in the Philippines, small businesses are handicapped,” Villegas says. “It’s very difficult for them to borrow money, to get serviced financially; and what’s worse,” he says, “is that it’s the SMEs in the countryside who are even more handicapped. SMEs are the backbone of our economy. They provide two-thirds of all jobs in the country. They provide the fabric of all communities, yet the odds are often stacked against them.”

Read full story on MB.com.ph »

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