The products of fifty (50) more micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) were enrolled in the One Town One Product (OTOP) Next Generation Program of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). Under this program, products, both food and non-food, undergo product development on quality, branding and visual impact, such as design, packaging and labelling through a process which includes assessment, consultation and triage (A.C.T.).

Conducted on April 5-6, 2018, the OTOP Next Gen A.C.T. is a component of the OTOP Philippines aimed to level up and scale up local products in order to respond to market demands. As OTOP Next Gen project consultant Mr. Leon G. Flores explained, it is high time for MSMEs to shift paradigms and “be market-oriented”.

The activity included an info session/seminar whereby the resource speakers discussed the importance of branding, package and labelling, and market trends. This was followed by one-on-one consultations with the MSMEs who were advised on what should be improved in their products. The products that shall have undergone product development will be launched during the Regional Trade Fair in September 2018.

Meanwhile, the first batch of food products enrolled in OTOP Next Gen is being assisted on marketing and promotion. These products participated in the National Food Fair in March this year.

DTI Regional Operations Group Asst. SecretaryDemphna Du-Naga, the OTOP Next Gen National Project Head, who graced the event with an inspirational message, urged the MSMEs to embrace innovations and to take advantage of the various market opportunities such as trade fairs, Go Lokal! stores and the OTOP Philippines Hub which were established especially for them.

The OTOP Next Gen program is being implemented in Region 02 in partnership with the Design Center of the Philippines, private consultants and local designers. For this batch of MSMEs (25 - food & 25 - non-food), the following consultants were hired: Ms. Leida Lembrere, Ms. Aieen Gonzales, Ms. Imelda Datul, Mr. Arturo Delgado Jr., Mr. Romulo Tapel II, Mr. Francis Paolo Peňaflor, Mr. Paul Henry Abad, and Mr.Cesar Crisostomo.

The A.C.T. team are faced with several challenges, including among others MSMEs production capacity to meet demands for export and financial capacity for expansion. It was suggested that the DTI provincial offices scout one or two medium-scale enterprises per province for the next batch as these are most likely to pass for export.