Financial Technology

USAid taps PCCI for digitization

THE United States Agency for International Development (USAid) has selected the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) for its project to digitize small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

In his speech at the USAid’s Strengthening Private Enterprise for the Digital Economy (Speed) Project launch on Jan. 11, 2023, PCCI President George Barcelon said he welcomes the partnership, believing digital technology and innovation are the way to go to achieve a better quality of life for all.

“Thank you for this opportunity to be a part of a project and an alliance to make digital inclusion a reality for all Filipinos. Through this effort, we can accelerate progress in advancing digital technology and deliver on the promise of digital inclusion,” Barcelon said.

He mentioned that digitization has become imminent, accelerated in large part by the pandemic that drove entrepreneurs and workers to also become more innovative and creative.

“Majority of us can be entrepreneurs. Many of those who lost their jobs and livelihoods during the pandemic were able to reinvent themselves and found alternative streams of income. The greater challenge now is to ensure that this technology becomes readily available to everyone,” Barcelon elaborated.

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He added that PCCI, through its Committee on Digital Economy and Innovation and Science and Technology, is now working with the Department of Information and Communications Technology to make technology available to the geographically isolated, disadvantaged areas in the country.

“We have also established partnerships with the Development Academy of the Philippines’ Project Sparta (Smarter Philippines through Data Analytics, R&D, Training and Adoption) to train 30,000 individuals on data analytics,” Barcelon pointed out. “We have also teamed up with Start-up Village and Philippine Young Entrepreneurs Association to help MSMEs digitize and also signed an agreement with Zeald, a website design and digital transformation company, with regards the provision of e-commerce, lead generation websites, chatbots, integration, automation, training and digital marketing for MSMEs.”

He said that moving forward, it must be ensured that whatever steps have been taken toward digitization should be sustained as Filipinos unleash the power of innovation through technology.

The USAid-Speed project is a five-year project that seeks to mobilize the digital economy for enterprise-led development and expand the participation of the SMEs in the digital world.

It has four main objectives: to improve SME capacity and access to e-commerce platforms; expand and increase the use of e-payment systems and other financial technology innovations; improve the integration of e-commerce platforms with logistical supply chains; and increase consumer awareness protection.

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