Biz innovation project pushes for digital transformation of MSMEs

The Youth First Initiative Philippines Inc. (YFI) continues to promote and sustain its advocacy to empower micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through business innovation.

In partnership with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) VI, YFI established another project called the Bakal Lokal Innovation Program. This program is focused to upgrade and maintain the Bakal Lokal e-commerce platform and mobile application, capacitate MSMEs and startups, and to foster the innovation culture in the region.

With this, YFI recently organized a publicity event with Bakal Lokal staff and partner merchants, local bloggers, influencers, and the media.  The event featured a demo of the improved user experience of the Bakal Lokal website and mobile app.  Further upgrades are targeted by integrating POS compatibility feature, blockchain technology, and data mining algorithms.

During the event, the attendees had a tour of the newly renovated hub located in Jaro, Iloilo City which showcased a wide array of products like coffee, artisan candles and soaps, shirts, tote bags, and fresh produce that are sourced from various parts of the region.

Moreover, Jan Enoch Belandres from Rosita’s Frozen Foods and Mr. Stephen George Estorque from Tingub.PH adds to the roster of brands and products included on the digital platform.  The new merchants officially sealed the deal with Bakal Lokal during a contract signing ceremony that was also held on the same day.

To date, Bakal Lokal has gained 69 merchants with approximately 10 sign-ups every month. Existing partner merchants include established local brands such as the Rgies Butterscotch, Fiesta Shirts and Souvenirs, Modern Ilongga, LOCO (Local Coffee), and BKNWA (Bakunawa). Emerging brands like the Amyon Votive Candles, Studio Sundays, Creations by Apple Macali, TMGSLNGAN (Timog Silangan), and Collec.PH have also signed up with Bakal Lokal to help them gain more popularity in the local scene.

Bakal Lokal Sales and Marketing Officer Mary Hope Abilo says that it is crucial to maximize the advantages of technology and ensure that no one gets left behind. Through the Bakal Lokal Innovation Program, MSMEs and startups are guaranteed an opportunity for growth through digital transformation.  The Bakal Lokal Innovation Program is a continuing effort of DOST VI and YFI in assisting MSMEs and startups through digital transformation.  (NABFactuar, DOST VI-KMU)