Thursday, May 16, 2019

12th SME summer trade fair inspires Ilocos Norte entrepreneurs

By Leilanie G. Adriano
Staff Reporter

San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte—At least 35 micro-, small-, and medium-entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in Ilocos Norte and nearby provinces are exhibiting their best-selling products again at a mall in this town from April 8-14, 2019.

Inspired by government support, Juana Pancho, a manufacturer of JF’s Boneless Bagoong from Brgy. Cabungaan, Laoag City said she is excited every time her products are on display in a mall and a lot of shoppers get curious of what is in store for them.

“I’m so happy for being part of the exhibit. It makes me feel awesome because in my years of business, it is only this time that we get to sell our products in a cool environment such as this,” said Ms. Pancho as she recalled selling her bagoong [fish sauce] products only at public markets or in her home at Brgy. Cabungaan.

Through the joint collaboration between the Department of Trade and Industry and the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, the 65-year-old single mom and bagoong vendor is just among the beneficiaries of various government programs and services meant to level up their knowledge and skills to improve their products.

Aside from selling bagoong, she also sells hot chili or garlic dip in sukang Iloko [sugarcane vinegar] including local dried fish.

Now running for 12 years, the DTI-Ilocos Norte summer trade fair is partnering with the Ilocos Norte government and the MSMEs to further inspire local entrepreneurs to make quality products that is at par with their counterparts in Southeast Asia.

Products on display include sweet mangoes, off-season dragon fruit, pastries, rice coffee, rice cracker, noodles, chichacorn, peanut butter, bagnet, longganisa, bagoong, wine, and other processed foods. The non-food sector also includes inabel, binakol, buri crafts, wood crafts, souvenir items, and ornamental plants.

For this year, Edison Natividad, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) office said a cash prize will also be awarded to the chosen Best Dressed Booth for both food and non-food sector MSMEs.

Mr. Natividad assured more programs and partnerships with various entities are lined up for the MSMEs development in the province to boost their income and exposure.

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