By Gabriela Baron, September 25, 2021; Manila Bulletin

The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the project holder of Supporting Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Project signed Memoranda of Agreement (MOA) with four private organizations that will complement government efforts in making the business environment responsive to women micro-entrepreneurs (WMEs).

PCW partnered with Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Development (Bayan Academy), Empowering Communities with Hope Opportunities through Sustainable Initiatives (ECHOSi Foundation), National Confederation of Cooperatives in the Philippines (NATCCO), and the Socio-Economic Development Program Multipurpose Cooperative (SEDP-MPC) in facilitating the sustainability and competitiveness of WMEs in the food, woven textiles, and home-style sectors.

The Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Labor and Employment, and the four private-sector partners will help reach out to at least 12,000 WMEs targeted to be enrolled in the Project.

Great Women Project 2 focuses on governance and capacity building for creating and enabling environment for WMEs. The Project brings in more private sector partners to complement the current efforts of the government in helping women-owned and women-led micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) grow their existing businesses.

Under the MOA, the four private-sector partners will aid in providing women micro-entrepreneurs with technical assistance on product development, productivity, and environmentally-sustainable production, and entrepreneurship and management; as well as access to financial products and services, networks and linkages, and platforms for marketing.

PCW Chairperson Rhodora M. Bucoy emphasized the importance of investing in strategic partnerships to advance women’s economic empowerment in the Philippines.

“The private sector’s technical expertise and resources are valuable in complementing what the government already has so that together we can achieve a more inclusive and sustainable economic development,” Bucoy said.

“The GREAT Women Project is a concrete example that such convergence is possible, which has resulted in transformative outcomes for women entrepreneurs, their workers, families, and even the duty bearers such as government and private sector,” she added.

Meanwhile, Ambassador John T. Holmes of Canada to the Philippines hailed the private sector partners joining the project and for committing their time, expertise, resources, and networks for women empowerment.

“An earlier phase of this project highlighted the significant, catalytic role played by the private sector, particularly in product innovation and in opening new markets for women’s products,” Holmes noted.

“By working together you can expand the potential of businesses to grow, and perhaps also enhance the government’s ability to deliver its services more effectively. I believe this is where innovation and transformation come from; when we challenge our usual ways of doing things to achieve greater results for all.”