May 28

ICT Development Program for SMEs of Mountain Province

Joel T. Fagsao
A Proposal for Presentation to NGOs, Foundations, Corporations, Government Agencies who have the compassion to narrow the digital divide in this part of the world.

Rationale: ICT has made inroads and changes to life in Mountain Province. The prevalence of mobile communications has opened opportunities for the community folks. No longer is the province isolated from the world. With mobile communications coupled with Internet connection service, exploration on how these services can be harnessed for development is in order. The Department of Trade and Industry is mandated to provide assistance to SMEs. With this mandate, it is the opportune time for the agency to lead in the exploration of how ICT can be harnessed for development in this part of the world. The appropriate ICT mix could boost development of SMEs in Mountain Province.

ICT Situation in the Philippines
Last Mile Initiative (source Commission on Information and Communications Technology)

Government firmly believes in the pre-eminent role of the private sector in providing ICT goods and services to the public, and that the role of government in this respect is to ensure that the ideal legal policy and regulatory environment is in place to ensure free and fair competition in the marketplace.
Nonetheless, government also realizes that there are many places in the Philippines, particularly in rural and remote areas, which currently do not have access to ICT and which the private sector is unable to reach or invest in at the present time.

Consistent with its commitment to provide access o ICT for all, the Philippines’ Last Mile Initiative (www.lastmileinitiative.ph) will take all steps necessary to ensure that all citizens have access to ICT goods and services, and will, principally through Community e-Centers (CeCs), provide the last mile bridge to these unserved areas. The Last Mile Initiative will continue to partner with the private sector, national and local governments, and civil society, and capitalize on their strengths and expertise to set up, encourage, identify and document best practice models of Community e-Centers that hold the promise of widespread replication.

Use of emerging technologies that can provide broadband connectivity and enhanced services to the users over the last mile, such as standardized WiMAX (WorldWide Interoperability for Microwave Access) or Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) and third generation mobile communications systems (3G) will be pervasively utilized. Cable systems, using second generatin Asynchronous Digital Subscriber Lines (ADSL 2/2+) will also be tapped for areas where existing fixed line services are available.

Finally, in addition to providing ICT equipment and connectivity options, the Last Mile Initiative will provide support designed to ensure the sustainability and lob-term relevance of the CeCs including community preparation, trainings in business development, trainors’ trainings for computer and internet literacy and identification of appropriate technologies and applications such as VoIP.
Already, pilot initiatives have yielded success stories that demonstrate the power and potential of such access to provide jobs, support education, promote tourism and provide alternative and affordable means of communication.

This development program seeks to attain the following:
1. Develop awareness of ICT in relation to SME growth.
2. Identify appropriate ICT needs of SMEs.
3. Develop an ICT development program for SMEs.

Strategies for program Implementation
1. ICT Awareness/Appreciation Workshops
2. Basic Bookkeeping
3. Computer Literacy Training
4. Website/E-Commerce Development
5. ICT Tools for Business Management
6. ICT Equipment Loan Program

Program Partners
1. Department of Trade and Industry
a. Needs assessment of SMEs in relation to ICT
b. Network with stakeholders
c. Program lead agency

2. Xijen College of Mountain Province
a. Design Training Programs for SMEs
b. SME ICT Consultancy Services

3. Technical Education and Skills Development Authority
a. IT Skills Training Support
b. Asses competencies of ICT Trainers

4. Department of Science and Technology
a. Free Software- Bayanihan Linux
b. ICT Consultancy Services
c. Technology Integration for Related Industry

5. Association of Internet Café Operators- Mountain Province
a. Internet Access Service Provider
b. Internet Literacy Training Provider
6. Provincial Government of Mountain Province
a. Funding Assistance for ICT Integration Projects
b. Coordinate constituents for ICT integration related projects
c. Marketing support
d. Legislation for SME support on ICT related investments

7. Globe Business (Globe Telecoms)
a. Communications Packages for SMEs
b. Sponsored Networking with SMEs

8. Philippine National Bank
a. Online Banking Services
b. Credit Card Service
c. Funding Assistance

Proposed Activities
1. ICT Needs Identification of SMEs
a. Meeting of program partners
b. Consultation Meetings with SMEs

2. Project Proposals Preparation

3. MOU Signing between Program Partners

4. Project Implementation

ICT Tools to be explored
1. Business Applications
a. Spreadsheets
b. Marketing Collaterals (Brochures, Business Cards, Product Labels, Flyers)
c. Accounting (financial, inventory management, asset tracking)
d. Chat, E-mail, VOIP
e. Point of Sale (POS) for retail trade sector

2. Marketing Exposure
a. Online /E-commerce site
b. Develop business networks
c. Match raw materials suppliers
d. Increase market base

1. 5 SMEs will maintain online presence
2. Develop one umbrella e-commerce site that will feature products of 30 SMEs to accommodate those who wish to test online presence or cannot afford a commercial host provider

3. 30 SMEs will use ICT tools to complement their businesses

4. Generate ICT related jobs/income/investments
a. P150,000.00 related revenue for web page design and maintenance
b. Generate 5 new ICT related jobs for local IT graduates
c. Generate P2.5 million in investments to service local ICT needs
d. Generate P3 million annual combined sales online with a projected 5% yearly increase

1. ICT Awareness/Appreciation Workshop
2. Computer Literacy Training (Modules 1, 2, 3, 4)
3. Basic Bookkeeping
4. Web Page and E-Commerce Development
5. Provincial E-Commerce Site
6. Investments in Community Learning and Information Centers

Proposal Brief

1. ICT Awareness/appreciation Workshop
-A series of road shows covering the 10 municipalities of Mountain Province. The road show will showcase ICT as a support tool for business growth.
-Estimated budget per road show
-Initial target will be the municipalities of Besao, Sagada, Sabangan, Bauko , Bontoc, Tadian

Fund Source: NGO, Foundation, etc.

Budget Item Qty Unit Cost Total Cost
Vehicle hire 2 2000.00 4,000.00
Reproduction of info materials 250 2.00    500.00
Snacks of participants 60 20.00 1,200.00
Meals of Participants 30 80.00 2,400.00
    TOTAL 8,100.00


2. Computer Literacy Training for SMEs (Modules 1 to 4 totaling 20 days @ 5 days per module.
Module 1: Introduction to Computers and Wordprocessing
Module 2: Spreadsheets
Module 3: Introduction to the Internet, VOIP, Internet Banking, Online Payments, Net Security
Module 4: Marketing Collaterals with MS Publisher

 3. Basic Bookkeeping

3. Website and E-Commerce Development (5 days Training)

5. Provincial E-Commerce Site
-A conglomeration of SME products and services targeted to SMEs who cannot afford to manage their own websites
Project Cost for Funding: P150,000.00
SME Counterpart: P25,000.00

6. Investment in Community Learning and Information Centers

The concept of a Community Learning and Information Center is a hybrid Internet Café. The investor/owner/operator will offer computer literacy trainings, manage SME websites, service the online business transaction needs of the SME or Microentrepreneur. A Community Learning and Information Center in every municipality will bridge the digital divide for SMEs and the community itself. A center can have at least 5 computers, a scanner, IP Phone, Web Camera, Internet Connection

Total Investment Cost is at most P150,000.00