Fresh off the success of its maiden year, Philstar Media Group’s (PMG) Nakakalocal is back in its second year, this time, in partnership with SM Supermalls.
Year 2 was launched last June 8 at the Atrium of SM Megamall in Ortigas Center, Pasig, just a few days’ shy of the celebration of the country’s 125th Independence Day, in what can be construed as an auspicious portent of the financial independence that awaits Nakakalocal’s participating micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME).
Among the esteemed guests present during the ribbon-cutting and opening program were Philstar Media Group CEO Miguel Belmonte and executive vice president Lucien Dy Tioco; SM Supermalls president and CEO Steven Tan and VP for advertising Grace Magno; SM Investments Corporation (SMIC) independent director and former Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez; AboitizPower president and CEO Manny Rubio and vice president for reputation management Suiee Suarez; and executive director of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship-Go Negosyo Thermina Akram.
There were also ten MSMEs who set up booths during the event, selling products from wood carvings and textile to personalized home decor and bags. These businesses which participated during the launch were DR Essentials Aromatherapy, Shayndice Enterprises, Osi Excel Frames and Decors Enterprise, Wood Classics, Adorno Home Décor, JER Shellcraft Creations Int’l, Pure Essentials, Ai-She Fashion, Crystal Works by Jo, and Cut and Shape Manufacturing.
“A dream come true”
Following a similar format as its first iteration, Nakakalocal Year 2 will continue to provide MSMEs the STAR’s different platforms to promote their products and help tell their stories. In so doing, the initiative will also continue to encourage Filipinos to patronize local products and help strengthen the economy.
The same process of selection through a Nakakalocal Council is in place, but organizers ensured that they will be “more flexible” in creating a program for each STAR MSME based on their readiness to scale up their business.
“What went through the first year, it was really a dream for The Philippine STAR. For us, over the years, The Philippine STAR has always been for nation-building, and that’s been the direction of the STAR, especially when the pandemic happened. It strengthened our determination to help the country, and by doing that we created Nakakalocal,” PMG executive vice president Lucien Dy Tioco said in his speech during the Nakakalocal Year 2 launch.
He recognized that while different sectors have their own efforts in helping out MSMEs, “no media entity” had until then done so. This inspired the team to shine the spotlight on these businesses through the STAR’s various platforms, highlighting their products and services, while at the same time, convincing consumers to buy local.
“By doing that we are helping the economy,” he added. “That’s really the advocacy of Nakakalocal, to help MSMEs.”
Bolstered by newfound wisdom
Year 1’s success provided the organizers with wisdom needed to further improve the initiative for the benefit of the MSMEs. Dy Tioco shared three key observations during Nakakalocal’s rookie year from which they were able to cull recommendations crucial to enhancing the program.
“For Year 2, we plan to address the pain points that we have found out from our MSMEs in scaling up their business through our new programs. First, most of our MSMEs wala masyadong alam sa marketing, which is a very important component of really promoting their products,” he said.
“Second, most of the MSMEs, kapag nandiyan na, they’re scared to scale up their business. And third, though some are thriving online, their real desire is to have a physical store.”
He said that these are the concerns that they want to address in Nakakalocal’s second year, “through product promotions, learning and mentoring, and at the same time, giving them [MSMEs] the right direction.”
Dy Tioco added that through the STAR’s partnership with SM Supermalls, whom he said is a “great believer” in Nakakalocal, the initiative will be able to go nationwide. “What we really appreciate is SM Supermalls’ strong faith in the Nakakalocal project, where there are a lot of things we have in common in our programs and desire to collaborate in a bigger effort that can produce a much better outcome for both parties.”
With this, he ended his speech by thanking all the partners, and assuring the STAR MSMEs by saying that Nakakalocal will always “Make MSMEs realize the potential that they have. Lahat ng produkto niyo, very inspiring and have a good story to tell.”
Spreading its wings
With Nakakalocal Year 2 going regional, STAR MSMEs will be exposed to SM's network of opportunities, as they likewise have a strong MSME program.
In a separate interview, Dy Tioco shared that the beauty of the Nakakalocal program is in the creation of a “modest ecosystem,” where the MSMEs are given exposure through the initiative’s partners and sponsors based on three strategic buckets, namely: learning and mentoring, connection and opportunities, and promotion and exposure.
“These are manifested through the planned activities throughout the year. For our regional efforts, expect a leveled-up program where there will be installations, community contests, and a talent search as well,” he added.
Harnessing the potential of MSMEs
With more MSMEs participating, with more activities on-ground and online, and with more locations nationwide, Nakakalocal’s Year 2 can only be promising, especially for the participating businesses.
“We find the program really very appropriate. Look around and see the products that they have. Hindi po ito iyong sinasabing very ordinary MSMEs. What I see is really a curated set of products that are innovative,” said former Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez in his speech during the launch. “This is the kind of entrepreneurship that we push for in our country, ito iyong nakikita nating malaki ang potential, in fact, many of these, I’m sure, are being exported already.”
“Gusto namin itong mga micro, maging small, iyong small maging medium, and eventually become large corporations. The future SM, Philstar, Jollibee,” he added. He gave as examples turon and barbeque vendors who used to sell outside SM malls who are now product and service suppliers for SM and other huge companies.
“We would like for the MSMEs to grow with SM, and at the same time SM growing with the MSMEs. That’s what we really want to happen. There are many success stories already,” added Lopez, who is also SM Investments Corporation’s (SMIC) independent director. “That’s the kind of entrepreneurship, ecosystem, to bring prosperity for all. Because if we are able to help the 99.6% of MSMEs, that’s practically helping build the nation.”
Lopez also mentioned how SM Supermalls is a suki when it comes to MSMEs, saying that the malls are home to “a lot of entrepreneurs.”
In his own message during the event, Steven Tan, president and CEO of SM Supermalls, agreed to Lopez’s statement, saying: “As you know, SM is a home to MSMEs, 80% of our suppliers and tenants in our malls can be classified as MSME or SME. 60% of what we buy in SM is from small- and medium-sized suppliers. In an average mall, we have 300 to over a thousand stalls and stores, 200 to 300 service providers, and a few thousand suppliers. These MSMEs provide our shoppers [with] fashion, food, and fun.”
He added that SM Supermalls has always believed in the power of MSMEs, whom he described as “our economic lifeblood, the drivers of growth, and the changemakers we need in our society.” He said that by offering them opportunities and platforms to showcase their products and services, SM Supermalls is also able to help them expand and grow.
Tan punctuated his speech with a powerful statement that resonated with the audience: “SM is SM because of MSMEs.”
Support both new and renewed
Thermina Akram, executive director of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship- Go Negosyo, assured the MSMEs of their support. “We are in Year 2, and you can count on Go Negosyo’s support in pushing forward our model for MSME development, which is also the three M’s as mentioned by Sir Mon (Lopez),” she said in her speech during Nakakalocal Year 2’s launch.
She added that Go Negosyo is focused on access to mentorship, access to money, and access to market. “Through Nakakalocal we are willing to provide our mentorship capabilities to the MSMEs who will be part of this program.”
Akram came on behalf of Joey Concepcion, Go Negosyo founder, who unfortunately couldn’t make it to the event.
Also present during the launch was Manny Rubio, president and CEO of AboitizPower, who in his speech mentioned that one of the things that they do in the company is operate power plants. In the locations where their facilities operate, AboitizPower is hosted by communities. “One of the things we measure ourselves on is how we are making a difference in the lives of the people who live within our communities,” he said.
He shared that what they do is create a set of “shared values” with the members of the host communities, saying: “We always believe that corporate success will deliver social development, but only when there is continuous social development can we sustain corporate success. So symbiotic iyong relationship. That’s why AboitizPower behaves the way we do. We behave responsibly when we operate power plants.”
He recounted that during Nakakabazaar, Nakakalocal’s culminating event last May, one of AboitizPower’s projects was featured, wherein they help communities in Ifugao province plant coffee trees.
Their coffee is now available in supermarkets as “Ifugao Kape,” which is of the robusta kind harvested from the highlands of Lagawe, Ifugao.
An exciting, enriching lineup of activities
Buoyed by promising and strengthened partnerships, Nakakalocal Year 2 is all set and raring to deliver on its promise of helping local MSMEs soar to greater heights and conquer the global stage. Things can only be better, bigger, and brighter from here.
Among the activities for Nakakalocal 2.0 are on-ground events like “Kasosyo,” which is back, but this time with four selling events in SM malls in Metro Manila, specifically SM Aura, SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, and SM North EDSA. It will also have more organic and sustainable brands participating.
Bringing Nakakalocal to different areas outside the NCR—including Baguio, Batangas, Iloilo City, and Davao City—is “Bida ang Local Caravan.” The caravan will serve as a venue for exhibits and installations featuring the STAR MSMEs’ products and services.
There will also be a “Negosyo Booster Mini-Talk” which will provide entrepreneurial newbies with the fundamental knowledge and skills needed to start their business.
Nakakalocal’s Eduserye will also make a comeback, both face-to-face and online, with activities such as live cooking demonstrations and celebrity mom fan meets.
Other activities include “Tikim Time,” which is a food/eating contest; “STAR Talent,” a talent competition for locals; and the second year of the Nakakalocal Awards: Kudos Local which will recognize exemplary and inspiring STAR MSMEs per location and will serve as part of Nakakabazaar, the culminating activity of Nakakalocal, in April 2024.
The Nakakalocal team will go full blast in terms of promotions in print and on digital platforms. A documentary series on participating MSMEs is also in the works.
Nakakalocal Year 2 sponsors include AboitizPower, BDO, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), GoNegosyo, Viva One, Toyota Philippines, Universal Robina, and GCash.