SMEs access IBM toolkit for free
by Prix D. Banzon
Davao City (17 June) -- Small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) showed more interests in accounting and business planning where they access for free the SME Toolkit for their use and as guide in their business operation.
Russelle S. Trinidad, sales and marketing head of SME Solutions, Inc. said the SME Toolkit developed by IBM is a powerful online portal that enables entrepreneurs and small businesses to learn how to implement business management policies needed for growth.
The project is in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank and supported by PDB SME Solutions, Inc., an affiliate of Planters Development Bank (PDB).
Trinidad said most of these areas are in finance, accounting, business planning, international business, marketing, human resources or legal.
She said they can access these at no cost even as she said that most of the inquiries based on their monitoring are on accounting and business planning.
For the business planning, she stated, most of them need more info on it especially when they get loans as they are required to submit business plans.
As early as 2006, the IBM has dedicated more than $5 million to transform the previous site with open source technologies and interactive tools, business forms and management material, Trinidad said.
According to her, the platform now includes new social networking such as chat rooms and blogs to create a forum where small and medium sized business can collaborate anywhere around the world. This could help form partnership that might have gone undiscovered.
The Toolkit, she said, has been introduced by IBM with an enhanced version targeted specifically for small businesses in emerging markets, Trinidad stated.
But she said they need to reach out still to more arrears because they want the SMEs to really make a full use of the platform saying that what these small businesses got to do is access the site and use the program to help them improve on their operation.
The smarter business solutions was brought to the different parts of the country and in Davao City through a roadshow accompanied with a briefing featuring presentations from subject matter experts and business leaders.
This is part of IBM's efforts to increase technology adoption to build market competitiveness of the businesses in the region.
During the roadshow, the IBM's Express Advantage portfolio was also showcased featuring its products and solutions specifically developed for small and medium enterprises ranging from hardware, software, services and financing options.
According to Charis Fiel, South Philippines Business Manager of IBM Philippines, by enabling businesses in Davao City and the rest of Davao region with access to world class technology and expertise, they hope to help the city/region become smarter and better equipped to seize greater opportunities to play an integral part in the Philippines' economic growth.
He said IBM is currently working with thousands of mid-sized firms to help them differentiate, grow and compete in the global economy, utilizing their comprehensive portfolio.
The Express Advantage set of offerings deliver IBM's extensive business, industry, technology knowledge and experience, through a network of local Business Partners.
Lope Doromal, chief technologist of IBM Philippines said they are gearing towards a Smarter City and tie up with local chamber of commerce and ICT Councils.
He said they need to bring to the countryside these business solutions even as he said that they look at Mindanao where they see close to 52 percent of IT opportunities in Davao outside of Manila.
The roadshow aside from Davao was held in Cebu, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Clark, Subic and Sta. Rosa, Doromal said.
He said with their experience and responses they got in their previous engagements in other places they noted the interests of the SMEs that is why they are more inspired to roll the business outside of Manila.
Meanwhile he said IBM's commitment and focus in the Visayas-Mindanao region reaches beyond the business frontiers as it extends to the community.
IBM in 2008 deployed a team of 10 top-performing employees from various parts of the world to Davao for the IBM Corporate Service Corps program. The volunteers were deployed to Davao Tourism Council to collaborate and work on strategic plans to establish a roadmap/framework for a master plan to achieve the council's objectives.
It is also founding members within ICT councils in the southern region where the IBM Philippines, Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. launched an SME Technology Center in Davao City. The center helps local enterprises to leverage IT as a strategic business enabler by providing partners and developers a facility to increase homegrown software development using IBM technology as a platform. The center is located at DCCCII Bldg., Bajada, Davao City. (PIA) [top]