Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez and Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr signed a Memorandum of Agreement on 15 March 2018 to provide free wi-fi and learning modules to DTI’s Negosyo Centers.
Through the agreement, DICT will provide selected DTI Negosyo Centers with free internet access, ICT equipment, and access to its Tech4ED Project.
DICT’s PipolKonek Project gives free internet access to public places such as public schools, libraries, and local government units. To date, PipolKonek has already provided internet access to 44 out of the current 805 Negosyo Centers.
Negosyo Centers will also carry DICT’s Tech4ED Project, a platform that offers digital literacy and other skills training; an eMarketplace; and a one-stop-shop for government applications, among others.
The two agencies see digital literacy as a potential catalyst for the growth of MSMEs. Tech4ED offers “ICT for Entrepreneurs”—where micro entrepreneurs are trained to create their own website and use the internet to increase their market reach.
“This convergence of the DICT and DTI will arm the entrepreneurs, especially in the regions, with the tools they need to develop and innovate on their products and conduct their business online. Connectivity and digital literacy are the future-proof ways to help those at the bottom of the pyramid,” said Secretary Lopez.
Further plans include merging existing Tech4ED Centers and Negosyo Centers since some of them are housed in the same local government units. The DICT is also open to host DTI’s educational materials in the Tech4ED platform.
“The DICT’s main objective is to facilitate connectivity. We are thus counting on our partner agencies like the DTI to provide tools and content that will benefit the public,” said Secretary Rio.