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e-marketplace linking startups and MSMEs to growth opportunities launched

MATCH, an electronic marketplace platform developed by Filipino startup accelerator Startup Village (SUV), was launched in time for the opening of the Philippine Startup Week on Nov. 15, 2021.

Project MATCH is an 18-month grant activity funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) implemented by SUV that aims to help improve the access to market of startups, enable the digital transformation of micro-, small-, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and facilitate increased access to available financing institutions for both MSMEs and startups.

Through this initiative, startups have the opportunity to showcase and demonstrate their products and capabilities for the benefit of the MSMEs who are looking for possible digital solutions. The platform also integrates a Learning Management System (LMS) where curated content such as videos, case studies, and worksheets are organized as an e-library of resources.

MATCH also features a pool of industry expert mentors who can provide one-on-one coaching sessions and guidance for both startups and MSMEs.

Furthermore, MATCH provides access to finance links and opportunities to MSMEs and startups as it also partners with various financial institutions such as banks, microfinance institutions, investors, and venture capitalists to help fuel the growth of their businesses. Details and guidance on requirements and finance processing are also made available on the platform.

During its official launch, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez graced the event and expressed his utmost support and appreciation for the materialization of the initiative through the MATCH Platform, a catalyst for MSME and Startup digital transformation.

“DTI Welcomes this opportunity to collaborate with StartUp Village through a Memorandum of Understanding to address the most vital need of most micro SMEs today and that is to have the linkage and access to the appropriate digital solutions and financing for their business needs and what better way to do that than to match and pair them with startups that provide these services as well as the technology. As you know, innovation has always been at the core of our strategic policies and programs in DTI; we really want to create innovative smart micro SMEs, not just plain micro SMEs. Through embracing innovation, we have seen improvements in the productivity and competitiveness of our business sector pushing us to be ahead of the pack. The initiatives of Project Match complement our efforts and projects in support of MSMEs and startups particularly linking them to potential partners in the market,” Mr. Lopez said.

A ceremonial memorandum of understanding (MoU) signing was also done between Startup Village and the DTI to solidify the partnership in pursuit of the joint effort to accelerate MSME-Startup development through digitalization.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Startup Village President and Executive Director Carlo Calimon

The USAID/Philippines Acting Mission Director (AMD), Atty. Sean Callahan, witnessed the MoU signing and delivered a message of support, recognizing DTI’s significant role in fostering a more enabling environment for Filipino innovators.

“I am grateful to DTI for the consistent trust and confidence in our teams and I am pleased that our partnership, not only for these initiatives, but for the many other programs we are collaborating on, are producing results. I am excited to see more developments unfolding under this innovative grant activity designed to help unleash greater potential of Filipino startups,” Mr. Callahan underscored.

To date, Project MATCH has also partnered with Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Department of Science and Technology (DoST), DTI-Laguna, DoST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) and private organizations such as Ideaspace-QBO, Brainsparks, 917Ventures, Bayan Academy, Asian Centre for Small Business Philippines Chapter, Asian Institute of Management (AIM) Alumni Association, International Council for Small Business, Association of Filipino Franchisers, Inc., Round One, University of Iloilo, and Unboxed of Miriam College.

“Through Project Match, we are able to elevate and prepare our MSMES and startups for the new world we will live in today while also providing them with the needed capacity and capability building tools and resources needed to not only survive but thrive,” SUV President and Executive Director Carlo Calimon said.

MATCH is seen as a catalyst in not only jump-starting the digital transformation of MSMEs but more importantly contributing to the reinvigoration of the Philippine economy. The growth of the MSMEs will pave the way towards the country’s economic rebound leading to employment, innovation and sustainability of both MSMEs and startups.

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