The Philippines

Resources for Women Entrepreneurs in The Philippines

The Philippine Commission on Women

The Philippine Commission (PCW) on Women is the lead Philippine government agency steering development efforts towards women's empowerment and gender equality. Its mission is to partner with key stakeholders to make government work for the promotion and fulfillment of women’s human rights to enable women and men to equally contribute to and benefit from development. through gender mainstreaming in plans, policies, programs and services.

To address women’s economic empowerment, the PCW has been the lead implementing agency of the Gender Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women (GREAT Women) Project. The GREAT Women Project is a governance and capacity development project that aims to promote and support a gender-responsive enabling environment for women’s economic empowerment, particularly those in microenterprises.

PCW leads a convergence of partners, consisting of 12 national government agencies, 6 selected provincial local government units, 2 partner alliances and 36 municipalities from partner provinces to create a gender-responsive enabling environment for women’s economic empowerment. The GREAT Women Project (2006-2012) is provided with technical and financial support by the Canadian International Development Agency.

Through the GWP, PCW builds capacities of national government agencies and local government units to enable Filipino women microentrepreneurs to access information, credit, loans or financial assistance, training, markets technology and social protection.

Together with PCW in implementing the GWP is the Department of Trade and Industry. GWP’s partners are clustered into the Advocacy and Networking Cluster, Social Protection and Microfinance Cluster and Training and Resource Cluster. Local government partners include Quezon, Ifugao, Bohol, Iloilo and Leyte, alongside partner alliances of PPALMA and Metro Naga Development Council.

Advocacy and Networking Cluster consists of the Department of Interior and Local Government, National Economic and Development Authority, National Anti-Poverty Commission and Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Social Protection and Microfinance Cluster is formed by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and People’s Credit and Finance Corporation. Training and Resource Cluster is composed of the Occupation Safety and Health Center, Bureau of Women and Young Workers, Bureau of Rural Women, Department of Science and Technology, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Technology Resource Center and University of The Philippines Institute For Small Scale Industries-Small Enterprises Research & Development Foundation.

Since 2006, the GREAT Women Project has delivered 432 capacity development and related interventions, capacitating 18,302 government officials, staff and GWP stakeholders on various areas of gender-responsive governance. With the capacity-building provided, partner national and local government agencies shall integrate women’s economic empowerment in their respective plans, programs, and services.

Department of Trade and Industry

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is the primary government agency with the dual mission of facilitating the creation of a business environment wherein participants could compete, flourish, and succeed and, at the same time, ensuring consumer welfare.

Overall, its main role is to contribute to the country’s goal of achieving economic growth towards poverty reduction. Its mandate calls for the expansion of Philippine exports, increase in investments, and the development and promotion of the country’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The DTI must ensure that consumers’ rights are protected and that they are entitled to value for money.

DTI’s vision is to see the Philippines occupying its rightful place in a community of nations, prosperous and free.

Together with business, we are an active and leading partner in propelling the Philippines toward a dynamic and thriving economy. Our success is anchored on global competitiveness, with social responsibility and consumer welfare as our guiding principles. In all these, we adhere strictly to the tenets of professionalism, integrity, and transparency.

We continue to be the Filipino people’s Agency of Choice, an organization where creativity, innovation, professional, and personal growth find full expression.

Department of Labor and Employment

The DOLE is the national government agency mandated to formulate and implement policies and programs, and serve as the policy-advisory arm of the Executive Branch in the field of labor and employment. It is the lead agency mandated to develop the competencies and competitiveness of Filipino workers, to deliver employment facilitation services for full and decent employment, and to promote industrial peace based on social justice.

It serves more than 38.51 million workers comprising the country’s labor force, including the 3.62 million temporary migrants working in about 215 destinations worldwide . The DOLE clients include trade unions, workers’ organizations and employers and/or employers’ groups and 128 existing Industry Tripartite Councils serving as mechanisms for social dialogue in addressing labor and employment issues.

The DOLE also maintains linkages with non-government organizations (NGOs), government agencies, the academe, partner international organizations (e.g., ILO, IOM, IMO, UNDP, UNICEF), and with the international community, particularly the host countries where overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are based.

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) was established through the enactment of Republic Act No. 7796 otherwise known as the "Technical Education and Skills Development Act of 1994", which was signed into law by President Fidel V. Ramos on August 25, 1994. This Act aims to encourage the full participation of and mobilize the industry, labor, local government units and technical-vocational institutions in the skills development of the country's human resources.

A major thrust of TESDA is the formulation of a comprehensive development plan for middle-level manpower based on the National Technical Education and Skills Development Plan. This plan shall provide for a reformed industry-based training program that includes apprenticeship, dual training system and other similar schemes.

Overall, TESDA formulates manpower and skills plans, sets appropriate skills standards and tests, coordinates and monitors manpower policies and programs, and provides policy directions and guidelines for resource allocation for the TVET institutions in both the private and public sectors.

Today, TESDA has evolved into an organization that is responsive, effective and efficient in delivering myriad services to its clients. To accomplish its multi-pronged mission, the TESDA Board has been formulating strategies and programs geared towards yielding the highest impact on manpower development in various areas, industry sectors and institutions.

National Economic and Development Authority

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), as mandated by the Philippine Constitution, is the country’s independent economic development and planning agency. It is headed by the President as chairman of the NEDA board, with the Secretary of Socio-Economic Planning, concurrently NEDA Director-General, as vice-chairman. Several Cabinet members, the Central Bank Governor, ARMM and ULAP are likewise members of the NEDA Board.

Department of Science and Technology

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is the premiere science and technology body in the country charged with the twin mandate of providing central direction, leadership and coordination of all scientific and technological activities, and of formulating policies, programs and projects to support national development.

In the current arena of globalization, science and technology have become the most important factor for national economic growth and source of competitive advantage. Recognition of this fact has led technologically-progressive nations and firms to invest substantial resources in research and development (R&D), technology acquisition and adaptation, S&T education and training, and S&T infrastructure.

No less than the President has identified science and technology (S&T) as a principal means to fuel the nation's economy and ensure the well-being of all Filipinos.

In line with the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan, the DOST will pursue programs and activities guided by the principles of competence, competitiveness and conscience. Accordingly, the Department has adopted the following vision: A competent and competitive science and technology community with a social conscience.

The Medium-Term Plan of the DOST, for the period 1999 - 2004, presents the three-pronged approach which the science department shall adopt to realize this vision.

Firstly, by implementing high priority flagship programs to develop competence and competitiveness and address the needs of the poor and the disadvantaged. Secondly, by strengthening and giving sharper focus to continuing programs in science and technology to make them more relevant to the goals and thrusts of the current administration. And thirdly, by improving S&T governance and management, including institutional reforms for a more productive and efficient science community.

In pursuit of this vision, the Department will work with the S&T community on the urgent task of addressing the needs of Philippine society in proportion to their importance. In so doing, the Department enters into a new social contract with the Filipino people.

People’s Credit and Finance Corporation

PCFC is a government corporation created as an alternative banking, financing and credit system that will provide affordable credit to the marginalized sector of the country. By virtue of the Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act (R.A. 8425), it was designated as the vehicle for microfinance service delivery exclusively for the poor and was authorized to mobilize financial resources from both local and international sources.

PCFC envisions itself as a viable and sustainable leader in the provision of microfinance products and services in order to generate income opportunities and help in the upliftment of the poverty sector. It pursued wholesale lending coupled with institutional capability development as the strategy towards poverty reduction.

It is also the executing agency of the United Nation’s Development Program’s (UNDP) Microstart Program for institutional development.

Go Negosyo

The word “negosyo” is the Filipino term for “business.” Go Negosyo is the advocacy of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE), a non-stock, non-profit organization that advocates for a change in MINDSET and ATTITUDE. We believe that Filipinos can address poverty in the country by engaging in entrepreneurship and developing an optimistic, passionate, creative and innovative, resourceful, diligent and persevering character. We encourage everyone to take charge and make the most of their resources and abilities by utilizing and transforming these into viable enterprises.

Through our Caravans, Negosems, multi-media (TV and web) campaigns and books, Go Negosyo hopes to demystify entrepreneurial success and popularize entrepreneurship as an alternative to unemployment, job-seeking or migration. We are a partner in improving entrepreneurship education, and in providing a marketplace of ideas, innovations, business models and best practices. In short, we aim to catalyze the development of entrepreneurship in the country. An entrepreneurial culture would lead to an entrepreneurial nation and, consequently, to improved economy for the country.

Go Negosyo does not endorse a particular kind of business or franchise. Instead, we provide links to our partner entrepreneurs’ businesses, to business opportunities, to entrepreneurship-related training programs, and to funding sources. Hoping to generate competitive Filipino entrepreneurs, we seek to be the institution that brings together all key stakeholders and enablers of different entrepreneurship programs.

Online Resources for Women Entrepreneurs of the Philippines

Philippine Commission on Women

GREAT Women Project

Magna Carta of Women

GREAT Women Project Resource Pages

GREAT Women Project National Partners

Implementing Agency

Department of Trade and Industry

DTI Attached Agencies
Regional Operations and Development Group
Cottage Industry Technology Center
Bureau of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development
Office of Special Concerns
Philippine Trade Training Center

Advocacy and Networking Cluster

Department of Interior and Local Government

National Economic and Development Authority

National Anti-Poverty Commission

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Social Protection and Microfinance Cluster

Philippine Health Insurance Corporation

People’s Credit and Finance Corporation

Training and Resource Cluster

Attached Agencies of the Department of Labor and Employment
Occupation Safety and Health Center

Bureau of Women and Young Workers
Bureau of Rural Women
Department of Science and Technology

Technical Education and Skills Development Authority

Technology Resource Center

University of the Philippines Institute For Small Scale Industries- Small Enterprises Research & Development Foundation (UP ISSI-SERDEF)

Private Sector Partners

Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship

Other GREAT Women Project Resources

Business Registration

DTI Guide to Business Registration

DTI Business Name Registration System

Philippine Business Registry

Business Development Services

Advisory, Facilitation and Referral Services

Directory of DTI Business Assistance Centers

Directory of Common Service Facilities

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc.


One Town- One Product Program

DTI Bureau of Domestic Trade


Small Business Corporation

People’s Credit and Finance Corporation


Packaging and Research Development Center
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DOST Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP)

Technology and Livelihood Development Centers (TLDC)

Technology Resource Center’s e-Technobank

Training and Technical Services

Directory of NGOs Working on Women

Food and Drug Administration

Philippine Business for Social Progress

Philippine Trade Training Center Training Onsite Learning Programs

TESDA Women’s Center

Outside Links

Entrep Digest

Power Linked: Community for Entrepreneurs

SME Solutions Inc.

The Filipino Entrepreneur

Tiendesitas: A Showcase of Philippine’s best products

Women into the New Network for Entrepreneurial Reinforcement

Women Entrepreneurship website

News and Information on Recent Developments in The Philippines for Women Entrepreneurs

Brief on Women in Micro-, Small and Medium Enterprises

According to the 2008 Department of Trade and Industry data, there are 758,436 micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Of the total MSMEs, 91.9% (697,077) are microenterprises, 7.7% (58,292) are small enterprises, and 0.4% (3,067) are medium enterprises. Of the three island groups of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, Luzon had the most number of micro, small and medium enterprises with 517,788 (68%) of 758,436 total MSMEs. Visayas had 106,930 (14%) while Mindanao had 133,718 (18%) of total MSMEs. By region, the National Capital Region, Region IV-A (CALABARZON) and Central Luzon lead with the most number of MSMEs. Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Caraga Region and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) lag with the least number of MSMEs.

By number of firms, MSMEs formed 99.6% of the total 761,409 Philippine enterprises. Based on 2008 National Statistics Office data, MSMEs accounted for 3,395,505 jobs, contributing a combined 61.2% to the total 5,544,590 million jobs of Philippine business establishments. Microenterprises posted 1,663,382 jobs, small enterprises accounted for 1,314,065 jobs and medium enterprises posted 3,395,505 million jobs. More than half of Philippine exporters are MSMEs (60%). MSMEs also contribute 32% to the value added of the formal sector.

By sector, MSMEs are engaged in wholesale and retail trade (49.9%); manufacturing (14.7%), hotels and restaurants (12.3%); real estate and related business activities (5.9%); other community, social and personal services (5.7%) and others (11.5%).

In a 2006 Philippine survey on entrepreneurship conducted by Global Economic Monitor, Filipino women own 45 percent of business enterprises. Women are also more active in starting new businesses (69%) and running the business within the first 3.5 years (51%). Women own (34%) of established businesses.

For credit and capital, women turn to government financial institutions, rural banks, non-government agencies and microfinance institutions as major sources of microcredit or microfinance loans. From July 2004 to April 2008, a total of Php 93.75 billion had been released to finance the livelihood projects of 3.95 million active microfinance clients.

According to the People’s Credit and Finance Corporation, women comprise majority of new borrowers of microcredit. Of 570,210 new microfinance borrowers in 2007, about 92% (524,510) of are women.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development provides livelihood/capital assistance to poor families through the Self-Employment Assistance-Kaunlaran (SEA-K) Program. From April 2004 to September 2008, the SEA-K Program has assisted 103,112 families, including women and their families in the informal sector.

Other relevant articles:

Philippines SME Best Practices

SMED Development Plan

Empowering Women Via Business Education

Number of Women Entrepreneurs Increasing

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