In a workshop held last October 26, members and officers of the Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation (SERDEF) reviewed the two year-road map it set out to follow at its last strategic planning workshop on January 6, took stock of the progress made, and examined relationships with closest partners UP ISSI, UP Diliman, and the UP System.
SERDEF’s vision to be a “world class international development organization” was found to be synchronized with that of UP, which is to create world-class innovative and practical technologies and UP Diliman’s plan to be a “great source of solutions.” SERDEF’s goal of providing leadership in the building of an enterprising culture and enhancing entrepreneurship capacities is reflected in the UP’s objective of addressing the problems of the country through, among others, livelihood opportunities and the UP Diliman’s mission to “make a difference in people’s lives.”
Among SERDEF’s priority areas scrutinized in terms of progress made were: the clarification of the SERDEF-UP ISSI partnership and individual roles; design and implementation of applied research, including impact of laws affecting mSME development; support of the UP ISSI’s e-learning program, and review of membership criteria.
In terms of the SERDEF-UP ISSI relationship, it was observed that while close collaboration has been sustained, the SERDEF has taken decisive steps to establish its own institutional identity with the creation of its own brand, the formulation of its own research and development agenda, and the launching of its own information dissemination program, including a SERDEF website.
SERDEF Executive Director Nestor Raneses, in his presentation, also remarked on the achievement of co-equal partnership between the two institutions, marked by respect for each other’s identities and directions while at the same time sharpening the synergy between them.
Director Raneses cited the strengthening of the offices of the SERDEF Executive Director as Chief Operating Officer, the President as Chief Executive Officer, and the Treasurer/Assistant Treasurer as Chief Financial Officer. He also observed a “big change” in the very active Board of Trustees, now organized into dynamic working committees.
Ms.Serenidad Lavador, SERDEF trustee and vice chair of the Research and Information Committee, reported progress in the SERDEF’s research program, including (a) a completed study on model schemes for re-chanelling OFW remittances to entrepreneurship activities; (b) an ongoing pilot-testing of the said model schemes in three provinces of the country; (c) an ongoing study on product strategies being adopted by micro and small enterprises; and (d) conceptualization of projects on manual-writing for improving entrepreneurship teaching competency at collegiate level; inculcation of entrepreneurship values at pre-school level; and impact evaluation of the mandatory allocation of funds to small businesses by financial institutions.
Director Raneses, who is also the Director of UP ISSI, reported an impressive array of ISSI activities — both ongoing and planned. Among these is the e-version of the Start Your Own Business course of the ISSI which he said has been partially completed and should be ready for implementation next year.
He was requested to identify which activities the SERDEF could serve as an authentic partner, apart from being a provider of funds.
On the review of SERDEF membership criteria, Ms. Arlene Liberal, SERDEF Trustee and Vice Chair of the Membership Committee revealed that membership criteria have been set up and that letters have been sent to prospective new members. Ms. Liberal revealed plans of the Committee to invite new members — both individual and institutional — to an orientation event tentatively set on November 12.
Reporting for the Resource Generation Committee, Ms. Sonia Tiong-Aquino, Trustee and Secretary of the Board, informed the group that six prominent individuals from the business community, have been identified to be partners in resource generation. She revealed plans to meet these individuals to apprise them of the SERDEF mission and goals and present them with specific projects which they may be interested to support.
In his opening statement, SERDEF President Paterno Viloria reminded the SERDEF officers and members of the Foundation’s long-term vision of creating an enterprising Philippine society, made up of “enterprising citizens, communities, agencies and organizations, schools, teachers and students.” “In 2026, the SERDEF golden anniversary should be celebrated with a golden harvest of the enterprising seeds we have been sowing,” he said.
Dr. Caesar Saloma, University of the Philippines Diliman Chancellor, for his part, apprised the group of what the Diliman Campus has achieved in terms of operational efficiency.
Facilitating the workshop was Dr. Amaryllis Torres, a retired professor of the UP College of Social Work and Community Development who used to work with the UP ISSI and SERDEF on entrepreneurship development training programs.