SERDEF’s 2012 research agenda geared to creating an enterprising society

January 25, 2012. The SERDEF’s function as a generator of new knowledge in the field of small enterprise and entrepreneurship development was highlighted at today’s “SERDEF 2012 Research Colloquium” held at the UP Institute for Small-Scale Industries.

As Chairman Francisco Floro observed in his welcome remarks, the SERDEF has started to harness more actively its resources not only for pursuing pioneering research initiatives but also for introducing systems and schemes for maintaining and mainstreaming the knowledge created.  Such undertakings “would ultimately help in fostering an enterprising Philippine society.”

One of the ongoing major research projects of the Foundation is “An Assessment of Product Strategies of Selected Micro and Small Entrepreneurs in the Philippines,”  began in October last year and expected to be completed this September.  The study will probe on the unique product development practices  and needs for assistance of micro and small entrepreneurs – so different from those of medium and large enterprises – given their size-related limitations in manpower, facilities, technology, manpower, and other resources.  At the same time the micros compose the majority of businesses, therefore rendering the study of potential benefit to an overwhelming number of entrepreneurs, not to mention entrepreneurship teachers, business service providers, and policy-makers.

The study also stands out for its ingenious methodology of reviewing, analyzing and extracting data from already published case and feature stories on innovative micro and small businesses, to be confirmed, updated and supplemented by “listening to the micros” sessions and because the book that will come of the research will be one of very few local materials published on the topic.

From the case reviews alone, reports Project Manager Malou Lopez, a number of interesting insights has been gathered, including:  the ease of switching from one business or product to another;  opportunities arising from using scrap as raw materials; use of very simple but ingenious and workable innovations;  and successful use of highly-niched marketing.

Another ongoing research study presented during the forum was “Channeling Remittances for Enterprise Development” (CRED), a project that came out of an earlier project on “Channeling Remittances for Development: A Study Towards Creating Model Mechanisms.”

As explained by Project Director Nida Lavador, the first study’s output were model mechanisms directing OFW remittances to more productive and sustainable use for the benefit of the migrant workers themselves, using the value chain approach.  It also identified what enterprise clusters to support in which provinces of the country. The second, ongoing study is now laying in place the entrepreneurship advocacy campaigns, enterprise training programs, capacity-building of service providers, and other mechanisms needed  to implement the model schemes in the identified sectors and areas: abaca, rubber, muscovado, rice and livestock industries in Agusan del Sur, Antique, and Masbate, respectively.

Expected to benefit from the projects are OFWs and their families and other stakeholders like micro-finance institutions, LGUs, and communities.

Both studies were commissioned to SERDEF by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) under the UN-MDG Fund.

Research and Information Committee Chairman Herminia R. Fajardo briefed the forum on other research and information projects of the committee.

In the proposal-finalization stage are a module-writing project on improving the teaching proficiency of entrepreneurship faculty at the college level, a study on building an enterprising society by teaching entrepreneurship values and concepts at the pre-school level, and a workshop on research-proposal preparation for members of the ENEDA, an association of entrepreneurship teachers.

In the conceptualization stage is a baseline study of micro, small and medium enterprises and an impact study of micro-credit programs.

SERDEF Trustee Yolanda de la Cruz also delivered an inspirational talk on “Developing a Culture of Ethics and Integrity.”  Integrity, she said, is not just doing the right thing but allowing the person you are inside to match your outside behaviour.  The greatness of a leader lies in his abiity to influence and draw out the skills and potentials of the people they are leading by example, she emphasized.

Executive Director Nestor Raneses who emceed the program remarked on the goal of the University of the Philippines Diliman to be a source of solutions focusing initially on solving the problems within the campus and eventually to be a “great research university in the 21st century.”  SERDEF seems headed in the same direction, he observed.

For his part, President Paterno V. Viloria exhorted the SERDEF and its partners to dream big and pray big in order to harvest the tree of enterprise which can only be planted by enterprising individuals, enterprising leaders, enterprising community, and enterprising institutions.