SME assistance programs: TESDA’s STAR

sarisari store

A program of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Coca-Cola Philippines, the Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) was launched in 2012 to help women retailers start and grow in small sari-sari store businesses.

STAR’s goal is to  empower 200,000 women sari-sari store owners and operators all over the country by 2020 through skills training in managing their business.

“The  program is all about empowering women, redefining their roles from being mere household names into active participants in their respective businesses, which in turn contributes to the local economy,”  TESDA Director-General Joel Villanueva said.

At the core of the STAR program is training on gender and development, which is expected to enforce the country’s  status as among the top performers in the Asia-Pacific in terms  of gender equality.

“As we engage in skills training to hone our human capital, women will always be at the forefront, bearing greater roles in development,” Villanueva added.

The qualified women scholars under the STAR program  undergo free basic entrepreneurship and gender sensitivity training for four hours a week for 12 weeks. Training kits are also provided for free to all trainees which eventually will be used to enhance their capacity as entrepreneurs of their respective communities. After training, beneficiaries will have more opportunities to avail of soft loans from a cooperating micro finance institution, if they plan to increase capital to expand their business.

The STAR program was initially implemented in Manila, Pasay, Makati, Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Davao and was later expanded to include Cagayan, Tuguegarao, Bukidnon, Bohol, Aklan, Iloilo, Lanao del Norte, Albay, Batangas, and Baguio.

STAR also conducts training on data-base management for implementing staff of the program to provide them with the basics of handling, storing, and presenting information and data, which they can use in monitoring and evaluating the program and tracking the status of the beneficiaries.