The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has 50 free slots available for its 2020 Kapatid Mentor Micro Enterprise (KMME) free online business mentorship on small and microenterprise businesses.

Officer-in-charge provincial director Hazel Salvador said Thursday the 50 slots available this year is an increase from the 20 slots that they are offering since 2017.

Salvador said that it is the first time that the DTI will hold the KMME online due to restrictions in mass gatherings to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

“Ngayong taon ay dinoble naming, hopefully ay maka-50 kami targeted na microenterprises na maka-graduate at matapos nila ‘yong buong session ng KMME. Fifty siya sa Palawan, dito lang sa Palawan ginawang 50, sa ibang provinces ng MIMAROPA ay tag-20 lang,” Salvador said.

“Ngayon lang siya ginawang online dahil sa COVID pandemic, actual siya na seminar na kina-conduct natin dito mismo sa province and we invite yong ating mga tinatawag na mentor from Manila. Malaking adjustment ito, this is the first time na gagamitin natin ang webinar, ang challenge natin dito sa Palawan at doon sa ibang provinces ay ‘yong internet connection,” she added.

One of the strategies that DTI Palawan is considering is the conduct of the online mentorship in one particular area that has a good internet connection to ensure stability for the participants.

The local department will provide 10 modules for the participants with mentorship classes that will be conducted every Tuesday and Thursday of the week. The mentorship will start on August 4 and expected to run until the month of October.

DTI said that the mentee-applicants must qualify for their given criteria to be enrolled in the free online mentorship program.

The applicant must be at least 18-years-old, a Filipino, and resident of the Philippines. He or she must be an owner, co-owner, or partner of the business that is registered with documentation. The business must be operating for at least a year. The applicant must have employees or manages a team and willing to attend sessions on specified schedules.

The mentee must enter into a contract of commitment and has three references who can vouch for the business. The online mentee must have a laptop or mobile device, strong internet connectivity, and a headset. All must have their personal Facebook accounts.

“Yong mga kinukuha lang talaga namin ay ‘yong sigurado na tatapusin nila yong sessions kasi sab inga natin, it will take time, ilang modules ito, sampu from August to October. Kailangan talaga natin yong desidido siya, maliliit na negosyante na desidido tapusin yong course hindi ‘yong sa umpisa lang excited um-attend,” she said.

Salvador said that some of the coverage of the department’s mentorship is product development, business model canvas, operations management, supply and value chain, and human resources.

She said that DTI Palawan has already scouted some of the potential mentees that would undergo their free business mentorship in the province and still welcome interested applicants that willing to finish the mentoring course until October.

“Kapag graduate ka ng KMME program ng DTI, all the other program na ino-offer ng DTI ay priority ka na agad. Doon pa lang, plus points na agad sa iyo ‘yon, kapag KMME graduate ka, automatic isasama ka na namin sa iba pa naming programa. Like tutulungan ka namin makakuha ng trademark, barcode, FDA kasi alam namin na pinagdaanan mo na ‘yong sampung courses na mahirap, ready ka na kumbaga,” she said.

KMME graduates will also be prioritized in DTI loan programs, she added.

As the mentoring program started in 2017, the budget allocation was about P400,000 to P500,000 which covers the assistance in accommodation, airfare, and food of mentors from Manila.

In 2020, Salvador said that there will be a reduction in expenses as they will use an online platform to conduct the mentorship and local mentors will participate to coach the mentees. But the DTI will dedicate some of the budgets to ensure the stability of internet connection through the mentorship.

“Itong mga maliliit na negosyante na desidido talaga na bumangon at ma-improve ang kanilang produkto at mga serbisyo, mag-enroll tayo sa programa ng DTI na tinatawag nating Kapatid Mentor Micro Enterprise (KMME) program,” she said.

Interested applicants may register to