Message at the launch of the ILO - Women Biz trade fair

By Mr Khalid Hassan, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the launch of the ILO-Women Biz trade fair, 29 July 2022, Manila, Philippines

Statement | Manila, Philippines | 29 July 2022
  • Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Department of Trade and Industry
  • Ms Mylene Abiva, Chairperson, WomenBizPh
  • Ms Rosemarie Rafael, President, Women Bizph
  • Mr Joey Concepcion, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo Founder
  • Mr Steven Tan, President, SM Supermalls
  • Ms Liezel Dunuan, Women Strong Network Lead
  • Ms Ana Margarita-Hontiveros,Chief Reputation and Sustainability Officer, WomenBiz
  • Women entrepreneurs
  • Partners, guests, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga sa inyong lahat (good morning to all of you).
It is an honour to join you today for our first hybrid trade fair for women entrepreneurs with WomenBizPh.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had disproportionate impact on women-owned businesses. Most of them operate in sectors that have been badly hit, and with increased care burden, they need help for their businesses to survive and thrive.

The ILO, with the support of J.P. Morgan, launched in 2021, the Rebuilding Better: Fostering Business Resilience Post-COVID-19 Project.

The project aims to help women entrepreneurs in the National Capital Region and Cebu, recover from the pandemic, by adopting more sustainable and resilient business models, through strengthened access to vital support services in training, financing and market access.

As the country gears up for post-COVID recovery, we must support women entrepreneurs in adapting and shifting to the new challenges.

We can help by promoting their products and services in-person and online and connecting them with a network of women entrepreneurs.

This hybrid trade combines digital marketing learning sessions, an in-person trade fair, and an online fair to open new markets.

We congratulate our partner WomenBiz, in collaboration with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and its corporate partners for creating online and offline opportunities for our women entrepreneurs.

We need more women organizations like you mentoring and opening doors for women entrepreneurs.

We thank the new DTI Secretary Fred Pascual, for continued support to ILO’s work on entrepreneurship.

Through entrepreneurship, women gain access to livelihood opportunities and decent work, and become active contributors to sustainable development.

We must invest in women entrepreneurs to support post-pandemic recovery and help them expand beyond micro and small enterprises.

Supporting women entrepreneurship is a driving force to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), particularly on SDG 5 on gender equality, SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth, SDG 10 on reduced inequalities and SDG 17 on Partnerships for the Goals.

We must together step up to the challenge to support our women entrepreneurs during these challenging times.

The Decent Work Country Programme of the Philippines, in line with these SDGs, recognizes the need to increase the capacity of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in creating inclusive and sustainable employment.

It supports an enabling environment that promotes development and creation of sustainable and resilient enterprises.

Women entrepreneurs have a crucial role in building more resilient and sustainable enterprises. Strategic support for women entrepreneurs should be part of an inclusive, sustainable, resilient, human-centred recovery based on the ILO’s Global Call to Action.

We count on your support for the success of this fair. Together we can help women entrepreneurs thrive and build a better future of work that leaves no one behind.

Maraming salamat po
(Thank you very much).