Google’s digital skilling program MSME Caravan has successfully trained more than 100,000 micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) owners and employees.

In partnership with several stakeholders including the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), MSME Caravan is a local Grow with Google program which aims to train small entrepreneurs on how to grow their businesses using digital tools such as Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) and Primer app alongside access to experts. The program started even before the pandemic and Google continued it through virtual events to help MSMEs acquire digital skills so they can pivot during a critical time.

“Google believes that digital adoption is critical for any business to succeed. When the pandemic hit, going online became an imperative so we strove to digitize as many small enterprises as possible. With the impact of MSME Caravan reaching more than a hundred thousand trainees, we’re deeply grateful to our partners including the Department of Trade and Industry who made this possible with us. We hope that this program will create a ripple effect and help more small business owners reap the benefits of our growing digital economy,” said Bernadette Nacario, Country Director of Google Philippines.

“MSMEs are the backbone of the Philippine economy and helping them thrive online is part of the mission of DTI. We’re glad to partner with Google and we hope that our joint digital upskilling program will continue to help and lead more MSMEs towards economic recovery,” said Ramon Lopez, Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Deepening local partnerships helped Google in reaching small business owners nationwide.

Google and DTI created an 8-week webinar series called MSME Caravan Mondays featuring modules related to digitizing businesses such as insighting, Ads101, analytics, eCommerce, and more.

Similarly, partnerships with telcos Converge and Globe allowed Google to curate digital workshops featuring Filipino entrepreneurs not only to discuss digital tools and negosyo tips, but to inspire and give them hope in navigating the uncertainties of the pandemic.

Among those who benefited from Google’s skilling program is Gerome Panlilio of Germano’s Chilli, a bottled chili garlic business.

Google MSME Caravan
Gerome Panlilio of Germano’s Chilli

When Gerome started in 2008, he struggled to create brand awareness with limited sales channels such as bazaars. After attending Google’s training workshops in 2018 and again in 2021, he was able to make use of Google Business Profile to put his business on both Google Search and Maps and bring customers directly to his online store.

“Through helpful tools such as Google Search and Maps, I was able to gain brand awareness that turned into more sales. The seminars also taught us how to adopt and pivot during the pandemic which allowed us to continue selling online,” said Gerome Panlilio.

From 2021 to 2022, Gerome’s online sales have grown by 90%.

Now, not only does Germano’s Chilli sell well locally through local supermarkets, he is now working on bringing his products to the U.S. through a major Filipino retail supermarket.

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“Going online has helped my business immensely. It also taught me how to create a resilient business model that is ready to address challenges like the pandemic,” Panlilio added.

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