Go Digital Asean Trains 17,114 Filipinos in 2021

Image credit: iStockphoto/Michael Edwards

Go Digital ASEAN, a regional initiative aimed at closing the digital gap for 200,000 micro, small, and medium business owners in Southeast Asia, completed training around 17,114 Filipino learners by December 2021.

The initiative is a collaboration between the 10 ASEAN member states, The Asia Foundation, and Google.org, with support from local governments and private sector partners.

Launched in the Philippines in 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program offered free online courses on digital marketing, e-commerce, financial literacy, and other life and business skills to help job seekers and MSMEs adapt to the new normal.

The program has enrolled over 17,114 Filipinos, capacitated 189 trainers, and supported 63 partner organizations from all over the country. The initiative has resulted in an active Facebook community of 5,200 members, composed of business owners, MSMEs, and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Go Digital ASEAN's local partners in the Philippines include Pailig Development Foundation, Clevergrit Web Services, and Yoveo Digital. It is designed to support the government's economic recovery efforts and priorities to lessen the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, particularly on MSMEs and jobseekers.

During the launch, Bernadette Nacario, country director, Google Philippines, said: “Small businesses are at the heart of the Philippines’ economy and community. We have seen how the current pandemic has impacted so many entrepreneurs and business owners across the country, and there is an urgent need to support their digitalization so they can continue to keep their businesses going. We are extremely proud to support the work that The Asia Foundation is driving through the Go Digital ASEAN program. This grant builds on our ongoing commitment to equip more individuals with skills training so they can participate in the country’s growing digital economy.”

Department of Trade and Industry Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise development director Jerry Clavesillas shared, "The Go Digital ASEAN complements the Department’s effort on digitalization of MSMEs envisioned in the Philippine MSME Development Plan 2017-2022. The project intends to reach more enterprises, particularly those in the countryside, including businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and equip them with digital skills and tools to recover and grow their businesses and livelihoods and participate in the digital economy."

The courses, delivered live online, were taken over two consecutive half-day sessions and included interactive discussions and hands-on exercises. All courses were free of charge.

Image credit: iStockphoto/Michael Edwards