MANILA - Sen. Lito Lapid has filed a bill seeking to create a public business school, saying the Philippines needs an educational institution dedicated for entrepreneurship as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) "have been considered as the backbone of the country's economy."
Lapid's Senate Bill No. 2205 creates the Philippine Entrepreneurs Academy, which will will offer "undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as short-term, technical-vocational, non-degree courses and modular training that will enhance the core competencies of individuals on entrepreneurship."
"It is but evident how significant the role of these MSMEs is in our economy yet our country does not fully invest on these and capitalize on the potential of the same for economic growth," he said in the bill's explanatory note.
"This bill aims to address such gap by establishing a learning institution to be known as the Philippine Entrepreneurs Academy," he said.
Under the proposal, the institution will be under the supervision of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and shall "formalize and integrate under a school system" courses offered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Science and Technology, and other government agencies.
The main campus will be at the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone, while another branch will be established in Baguio City, according to the measure.
"It seeks to enhance the core competencies of individuals on entrepreneurship and promote the relevance of entrepreneurship to job generation and sustainable economic growth," the senator said.
In 2019, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that MSMEs comprise of 99.5 percent of the 1 million businesses in the Philippines.
These small businesses - which range from village sari-sari stores to food kiosks in malls - generated some 551 million or 62.4 percent of the country’s total employment, data from the PSA showed.
The sector was among those heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
An estimated 90,000 businesses, mostly MSMEs remained closed as of September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Small Business Corp (SB Corp), a government agency tasked to help ailing small businesses.