INCUBATION CENTER. A local entrepreneur displays her products in a pop-up event at the Robinsons Mall Ilocos in Laoag City in this undated photo. Soon, an incubation center for micro, small and medium enterprises will be established at the La Tabacalera Ilokano Lifestyle Center in Laoag City to showcase their products. (File photo by Leilanie Adriano)

LAOAG CITY – Startups in Ilocos Norte will now have a better chance to grow their business here and abroad with the help of an "incubation center” to promote genuine and quality local products.

With a grant of PHP4.3 million from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc announced Wednesday that Ilocos Norte will soon have its own co-working space that is equipped with Internet-ready computers, printers, and scanners, among others.

“We hope to finish this project by the end of this year,” Manotoc said as he lauded the efforts of the local government's Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Office (MSMEO) for securing additional funds from the NEDA for the Ilocos Norte MSME Incubation Center (IN-MIC).

In collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and the Department of Trade and Industry, MSMEO head Elma Gabriel said the IN-MIC is an innovation program of the provincial government to provide a co-working space, incubation support, and sharing of services to the growing MSMEs in the province.

MSMEs comprise about 99.51 percent of the local economy of the province.

“The project aims to engage local entrepreneurs to establish their innovative products to reach out to a wider market,” Gabriel said, adding that the provincial government had initially allotted PHP300,000 for the purchase of furniture and fixtures, equipment, and information and communication equipment.

Once operational, Gabriel said the IN-MIC on the second floor of the Tabacalera Ilokano Lifestyle Center will showcase products from Ilocos Norte.

Other support and services will also be provided to MSMEs including the provision of technical assistance, capability building, and entrepreneurial skills enhancement, among others.

“The incubation center will surely provide a big push to MSMEs in Ilocos Norte,” said Mildred Dacuycuy, operations manager of an agro-tourism company in Barangay Paayas, Burgos, Ilocos Norte. (PNA)