TESDA, partners urge public to avail of iSTAR program

By Ma. Cristina Arayata

July 28, 2023, 8:50 pm Updated on July 31, 2023, 8:21 pm

<p>File photo</p>

File photo

MANILA – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and its private firm partners on Friday urged micro entrepreneurs and those who plan to put up a business to avail of the iSTAR program, which would help them upgrade and upskill.

Launched in late 2020, the iSTAR is an upgraded version of the Sari-Sari Store Training and Access Resources (STAR) program, providing men and women with free entrepreneurship training via blended learning.

Around 500 iSTAR graduates who might be interested in becoming entrepreneurs attended an event at TESDA on Friday to listen to TESDA industry partners about various features or programs they could avail of. The attendees were from the National Capital Region and nearby municipalities.

TESDA Deputy Director General Rosanna Urdaneta said Secretary Suharto Mangudadatu wants to implement the program in Mindanao to help the micro retailers.

"First in the Secretary's 10-point agenda is to reach out 42,000 barangays and provide them with livelihood training programs. Another one in the 10-point agenda is skills development through the Youth Entrepreneurship Program," she said.

Coca-Cola Public Affairs Director Cashmer Dirampaten noted that micro entrepreneurs are the backbone of the economy, representing 90 percent of the total establishments.

She also cited that micro entrepreneurs are Coca-Cola's key partners in delivering its products.

Darampaten said the iSTAR's blended format enables its accessibility across different locations as it provides training, access to peer mentoring, and access to resources.

Among the available online courses are 21st Century Skills, Construction, Electrical and Electronics, Process Food and Beverages, etc.

Data from TESDA showed that as of June 2023, there are 30,680 who completed iSTAR Module 4 "Ensuring Business Sustainability and Success" while 19,220 finished Module 5 "Basic e-Commerce".

Since the iSTAR's training facility's opening in March 2022 up to June 2023, a total of 1,390 graduated Business Coaching sessions at the TESDA Women's Center.

Meanwhile, another private firm partner, GCash operator Mynt, was also at the event to share how the e-wallet app's services can be maximized by sari-sari store owners, palengke vendors and even farmers.

GCash Vice President for Corporate Communications Gilda Maquilan said the firm has always been supportive of the micro, small and medium entrepreneurs, enabling financial access to 80 million users to date. (PNA)