Earlier this year, the National Economic Development Authority launched the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-20284. Its subchapter 2.2 delves on improving education and lifelong learning. It calls on the provision of high-quality lifelong learning opportunities that will develop adequate competencies and character qualities of Filipino learners which will allow them to thrive in society and the world of work.
Anent to this, CHED produced its Strategic Plan for 2023-2028 with bases from Ambisyon Natin 2040: Matatag, Maginhawa at Panatag na Buhay, the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nation, and the Roadmap on the ASEAN Higher Education Space 2025. CHED’s strategic plan is composed of five (5) Key Result Areas (KRA) namely: Access and Success; Quality and Excellence; Internationalization; Social Responsibility; and Enabling Environment.
KRA 1 of the CHED Strategic Plan 2023-2028 is on Access and Success. As defined, equitable and inclusive access and success pertain to providing fair opportunities to disadvantaged or marginalized groups to enroll, stay, and complete higher education, and get employed or become entrepreneurs after graduation. Additionally, KRA 4 of the CHED Strategic Plan 2023-2028 is on Social Responsibility. As defined, social responsibility is the cultivation of the bayanihan spirit among students and staff to make a difference in the social wellbeing of their communities and attainment of the SDGs through teaching, research, and outreach.
These provisions were considered when crafting the Project MARITES or Mobilizing Available Resources through Inclusive Training on Entrepreneurship of Student-Grantees. Through this project, the CHED-UniFAST CAR yearns for the improvement of lives of the target beneficiaries. Given the appropriate training on entrepreneurship, these beneficiaries will develop their skills and knowledge in order to start or sustain their small business initiatives. With this, they are given the means to cope with their challenging economical endeavors and help alleviate poverty in their families.
Project MARITES aims to assist the student-grantees in mobilizing their available resources through the provision of an inclusive training on entrepreneurship.
The Specific Objectives of the Project include the following:
1. To conduct trainings for the student-grantees specific on entrepreneurial mind-setting, financial literacy, and marketing; and,
2. To forge partnership with other agencies for the implementation of the project.
On May 17, 2022, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed among CHED-UniFAST CAR, the Department of Trade and Industry – CAR (DTI-CAR), and the six (6) State Universities or College (SUCs) in the Region for the implementation of the project. As stated on the MOA, DTI-CAR will absorb the trainees under the Project MARITES to their Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP) and will adapt the modules used in YEP.
YEP is a focused program under Republic Act No. 10679 otherwise known as the Youth Entrepreneurship Act which mandates the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development Council (MSMEDC) through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). It aims to address the young demographics of the country to become productive individuals through entrepreneurship. Further, it seeks to help young Filipinos develop their entrepreneurial skills by offering them a comprehensive package of interventions.
There are three (3) major components of YEP namely: Youth Start, Youth Net, and Youth Match. The Youth Start component focuses on mindset change and models of business of the DTI 7Ms strategy. It aims to stir the entrepreneurial interest and encourage the youth to start their business ventures.
The first batch of the project was trained last July – October 2022. As agreed, each SUC endorsed 10 student-grantees for the training. They were profiled and interviewed as to their existing business, their entrepreneurship training experience, and their desire and eagerness to learn the concepts. There was a total of 60 trainees included to the YEP of DTI-CAR for the first batch of Project MARITES.
These 60 graduates of the First Batch of Project MARITES went through series of trainings to improve their entrepreneurial skills. They were equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills which they were able to apply to their start-up businesses. Some of them were even given starter kits which they have used in their business initiatives.