Facing the economic distress that the entire country were facing as an effect of the Covid- pandemic, Gov. Gwen Garcia saw the need to help Cebuanos face the impact.
At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Gov. Gwen launched the Sugbo Negosyo program in September 2020. The intent was to assist small and micro-entrepreneurs who were badly hit by the pandemic.
The micro-enterprise assistance program envisioned to uplift the lives of Cebuanos by providing them an opportunity to start small businesses or re-establish their business operations that ceased due to pandemic.
A hundred million pesos was allocated for the program which was divided at five million pesos for the Board Members in the Province to be distributed to beneficiaries from their respective districts in a form of digital coupons instead of cash to ensure proper use of the financial assistance. Fifteen million was allocated to the Office of the Vice Governor as his coverage encompassed constituents from the entire Province.
For its first year, 8,250 recipients received the assistance after passing through a grueling elimination process. The Department of Trade and Industry and the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry became partners in the program and assisted in the selection of beneficiaries and providing them with technical inputs.
The Province of Cebu also partnered with merchants to serve the beneficiaries with materials and supplies specific to their entrepreneurial pursuits.
The program served its purpose, which was to jumpstart the economic activity in the Province and boost the production of goods – including, among other, food products, handicrafts, and furniture. Cebuanos have shown their innovativeness, talent, and hardwork in coming up with unique products which were showcased at the Sugbo Negosyo Expo.
The Top 10 Sugbo Negosyo Champions were recognized and awarded for their excellence. These champions were selected based on the feedback of the buyers on the quality of their products, virtual merchandising, customer service, and business plan.
The success of the program prompted the governor to pursue the program up to this day.