March 22, 2023

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), in partnership with Coca-Cola Philippines, conducted the mass graduation of 500 beneficiaries of the iSTAR Program, the upgraded version of their Sari-Sari Store Training and Access Resources (STAR) Program.

The said graduates are products of the TESDA Women’s Center for Excellence for the iSTAR Program after it was inaugurated in March 2022.

In his message, TESDA Director General Danilo P. Cruz congratulated the graduates and encouraged them to make use of the learnings they have gathered to drive economic growth and create job opportunities for others.

“Your micro-retail business is not only a source of income for you but also a valuable service to your community as you provide access to goods and services that contribute to the betterment of the quality of life.” DG Cruz said.

“Keep in mind that entrepreneurship is a journey, and there will always be new challenges to face. But as a successful graduate and entrepreneur, you have the skills, knowledge, and drive to overcome any obstacle that comes your way. Keep pushing forward and continue to make a positive impact in your community.” he added.

Since 2011, TESDA and Coca-Cola Philippines have been partners in providing entrepreneurial skills training to Filipino women. Over 250,000 micro-retailers from 2011 to 2020 in 81 provinces nationwide benefited from the STAR program, the predecessor of the iSTAR Program.

In December 2019, TESDA and Coca-Cola Philippines signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to elevate the entrepreneurship training program for micro-retailers into a blended digital learning platform, thus, the iSTAR Program.

The training consists of online, self-paced learning sessions and business coaching sessions developed by TESDA and Coca-Cola Philippines to help businesses that were badly hit by the pandemic.

The iSTAR Program has also been integrated into the TESDA Online Program (TOP). Currently, there are modules such as “Safe Stores Education,” “Building Business Mindset,” Planning the Business,” Managing Business Operations,” “Ensuring Business Sustainability and Success,” and “Access to Business Coaching, Resources, and Peer Mentoring.” (30)

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