“The focus of the incoming President is uplifting the poor and their quality of life through entrepreneurship. The priorities would be programs that help MSMEs (Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises),” these are the words of the new DTI Secretary, Mon Lopez, to the reporters during the Philippine Retailers’ Association’s event last June.
This provides a glimpse of hope to the small-scale business people and the young entrepreneurs in the Philippines.
Based on the 2014 figures of Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), there are 946,988 establishments in the country. The 99.6% (942,925) are micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and the remaining 0.4% (4,063) are large enterprises. Of the total number of MSMEs, 90.3% (851,756) are micro enterprises, 9.3% (87,283) are small enterprises, and 0.4% (3,886) are medium enterprises.
By definition, a business is categorized as MSMEs if it has 100 Million below worth of capital- three (3) million below for the micro enterprise; three million to fifteen million for the small-scale enterprise; fifteen million to one hundred million for the medium-sized enterprise.
The statistics evidently explains the need to empower MSMEs as well as the young blood entrepreneurs who would like to give life with their entrepreneurial dreams but are being hindered by the lack of capital. Start-up entrepreneurs usually give much effort in networking and thinking through all possible funding options for them to establish their platform for a stream of revenue.
Funding was also a major concern before Audrey Tangonan was able to successfully launch her own social business called the ‘Sinaya Cup,’ a reusable eco-friendly waterproof menstrual cup. Without any financial support from the other sectors, she worked with her own savings worth Php20,000 to light up her passion in empowering women and protecting the environment.
The 27-year old social entrepreneur deeply believes that these menstrual cups are long-term solutions to the waste generated from using disposable plastic napkins. Part of their program is the ‘buy-one-give-one’ campaign wherein for each cup sold, a Sinaya Cup will be donated to a woman in an underprivileged rural community where there is limited access to menstrual hygiene products. This helps the women in those communities to increase their participation in economic activities and for the school girls to increase their class attendance while they are going through their menstrual cycles.
Tangonan is a living proof of a typical Millenial (born between 1980 to 2000) who is driven with instincts of ownership, accountability, innovation, and positive impact. Millenials always want to create a positive legacy in the communities around them, according to a study done by Deloitte in 2013. It is no surprise that there are lots of idealistic young entrepreneurs emerging in our nation nowadays.
But the same questions remain for the aspiring ones. How the government can empower and address this social trend? How can a young entrepreneur make his/her passion and business ideas happen in the midst of reality of fund constraints?
President Duterte uttered a promised in front of the business leaders at the Makati Business Club when he started campaigning for Presidency that he would allocate P1 billion for each region annually to fund MSMEs. Duterte noted that small businesses, probably including the young entrepreneurs, are forced to avail of loans from the loan sharks because there is no institutionalized government agency that offers this kind of assistance.
However, this government support must be backed-up with the ‘know-hows’ training. Duterte told in a forum organized by Go Negosyo before the election, “[If I’ll be elected as the next president,] I will put a sizeable amount in the trade department to help MSMEs. It could be billions of pesos. But before you release the money, they (entrepreneurs) have to be educated to be sure that the money isn’t wasted.”
Venchito Tampon, a 22 year-old CEO of his own company, highly believes in President Duterte’s principle.
Tampon was ignited to put up his own business when he first realized during his childhood life that being an entrepreneur is a way to escape their family’s financial challenges. His father, who used to be a jeepney driver, always encouraged them to broaden their potentials other than being a public utility driver. Since then, he was forced to learn how to be tedious when it comes to his finances (budgeting, income generating, and cash flow monitoring) that later on became his advantage in growing his own business. Now, his business has 12 regular employees providing digital marketing services, particularly with the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to different companies in US, Australia, Europe, and the Philippines.
Whether or not the government supports the young ones and small businesses for their expansion, young leaders in the business sector are still positive to contribute to the growth of our nation through all possible means.
Tampon noted, ‘On a global-level, we push ourselves to compete over other international companies that offer similar services – this will help build the reputation and credibility of our country in terms of global digital marketing.’
Beatrice Tesoro, the 28-year old CEO of Certified Positive Planner, also emphasized her part in the nation building despite of the corruption in the government agencies. She said, ’We pay our taxes right and declare our profit and expenses in detail despite and inspite of the means and ways to do the opposite. There is a need to stop the corruption starting from the roots up. If we would be a part of change, we need to consciously decide to start the change from ourselves for the better of the nation and to set a good example for other starting entrepreneurs. We dare plant good seeds in the storm because we know that our God is in full control as we honor our leaders.’
Tesoro was 25 years old when she founded the Certified Positive, a company that envisions everyone to have a personal relationship with Christ and enhance their spiritual life through the planner and other self-published products.
If these young entrepreneurs would dominate the Philippines, what will happen to the country? Are the promises for the MSMEs really coming? Will the young business people become prosperous in the next 6 years?
With all of these, as a young entrepreneur, I note: we are hopeful.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Marlon Molmisa is a motivational speaker, author, social entrepreneur, and the digital marketing manager of the Trade In Magazine Online.