The pandemic has ended and started many Filipino-owned businesses.
According to a 2020 Asian Development Bank study of 1,804 Philippine MSMEs (micro, small, medium enterprises), 70.6 percent were forced to temporarily close during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Despite the odds created by the changes in the landscape, the enterprising Filipino found many opportunities online, with the Department of Trade and Industry recording over 88,000 new e-commerce registrations at the end of 2020. This figure is projected to be a million by 2022 (from 500,000 in 2020).
SM Supermalls understands the potential of Filipinos to be successful business owners, owing to the story of its late founder, Henry Sy.
Sy, fondly called “Tatang” in SM, started out as a small business owner with his first footwear shop ShoeMart. Because of its humble beginning, inspiring small businesses has been in SM’s DNA.
On Oct. 15, not coincidentally Tatang’s birthday, SM launched The SM StartUp Package, which aims to provide small online businesses the valuable support they need so they can set up their shop in an SM mall. It is available to the first 100 digital-based MSME owners who currently don’t have any physical store.
The package offers start-up friendly rental rates and use of kiosks or carts free of charge; free brand exposure on SM online assets and ad spaces inside malls; financial assistance from BDO; and mentorship from SM’s operations and marketing experts.
The StartUp Markets, as they will be called, will be situated in prime mall locations within 13 regional and premier malls in major cities: SM North Edsa, SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Southmall, SM Pampanga, SM Clark, SM Grand Central, SM Sta. Rosa, SM City Cebu, SM Iloilo, SM Bacolod, SM CDO Downtown Premier, and SM Lanang Premier.
“We created The SM StartUp Package because we saw how Filipinos persevered in the past year,” said SM Supermalls president Steven T. Tan.
Tan continued, “Many MSMEs did not let the pandemic stop them from providing good service and products – even from their own homes. We want to give them a chance to further grow their businesses and brands, and enable them to start their own SM shops which they can one day grow into business empires, just like our founder did.”
Following in ‘Tatang’s’ footsteps
After arriving in the Philippines at just 12 years old from China, Henry Sy helped sell products in his father’s retail store. With enough money saved, he opened his first business in 1958: a footwear shop called ShoeMart, which would later become the foundation for today’s 77 SM Supermalls.
The success of the mall didn’t come without challenges. A notable one was when Sy opened SM Megamall along Edsa in 1985, a turbulent time in the Philippines. Instead of letting the political and economic climate discourage him, he worked harder to overcome the crisis. This disposition would carry over in the next few decades and inspire a new generation of MSME owners to look for opportunities even in adversity.
This is evident in the stories of entrepreneurs like Chizmozza founder Hannah Ramos, who sold her mozzarella sticks online before opening her food cart at SM, Ian Darcy, who started his namesake fragrance brand after being forced to resign from his marketing job; and Oishii Maki chef Randy Molina, who started a sushi and maki business at SM after working overseas as chef in 5-star hotels.
“I took a chance to grow Chizmozza from an online store to having one humble food cart in SM North Edsa back in 2016. Now Chizmozza has 21 SM branches,” shared Ramos. “They saw the potential of our unique cheese products and through our mutual hard work and perseverance, we grew, even through the pandemic.”
Joining Tan at the virtual launch of SM StartUp Package were Nina Ellaine Dizon-Cabrera of Colourette, Patty Ang of Patton, and Jerald Sze of 365 Designs Retailing who talked about how their businesses began online and how they successfully grew them at SM Supermalls.
Other notable guests during the launch included DTI assistant secretary Jean Pacheco and the SM Super Team, composed of BDO Network Bank’s senior vice president and MSME business head Karen Cua, BDO first vice president of merchant partnerships and retail sales head Bob Tolentino, SM Supermalls vice president of corporate marketing Grace F. Magno, and assistant vice president for leasing strategy and operations Gina T. Katigbak, who discussed the details of the SM StartUp Package.
More information about the package is available at www.smsupermalls.com.
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