Entrepreneurship is alive and well in the Philippines, with micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) growing by the day as more Filipinos engage in the activity.
According to data from the Department of Trade and Industry, there were 911,768 MSMEs operating in 2016, accounting for 99.57% of all registered businesses. This figure was 1.7% higher than in 2015, when 896,839 MSMEs were recorded and constituted 99.5% of all commercial establishments.
Likewise, a 2017 survey of 106 chief executive officers and founders of start-ups by Isla Lipana & Co. (PricewaterhouseCoopers Philippines), QBO Innovation Hub and IdeaSpace Foundation Inc., noted that more start-ups were being established in recent years. More than half of the respondents opened their ventures between 2016 and 2017.
The road to entrepreneurship
According to an earlier survey of more than 2,500 adults by the members of the Philippine GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) National Team, necessity is what drives majority of entrepreneurs amidst few available job opportunities. Entrepreneurship, the survey pointed out, is seen by society as a reliable means of improving one’s lot.
Necessity alone is not enough, though. A key ingredient for entrepreneurial success is passion – passion to make a difference, passion to make the world a better place, passion to change the world. The findings of a 2011 study published in the Emerald Insight strongly suggest that the grounds for a globally successful creative venture require the passion of at least one inventor entrepreneur.
That passion can be so intense that salaried employees choose to quit their day jobs. Those who can’t afford to do so try a different tack – they transform their passion into a sideline, preserving the security of salaried employment and the joy of doing what they love.
But the road to entrepreneurship – as anyone who has dived into it can attest – is paved with daunting hindrances that prompt aspiring business owners to shelve the idea or entirely abandon the plan altogether . The two aforementioned studies drew attention to what is perhaps the most daunting of them all – money.
An overwhelming majority of the start-up executives polled by Isla Lipana identified capital as the top challenge that they had to address when they were starting their businesses. One of the two top barriers to entrepreneurship among the youth, the GEM survey noted, is access to funds. (The other is lack of business skills.) Experts who were separately polled cited lack of financial support allowing access to capital as the leading obstacle to getting into entrepreneurship.
Seeking financial help
Using one’s personal savings is a common practice among the newbies to the field. Others also seek financial support from family and friends. But more often than not, these sources are barely enough. This is where banks come in. They offer very useful loans that budding entrepreneurs can tap into with ease.
For instance, one of the most prominent banks in the country, Citi Philippines has made taking out personal loans a breeze. Loan approval can be processed in as fast as 24 hours, provided that the borrower submits the few required documents, including the filled-out application form, a pay slip or an income tax return, and a valid government-issued ID. It is important to mention that neither collateral nor a guarantor is necessary – things that, although critical in other transactions, may severely slow down the application process. The loanable amount is as high as P2 million, and paying the loan off can take one to five years.
To begin the process, one needs to fill out Citi’s online application form. The borrower will then receive a call from a sales officer to verify the application. Only after that will the borrower be asked to submit the documents.
Financial institutions like Citi are exactly what aspiring entrepreneurs need. The loans they provide remove the financial obstacle that can oftentimes feel too obstinate to overcome, allowing entrepreneurs to kick-start and grow their dream ventures.