New e-commerce platform Qarabao equips small business operators with enterprise-level tools.


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For many small business owners, running their business is more than just a source of livelihood. It’s a guarantee of a secure future, the extra income helping them build up their savings. And it’s also a source of hope, a vehicle to move up in life, not just for themselves, but for their community.

But grit and drive won’t get you far without the tools and business savvy to guide it. Various operational problems often cause unnecessary stress and lost profit for micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) owners.

Last June 27, Mike Tiongson launched Qarabao, a platform that, like its namesake, was designed to take the burden off of MSME operators.

Big features for small businesses

Two years ago, Mike Tiongson, CEO of Qarabao, was tasked with marketing an e-commerce chatbot towards MSMEs. He found that most MSMEs had little use for a chatbot, but were in dire need of a whole suite of other solutions.

So with Roy Nepomuceno, Chief Operating Officer, and Cookie Enriquez, Product and Business Development Manager, they developed Qarabao, a subscription-based ecommerce platform that provides solutions for everyday problems.


“[In our previous system], we weren’t able to track anymore how many orders there are, we committed to give a customer this product but we don’t have any stock of it left,” said Inah Villanueva, a business owner selling on Qarabao’s platform. “So the reaction of the customer when they find out, of course they’re dismayed… so it’s already lost sales.”

Qarabao’s standard plan offers multiple payment channel options (catering to unbanked customers and those located outside of Metro Manila), order and shipping management, and inventory tracking (which can send notifications for items about to run out of stock).

Other features include a customer relations management system and analytics reporting. “[These] are available in enterprise-level software, and we’re saying that no, even small businesses can make use of these features,” said Tiongson. “And turns out… [our sellers] did enjoy the fact that they had a picture of how [their] business performed’ when they see the reports, charts, and sales.”

Adding quality to life

Riding on the success of their initial offerings, development on additional features is underway for two more plans slated for release in the third quarter of the year.

The Plus plan will include a website, campaign management, and, yes, a chatbot. Upgrading further to the Premium plan gets you a point-of-sale system, essential to managing physical stores.

By empowering MSME owners through their businesses, Qarabao aims to take the weight off of small business owners’ shoulders, allowing them to forget the how’s and focus on the why’s behind their businesses — security and hope for themselves and their communities.