PASAY CITY, Philippines, Dec. 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- SM is looking forward to working with communities especially during tough times to sustain and support growth and recovery.
As SM pursues expansion and growth, it contributes to increasing economic activity and growing business resilience that support hundreds of thousands of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). These MSMEs make up 99.5% total business enterprises in the Philippines and generate over 5.3 million jobs or 62.7% of the country's total employment.
"As we expand, we are mindful about how this brings meaningful support to communities," SM Investments Corporation President and Chief Executive Officer Frederic C. DyBuncio said.
SM acts as a marketplace to over 90,000 MSMEs partners, playing the big brother role and helping them navigate mainstream retailing. SM's retail stores serve as platforms to offer their products, master their entrepreneurial skills and grow their businesses. SM also provides holistic support through marketing advice, financial access as well as promotion and advertising.
During the pandemic, SM waived rental fees to support the business continuity of MSME partners. SM Supermalls' Start-Up Market program in high-traffic malls also helps budding online entrepreneurs to put up kiosks in SM malls without the burden of costly rental fees and construction costs.
Through the Farmers' Produce Markets, a joint project of SM Supermalls, the Department of Agriculture and Resto PH, an association of restaurants in the Philippines, SM helped bring local farmers closer to SM customers and allowed restaurateurs to access fresh vegetables especially during the pandemic disruptions to the supply chain that left farmers and local food establishments with very limited options where to sell their products.
Through BDO Network Bank, SM provided MSMEs and the beneficiaries of Overseas Filipinos with businesses key access to funds. The MSME Kabuhayan Loan is designed to assist small business owners in need of extra funding to increase their inventory of stocks, purchase business equipment and assets, or pursue expansion plans.
With the pandemic displacing the livelihood of many Filipinos, a number of them have become social entrepreneurs selling products online. 2GO Express, which is part of SM's logistics business, provided them crucial support through solutions that connected sellers and buyers through pickup and delivery services across the Philippines. The company also partnered with FedEx Express, allowing Filipinos to ship their products to various international locations.
Through Airspeed, its other logistics company, SM provided affordable and dependable pick-up and delivery service-a vital support component for the MSME sector. PinaSpeed offered online pick-up and delivery service to micro-businesses in NCR, Rizal, and Cavite and soon in other areas at very reasonable rates.
Despite economic and geopolitical headwinds, SM is keen on pursuing growth and expansion in 2023 to provide vital support to the economy that will reach more communities.
SM has been increasing its focus on provincial areas where local economies are growing faster Over 80 percent of SM's new retail stores are in provincial areas where a good chunk of growing overseas remittances flow into.
"We will continue to invest in growth as we are still seeing more communities that need access to various goods and services," Mr. DyBuncio said.