The recent launch of SM Supermalls’ SM Start-Up Package has ignited new hope and inspiration for MSMEs in the country, most especially those affected by the pandemic and prolonged lockdowns.
Considered the backbone of the economy, MSMEs account for 99.5% of all enterprises and employ 63.2% of the labor force as of the end of 2018 per a 2020 Asian Development Bank (ADB) report. In SM alone, almost 70% of their partners are MSMEs, many of which were start-ups that found success in SM malls.
“We have a 60-year legacy with MSMEs. Our founder Mr. Henry Sy, or ‘Tatang’ as we fondly call him, started as one,” SM Supermalls President Steven Tan said. “In 1958, he opened his first shop, ShoeMart. From one store in Quiapo, SM now has 77 malls all across the Philippines—and we are still growing.”
Tan recounted that aside from perseverance, Mr. Sy had help from family and friends when he built and expanded his business. “Tatang did not forget the people who helped him become successful. He paid it forward and gave the same help to other start-up businesses, often personally inviting them to locate in SM. Their eventual success was his success,” he said.
This pay-it-forward practice and mindset live on through the SM Startup Package. The past year and a half proved especially challenging for MSMEs as many were forced to temporarily close and cut off staff during the height of the COVID-19 outbreak. Many from the workforce became resilient entrepreneurs who started their own online businesses to provide for their families.
With the SM Startup Package, MSME owners who have ongoing online businesses can register and will be given the support they need to set up their first physical store in one of 13 high-traffic SM malls nationwide. This includes perks like startup-friendly rental rates, free use of kiosks, access to financial assistance through BDO Net Bank, marketing assistance to give the brand free exposure in SM online assets and ad spaces inside the malls, as well as giving them a prime location within the mall.
The SM Startup Package also highlights the crucial role that MSMEs play in helping the country back to economic recovery. Last year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) recorded more than 920,000 new business name registrations where 532,000 accounted for retail sellers in sari-sari stores. This is followed by over 88,000 e-commerce sellers who opted for online platforms to reach out to customers amid lockdown restrictions.
DTI Asec. of Digital Philippines and E-Commerce Lead Jean Pacheco emphasized at the SM StartUp Press Briefing that while online selling can be effective, having on-ground channels are still an ideal way to fast-track an MSME’s growth. “We know that Filipinos like to browse and see items firsthand, and talk to sellers face-to-face when buying, so it’s important to have brick-and-mortar stores. An MSME should aim to be omnichannel, a combination of your physical store and your online platform, so you can reach more consumers.”
“I know that many are looking forward to setting up a physical store, but in need of help — the same help Tatang gave to entrepreneurs in his time. As our way of giving back, we would like to continue Mr. Henry Sy’s legacy of extending a hand to start-ups and making it easy to set up shop at our high-traffic malls. All you need is a great concept and the willingness to work hard to succeed.” Tan said.
Categories open for tenancy are Health and Wellness, Home Hobbies and At-Home Experiences, Smart Gadgets for Productivity, Functional Fashion, and Comfort Food.
To find out how to be part of the SM StartUp Markets nationwide, visit www.smsupermalls.com and follow the link to the Startup Package webpage, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @smsupermalls on all social media accounts to find out how to sign up now for the SM Startup Package.