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SBCorp encourages MSMEs to go digital

SBCorp, a government-owned and controlled corporation, urges micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), urges micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to go digital in the ever-changing business landscape.

In the recent virtual webinar titled “The New Normal is Digital: Business Solutions for MSMEs,” SBCorp hoped to empower MSMEs with practical tools and valuable knowledge that will equip them not only in adapting to the new way of doing business.

SBCorp itself fully digitalized its loan processes shortly after the lockdown last year. As the financing arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), SBCorp saw the need to digitize its financial services to be able to serve its clients better, empower MSMEs, and address the gaps in access to finance.

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SBCorp had planned the digitalization of its financial services as early as 2019 and was able to implement it when the lockdown started. The digital process starts from the registration of the potential borrower, submission of documentary requirements and approval, up to the releasing of the loan.

To date, SBCorp has approved 32,823 loan applications from its CARES (COVID-19 Assistance to Restart Enterprises) program with a fully digitalized loan application system. These correspond to a total loan amount of PhP5.1 billion out of the PhP8.08 billion available for MSMEs, tourism businesses, cooperatives, hospitals, and repatriated or displaced Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) affected by COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital transformation

In the same forum, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez noted that as of September last year, around 73% of small businesses in the Philippines are in need of capacity-building initiatives or support in digitalizing their businesses.

A study conducted by DTI revealed that the Philippines is lagging behind its Asean neighbors in adopting digital transformation for their businesses. It noted that the Philippines is in “level zero” or a “level below basic” in the Asean categories of digitalization of businesses. ASEAN small businesses are under the Basic category when they use email and mobile devices in their businesses. The intermediate category is when they start selling online, while the Advanced category uses data analytics in their businesses.

DTI noted that given the statistics, it is working to innovate and implement programs under the E-Commerce Roadmap 2022 that can give MSMEs the capacity to rebuild by providing them with domestic and international market access, digitalization, and logistics integration.

Even through using their phones, MSMEs can put their businesses online by using social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram or create websites to promote and sell their products and process their transactions through hassle-free online payment channels such as online banking and fintech apps like GCash and PayMaya.