By James A. Loyola
The Ayala Group (Ayala) is helping its 250,000 Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) stakeholders through ₱766 million worth of free services and business operations fees, including rent waivers.
In a statement, Ayala said it has launched the Ayala Enterprise Circle (AEC), a group-wide SME network that enhances the group’s ongoing initiatives to educate, connect, and enable SMEs.
This synergistic initiative is currently focused on helping its existing 250,000 SME partners continue their operations and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today’s times are certainly unprecedented and very challenging for enterprises of all sizes, much especially for our SMEs who have always been critical players in our country’s economy… We realized that now, more than ever, do we need to accelerate our efforts to proactively reach out to you,” said Ayala Corporation Chairman & CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.
He added that, “We envision the Ayala Enterprise Circle as a network where you, our valued SME partners, can have access to exclusive Ayala Group solutions and offerings, expert mentorship from industry leaders, online dialogues and master-classes, and business-matching and co-marketing opportunities.”
The group has been working since the onset of the pandemic to help meet SMEs’ critical needs, such as financial support, business continuity, and healthcare.
As of May 19, 2020, the Ayala group has helped ease the strain on its SME partners through ₱766 million worth of free services and business operations fees.
The latter includes, among others, rental condonations. Ayala Malls alone has waived ₱280 million covering over 2,400 of Ayala Malls’ SMEs in the last two months.
Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has encouraged its SME clients to take advantage of its Loan Reprieve Program (a loan payment deferment program) and waived interbank transfer fees to lighten client costs when transferring funds to other local banks.
Similar grace period programs were extended for qualified loan clients (for credit card, auto, personal, and home loans).
Ayala Malls and Zalora are exploring new retail and ecommerce models to give SME tenants an alternative digital channel, with the former serving as community pick-up points for digital purchases.
The Commission clarified that the cease and desist order against KAPA became permanent in March 2019 and, as such, remains in full force and effect. It added that the certificate of incorporation of KAPA was subsequently revoked in April 2019.