Helping MSMEs outsmart COVID-19

Published October 20, 2020, 8:00 AM

by Ted Estacio

The impact of COVID-19 on the world economy cannot be taken for granted. Everyone from the most developed countries to the third world see the downtrend of their GDP, labor unemployment , exports and almost nil foreign direct investments, while most Medium, small and micro-enterprises (MSMEs) will be tight in their cash flow.

Trading will be slow and very selective. Many industries which do not see any light at the end of the tunnel will opt to close rather than be strapped in their ballooning negative bottom lines.

The MSMEs are actually the sector that could probably survive as most are engaged in support services, small producers, buy and sell and  the more easy to manage online business as people on lockdowns would rather turn to the Internet for shopping than go out and shop.  For instance, there will always be a demand for auto repairs, electricians, carinderias or small restaurants as contrasted to fine dining, appliance repairs, and food resellers. Selling brown top items like TVs, refrigerators, and the like will not be as lucrative as it was in the normal times as people would defer spending and save rather than buy new replacements.

Most MSMEs can go into trading and home deliveries with the help of On Line Platforms. For instance, I know of many MSMEs buying seasonal fruits and vegetables in bulk and retailing them through  online. Very popular in this category are mangos,  lanzones, pomelo, and even avocado. Or, they can focus on local delicacies a la street food, while some can focus on the many good tasting longanisa of the different regions – Lucban, Vigan, Alaminos, Cabanatuan, and Cebu. The other popular home based business is delivery of home-cooked food and frozen foods.

To the more adventurous, home delivery providers like Grab Food, Lalamove and Mr. Speedy can be replicated on a small scale. Tie up with a popular carinderia or restaurant in your place and offer your services for customers within your area.

The next question is how will the MSMEs finance these projects when they have very little capital to start a new business? Commercial banks will surely frown on these types of loans considering the current economic condition. Well aside from trying to source from government sponsored programs from Department and  Trade and Industry – Tulong sa Tao program, SSS – business and social lending program, or if you are a returning OFW , POEA has a lending program where you can borrow up to P10,000 more than enough to start your own small business.  You can also inquire about the services of ASA NGO Foundation where you can be a member in their branch near your locality and obtain the capital that you need for your chosen business.

Stop copying existing small businesses. We already have thousands in the Lechon Liempo/ Manok businesses, you find Pares in almost every corner and even Tapsilugan. Rather, start up entrepreneur should be able to recognize opportunities and make an assessment if they are the right business in these new normal.

And if you do not know exactly whether you will be successful in your decision to become a entrepreneur, do not be shy to consult Go Negosyo. They have very active business counsellors whom you can talk to and ask all the questions that you need to be answered.

So its not really a bleak tomorrow for MSMEs. Make time to recognize and assess the business for you and GO !

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