February 2, 2023

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Exec: SM is still the “big brother” of small and medium-sized businesses

SM Group said it will continue to work with micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), especially during difficult times, to sustain and support their growth.

“As we expand, we look to see how it brings meaningful support to communities,” said Frederic C. DyBuncio, President and Chief Executive Officer of SM Investments Corp.

These MSMEs account for 99.5 percent of all economic enterprises in the Philippines and generate over 5.3 million jobs, or 62.7 percent of the country’s total employment.

Despite economic and geopolitical headwinds, SM said it is keen to drive growth and expansion over the next year to provide critical support to the economy that will reach more communities.

SM focuses more on provincial areas where the local economy is growing faster. Over 80 percent of SM’s new retail stores are in provincial areas, which receive a significant portion of the growing foreign remittances.

“We will continue to invest in growth as we continue to see more communities needing access to diverse goods and services,” DyBuncio said.

SM acts as a marketplace for over 90,000 MSME partners, playing the role of big brother and helping them navigate mainstream retail. SM’s retail stores serve as platforms to offer their products, improve their entrepreneurial skills and grow their business. SM also provides support through marketing consulting, financial access, and promotion and advertising.

During the pandemic, SM waived rental fees to support business continuity of MSME partners. SM Supermalls’ Start-Up Market program in high-traffic malls also helps budding online entrepreneurs set up kiosks in SM malls without the burden of rental fees and construction costs.

Through the Farmers’ Produce Markets, a joint venture between 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 provided restaurateurs with access to fresh vegetables, especially during the pandemic disruptions in the supply chain.

Through the BDO Network Bank, SM provided MSMEs and beneficiaries of Filipino workers abroad with key access to business finance. The MSME Kabuhayan Loan is designed to help small business owners who need additional financing to increase inventory, purchase office equipment and assets, or pursue expansion plans.

As the pandemic displaces the livelihoods of many Filipinos, some have turned to social entrepreneurs, selling products online. 2GO Express, part of SM’s logistics business, provided them with crucial support through solutions that connected sellers and buyers through pickup and delivery services in 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 says it offers an affordable pick-up and delivery service – a key support component for the MSME sector. PinaSpeed ​​offered online pickup and delivery service to micro-businesses in Metro Manila, Rizal, and Cavite, and soon other areas.