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We are glad to join the opening of the Social Business Summit 2013 at the GK Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan. This is a meaningful summit, the objectives of which transcend beyond regular business goals, and cover as well the other bottomlines on helping solve social issues and environment. What we call the triple bottomline.
During the opening program, I was given the chance to share my insights on how we can really promote more social enterprises and how they can really scale up to be more sustainable. My talk centered on the importance of a business idea and the business model that one would start, whether it is a social enterprise or a mainstream business. The danger to some social enterprise is the tendency to mainly focus on the social concerns while probably missing on the viability of the business model.
As an example, we have over 800,000 sari-sari stores today, and many of them have been and will remain sari sari stores for a long time unless there is a better idea in their business model that will enable them to grow bigger, say, to become a grocery or supermarket. Otherwise, their growth may not be in sight. It is competitive enough to fight it out among themselves in a particular street or area. More so when they are one day challenged by the big guys like SM, Puregold, Robinsons or 7-11.
These sari-sari store entrepreneurs are usually what we call survival entrepreneurs who are in it because they cannot get a job or it allows the wife the opportunity to work from home while attending to the children. So programs on training and mentorship, on how to manage their finances, how to have medium and long term business goals, how else to widen their revenue base would be very important. I stressed that successful entrepreneurs and the 600 entrepreneurs in the Go Negosyo community should help in mentoring their own value chain. I know that a Puregold program like Aling Puring promotes partnership with sari-sari stores to help them grow their business, which translates to bigger business as well for Puregold. Our solution to poverty rests on big businesses helping micro and small to move up beyond just a survival entrepreneur.
Tony Meloto has joined the cause from just helping provide a shelter to now helping people start their own negosyo thru social entrepreneurship. Small steps but as we get more organizations to come out and help, we definitely will bring down in time the level of poverty in the country.
Another social entrepreneur, Jim Ayala, spoke on the overall framework of a social enterprise and how its vital role can effectively be between the big companies and the poorer communities or small cooperatives that will be organized into a production unit.
The summit provides a lot of social business ideas and models that can work in the Philippines and we encourage everyone to go to the Enchanted Farm where they assist and incubate start-up social enterprises. This event will run until October 5. I am extending my sincere congratulations to Tony, Senator Bam and the rest of the organizing team for initiating once again an innovative approach to helping solve poverty in the country.
Speaking of Sen. Bam, it is also good to recognize how his Senate Committee on Trade, Industry and Entrepreneurship is trying to do its share in improving the business climate, especially as it pertains to the ease of doing business, a common issue cropping out in many business sector fora. We always hear complaints on how difficult it is to open up a business, or how many days do we have to wait just to get permits, or clearances.
The Senate committee chaired by Sen. Bam has been holding hearings and consultations among many government and private sectors reps on how we can all improve the situation. We were able to join the first consultative meeting in the Senate and present how we can help grow the micro SMEs. A good assessment from National Competitive Council (NCC) was given by Bill Luz who has been working on this project with the help of many agencies and LGUs, all with the objective of improving the state of our countryâ€™s competitiveness when it comes to doing business that will eventually encourage more investments and help many start-up micro small medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Based on the latest 2013 NCC study on the Ease of Doing Business the Philippines ranks 138th out of the 185 countries in terms of the ease in doing business. It slightly worsened from the 2012 ranking of 136th out of 183 countries. Of the nine ASEAN countries, we ranked only 8th, ahead only of Laos. Our neighbor Singapore ranks No. 1 in the Asia and even in the world! Malaysia is rank 12 and Thailand 18. Quite inspiring rankings from our neighbors. But how are they able to do that? What do we have to do?
Looking at the study further, it revealed different aspects of doing business and where we need to improve, such as in starting a business, in dealing with construction permits, in getting credit, in paying taxes, in protecting investors, in registering property, in enforcing contracts and so on. We need to make it convenient in doing business, say in cutting the number of steps and number of days in processing certain applications. For instance, our government agencies used to require 16 steps and it takes a total of 36 days to start a business. The next target is to bring this down to 11 steps being done for 11 days only. Several laudable measures have been made by the SEC, DTI and BIR to cut certain steps and processes. Special green lanes have been set-up to fast track applications. Forms have been unified and the study cited drastic streamlining done in the City of Mactan and Quezon City LGUs, as the efforts were championed by their local leaders. Mayor Herbert Bautista of QC attended the hearing as his city was cited as one of those with best practices in cutting the processes.
I know it will take us some time to get to the ideal one-step and one-day processing done in Singapore because big changes on this matter do not happen overnight, but as long as we are in the right direction and groups in the government and private sector are championing this, we know we will get there, sooner than later. There is hope.
More Negosyo activities happening. We will join one of our key partners, the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc. (AFFI) in the opening tomorrow of their 12th Annual Filipino Franchise Show. This is considered the countryâ€™s biggest and only exhibition of homegrown franchises. This will be held on October 4-6, 2013 at the World Trade Center, Pasay City. We are inviting everyone to visit the show with more than 300 exhibitors, from which you may find your next negosyo.