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account_balanceMetro News account_circleMichael Lim chat_bubble_outline0 Comments

Packworks, a Filipino startup offering a business-to-business (B2B) FMCG marketplace for sari-sari stores, is partnering with 1Sari Financing Corporation to provide access to secure, reliable, and affordable inventory financing services to more than 270,000 unbanked sari-sari stores across the Philippines.

Under the partnership, sari-sari stores will be able to access a starting credit line amount of P2500 through 1Sari's inventory financing product, which will be available as an in-app service for Packworks' partner stores. Sari-sari stores can use the credit to purchase goods and bolster their inventory, ensuring they're well-stocked and ready for customer demands.

There will also be a prompt payment rebate scheme to promote good paying habits for borrowers. Stores can get a rebate of as much as 75 pesos if they pay their dues on time and in full, which they can use for their next availment of inventory financing.

Packworks Co-founder and Chief Platform Officer Hubert Yap sees the partnership as another step forward to tapping the immense potential of over 1.3 million sari-sari stores nationwide.

"By reaching the unbanked and underbanked, we're championing the entrepreneurial spirit that drives our nation forward. Our collaboration with 1Sari Financing Corporation ensures that even the smallest establishments have the tools and resources they need to thrive,” Yap said.

The partnership aims to address the lack of access to crucial financial tools and support for sari-sari stores. The World Bank has identified restricted financing access as one of the primary impediments to MSME growth and development. This is despite the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reporting that the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) make up 99% of all business enterprises in the Philippines and are responsible for 65% of the nation's employment.

The challenges stem from various factors. Stringent requirements from traditional financial institutions often categorize many MSMEs as high-risk borrowers. Given that many of these enterprises are either unbanked or underbanked, they find themselves excluded from vital loan capital.

Additionally, many MSMEs also lack knowledge about available financial services and how to access them. The lack of access to regulated credit and financing programs also forces them to operate strictly with the cash they have on hand, unable to get loans when they need them, which limits their growth potential.

Dindo Velasquez, the Co-founder and Chief Finance and Risk Officer of 1Sari, shares, "Collaborating with Packworks supercharges the expansion and funding of well-deserving, credit-worthy sari-sari stores. Through their cutting-edge tech platform, we gain the power to deliver inventory financing to previously underserved micro-enterprises with unparalleled efficiency, revolutionizing their financial prospects.”

The services are particularly timely as the Christmas season approaches, known to be the busiest time for businesses. By granting sari-sari stores the ability to tap into crucial financial resources, they can proactively stock up and prepare to meet the heightened demand for various items during this festive period. This not only ensures that they can meet customer needs but also harness the full potential of the season's commercial opportunities.

Rooted in advocacy, Packworks and 1Sari share a similar founding narrative. Packworks, founded in 2018 by Yap and co-founders Bing Tan and Ibba Bernardo, emerged from their drive to improve goods accessibility for remote sari-sari stores in far-flung places.

On the other hand, 1Sari started in May 2022 after Velasquez and co-founders John Madarang and Francis Eric Chao, who serve as the President and Chief Sari Officer, respectively, saw the integral role of sari-sari stores in local communities and realized their immense potential towards strengthening the grassroots retail sector. Madarang and Chao have been dealing with sari-sari stores for 26 years through 11 FTC Enterprises Inc., a company that helps FMCG companies install their signages and other marketing collaterals to sari-sari stores. In just over a year, 1Sari has since been transforming micro-financing for micro-enterprises, especially sari-sari stores, by turning these establishments into banked businesses through strategic partnerships.

In addition to its financial services, Packworks is also committed to promoting financial inclusion and empowering sari-sari stores through its partnership with social development organization Bayan Academy. Under the SariSkwela program, sari-sari stores can access learning modules on microentrepreneurship, further equipping them with the knowledge and skills needed to enhance their businesses.

Packworks' target is to reach 500,000 sari-sari stores in the next two years.

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