As the provider of 63% of the country’s workforce, the essential role that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play in the national economy cannot be emphasized enough. Regrettably, though, their sector took a massive blow when extensive, rigid, and months-long community quarantine measures were imposed to prevent the quick spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Ayala Group, through Ayala Enterprise Circle (AEC) and Globe myBusiness, is committed to supporting SMEs during this unprecedented crisis by helping them cope with the disruptions brought about by the community quarantines.
“Across the Ayala Group, we have a renewed commitment to all of our partner SMEs who have been with us through so many years and have been gravely affected by the COVID-19 crisis. We want to assure them all that we, at the Ayala group, remain steadfast in our support, and we thank them for their continued trust in us. Through Ayala Enterprise Circle, we hope to forge even deeper partnerships with our SME network as we move forward together into the ‘New Normal,’” according to John Philip S. Orbeta, Ayala Corporation’s Chief Human Resource Officer and Group Head of Corporate Resources, who heads the AEC.
Globe myBusiness is helping SMEs thrive through various connectivity offerings to keep their businesses running from home, or to support their online operations with various business continuity solutions. The AEC, meanwhile, was recently launched to enhance the group’s ongoing initiatives to upskill, connect, and enable SMEs. This synergistic initiative is currently focused on helping its existing 250,000 Ayala SME partners continue their operations and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.
A collaborative partnership for SMEs
It is in line with this concerted effort to provide support to SMEs that Globe myBusiness has partnered with AEC to hold a free webinar, with the objective of having experts and featured entrepreneurs share with their fellow SME partners some valuable tips and best practices borne out of their own journeys in embracing technology and its positive impact to their respective businesses. These e-fora are open for all SME owners and suppliers. With limited available slots, registration is required.
Called Embracing Technology in the New Normal, the webinar was held on July 21, 2020. Panelists included prominent names in the SME industry such as Paco Magsaysay of Carmen’s Best, Dennis Ng of Mober, and Joe “Joemag” Magsaysay of Potato Corner. Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu graced the e-event to welcome the attendees and sit as a chief panel reactor.
The digital migration in the New Normal
Asked about the greatest challenge their business had to face, particularly during the height of the quarantines, Mr. Paco Magsaysay said that a big chunk of their customer base changed its buying habit as hotels, coffee shops and restaurants were mostly closed. Mr. Ng’s drivers were not allowed to go out and deliver as part of the IATF-imposed health and safety protocols, while Potato Corner experienced zero revenue since all their stores nationwide were closed.
CEO Ernest Cu noted that no business was spared from the ire of the invisible enemy. It was just a matter of severity but all companies, most especially the SMEs, were adversely affected. With the controlled mobility, various restrictive regulations, and disruption in the supply chain that the COVID-19 entailed, it was not surprising that most entrepreneurs could only see the problems. However, there were those that also saw –and seized — the opportunities that the crisis created. Those businesses were the ones that survived, and are even thriving, up to this day.
Asked how they were able to address the challenges, Carmen’s Best said it adopted e-commerce with Globe’s 917 ventures. It is also currently considering the employment of an online selling platform. Mober turned its “unbanked” drivers into “driverpreneurs” with the help of Globe’s vehicle tracker and G-Cash, while Potato Corner transformed its stores into micro logistics companies.
For his closing remarks, CEO Ernest Cu had these pieces of advice for the SME partners in attendance, “We should shift the consumers’ mindset and get more people used to electronic payment methods. We should also streamline our business’ processes and advocate automation because, the way I see it, this is now our new normal.”
For more information about Globe myBusiness, visit globe.com.ph/business/sme. To receive news on membership and priority invitations to Ayala Enterprise Circle webinars and promotions, please join the AEC mailing list at www.ayalaenterprisecircle.com.
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