917Ventures, a venture builder in the Philippines, has established six startups dedicated to supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in their digital
transformation efforts, from securing funding and upskilling to expanding their customer reach.
917Ventures said in a statement on Wednesday that this includes initiatives that promote the reskilling and upskilling of MSMEs to participate in the digital economy and promote business sustainability and competitiveness in the long term.
According to the statement, the firm is taking a leading role in the effort of offering comprehensive support to MSMEs by providing capital access through FundSpace, upskilling them through KodeGo and MemoApp, helping them get started online with RUSH, and broadening their audience with innovative messaging and data solutions such as m360 and Inquiro.
It noted that there are over 71 million MSMEs across Southeast Asia (SEA), comprising 99 percent of all total businesses in the region and contributing 85 percent to employment and 44.8 percent to gross domestic product (GDP).
As SEA advances towards a $200 billion digital economy, it said the region underscores the importance of digitalizing its MSMEs to fortify the foundation of the ASEAN digital economy.
917Ventures also understands the crucial role MSMEs play in the region’s growth.
The firm also supports MSMEs by providing them with the tools they need at every stage of their journey so they can become digital-first businesses and ensure that they achieve long-term success and sustainability.
“One of the most important things we learned in the past few years–and especially for MSMEs is the importance of digitalization,
“It not only helps businesses keep up with the times but also ensures that they’re growing at pace with the digital economy,” said Natasha Bautista, 917Ventures’ Head of Growth and Programs.
To fully harness the opportunities presented by the digital economy, she sees the need to amplify digitalization in the region.
She said that 917Ventures believes there is still a lot of room for growth and there is still a lot of work to do.
In fact, she noted data show that the Philippines’ digital economy currently accounts for just 9.4 percent of its gross domestic product, while Vietnam stands at 14.26 percent, and Malaysia at 14 percent.
“Whether it’s providing them with initial capital, helping them get started online, or guiding their expansion to reach a wider audience, our comprehensive suite of solutions provides them with end-to-end support to take them where they want to go,” she said.
“We hope to expand our solutions to the 1 million MSMEs in the Philippines and help them with digitally transforming their businesses,” she added.
According to the statement, FundSpace is a loan platform that offers a suite of financing options that cater to every business’s needs.
On FundSpace, businesses of all sizes can take a loan for amounts as little as Php 50,000 ($880) to Php 100 million ($1.76 million).
“Securing capital is often one of the biggest hurdles to starting a business, which is why we created FundSpace – an easy and convenient platform where businesses can get the funds they need at low and flexible interest rates,
“Through FundSpace, they get cash quickly with its processing time that’s 12 times faster and disbursement that is eight times quicker than usual methods,” Bautista explained.
Meanwhile, Enter KodeGo equips businesses with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in a digital world.
Beyond traditional coding, KodeGo offers a wide array of digital courses that are indispensable for businesses looking to scale and optimize their processes.
To streamlining processes, MemoApp digitizes previously manual and paper-based processes to make them more intuitive, accessible, and efficient.
With its swift workflow approval system, integrated e-signature feature, and easy access to fundamental document templates, MemoApp simplifies how businesses manage their operations.
Meanwhile, RUSH is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that takes care of the entire purchase process – from discovery to delivery – empowering merchants to easily launch, manage, and scale their online stores.
The platform enables merchants to create their e-commerce platform, their mobile app, and access to the GCash GLife Marketplace.
It also offers an end-to-end loyalty management platform so businesses can continue to delight their customers by creating relevant and rewarding experiences.
To strategically connect with their target audience and guide them toward the point of purchase, companies can harness the power of m360’s innovative multi-platform messaging solutions.
These comprehensive tools empower businesses to effectively inform and engage their customers through a seamless blend of SMS and social media channels.
As for Inquiro, its data-driven solutions offer a suite of services designed to provide deep insights into the current customer base and the target audience.
The platform’s solutions empower businesses to not only comprehend their existing customer demographics but also unearth untapped opportunities by identifying potential audiences beyond their current reach.
Inquiro also offers credibility scoring that helps businesses assess the risk profile of customers by automating credit-related decision-making.