Pinoy entrepreneurs embrace digital transformation, over 8M micro-businesses set to join

By Alithea De Jesus, The Philippine Business and News

Once again the resilience of Filipinos become evident in the midst of crisis, as the number of enterprising individuals embarks on their respective “diskarte” (practical tactic) on how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic that led to the loss of jobs, financial problems and on the bigger scale, imminent economic collapse if one fell into the trap of analysis paralysis. With almost 30M people lost their jobs, it is empirical to find a way for everyone to survive.

With the collaboration set by both Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), there are now more than 1.3 million sari-sari stores and market vendors, and an estimated 7 million informal and unregistered home-based microbusinesses gear up to boost its additional income through digital transactions and sachet virtual banking services rolled out for the inclusive livelihood and social business amidst the pandemic.

Thanks to the advent of DiskarTech’s NegosyanTech program which is made possible under the auspices of RCBC and DTI’s formidable and strategic alliance which was signed October last year to digitalize community-based microenterprises in every barangay nationwide through massive partnership and ecosystem building.

No less than the Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez who was elated in this timely and much-needed partnership in time of the coronavirus crisis.

“As DTI partners with DiskarTech’s pioneering app, we welcome the complete suite of digital financial services that will indeed benefit our MSMEs. We are thankful that they will be able to help more than 1.3 million sari-sari stores and market vendors in over 42,000 barangays,” the Trade Chief revealed.

With DTI’s over 1,000 Negosyo Centers and field offices nationwide, the Filipino entrepreneurs will now be enabled and empowered on how to grow their businesses by maximizing the features of DiskarTech, the Philippines’ first and only Taglish financial inclusion super app.

Meanwhile, Eden Chua-Pineda, the National President of Liga ng mga Barangay said, “DiskarTech would allow our constituents in every barangay the convenience of doing business at home in the safest and fastest manner.”

With the userfriendly DiskarTech app, all sari-sari stores and small business owners can now be able to accept digital payments through their own unique QR codes. These digital payments are deposited straight to their DiskarTech savings accounts that earn a competitive 3.25% annual interest.

A Business app imbued with Pinoy values

Apart from the payment acceptance, the DiskarTech’s NegosyanTech has provided additional income avenues to the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by performing financial transactions on behalf of their customers called “PAKI-SUYO”.

These transactions cover top-up of airtime load, gaming pins, and pre-paid electricity (paki-load), bills payment (paki-bayad), fund transfer (paki-padala), purchase of insurance products (paki-bili), cash in and loan repayment (paki-hulog), and cash out or withdrawal (paki-kuha).

When asked why they chose the word “PAKI-SUYO”, Lito Villanueva, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer of RCBC, explained, “The use of “PAKI-SUYO” is very close to the hearts of Pinoys. It is our unique identity that traces back in the olden time. It depicts who we are as Filipinos and that trait of being accommodating, hospitable and kind are also known to many foreigners. And we believe this is what we need now in these trying times as many seem to have lost their hope and faith in humanity.”

“This is one of the Filipino cultural values that we need to reinforce at the height of the lockdown showing one’s empathy or malasakit. Through DiskarTech, our entrepreneurs will be ahead of the game with innovative features available in the app as they display Filipinos’ brand of resiliency and ingenuity amidst the pandemic,” the RCBC official added.

The Trade Chief, he noted, “DTI is also prioritizing MSMEs in preparing our country for the digital economy. This means increasing the number of MSMEs that are online and encouraging them in growing in the digital space.”

Sharing his fulfillment with this exciting development from DiskarTech, RCBC president and CEO Eugene Acevedo said, “We are very much delighted with the warm acceptance of the public of DiskarTech given the exponential number of downloads and high engagement rate,” said

DiskarTech will soon introduce loans marketplace catering to all sectors such as formal and informal workers, MSMEs, displaced overseas Filipinos, and smallholder farmers and fishers, among others in collaboration with government and private sector lenders. Through the DTI-DiskarTech collaboration, over 7 million informal and unregistered home-based micro-businesses would be enabled to register and enjoy greater access to affordable and responsive financing and use alternative channels for quick, convenient, and transparent digital payments.

According to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, half of the payment transactions are expected to be digital by 2023.

DiskarTech recently made history as the fastest local finance app to reach one million downloads just 38 days from its market launch. For over a month now, it has kept its ranking as the top app among free finance mobile apps in Google Play Store and second in Apple App Store.

RCBC is one of the leading universal banks accelerating digital transformation in the Philippines. It was recently recognized as the best digital bank in the Philippines at the 14th Annual Alpha Southeast Asia Best Financial Institution Awards 2020. Its digital products include RCBC mobile and online banking, handheld ATM Go mobile POS terminals, and DiskarTech, among others.

For those entrepreneurs who are interested, they may contact any of DTI’s 1,200 Negosyo Centers nationwide to schedule their training.