MANILA, PHILIPPINES — COVID-19 has become more than just a global health crisis. With limited mobility, travel, and tourism, economies are taking a huge hit worldwide. According to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), micro-, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) make up 99.5 percent of businesses in the country, and Facebook recognizes just how vital they are to the economy.
In partnership with the World Bank and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Facebook surveyed over 30,000 small business owners and employees in over 50 countries around the world, including the Philippines. The survey captures the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on MSMEs business operations, their financial performance, and the actions that they have taken to mitigate the impact of the pandemic throughout the world.
The State of Small Business Report found that 64% of Filipino MSMEs on Facebook are able to continue operating and engaging in revenue-generating activities despite the limitations of the pandemic. The global survey conducted between May 28-31, 2020 has over a hundred respondents from the Philippines.
A realistic outlook
While the report shows that Filipino MSMEs are able to maintain operations on Facebook, 35% have had to reduce their employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Forty-six percent of local businesses operational on the platform reported a decline in sales — some, by 50% or more compared to last year. The respondents also noted that they are expecting cash flow to continue being a challenge over the next few months.
For businesses — MSMEs, especially — it is important to find ways to adapt to the current market conditions with continued quarantine and physical distancing protocols and gear up for the new normal.
Accelerating the shift to online
Many small businesses have made serious efforts to adapt by shifting operations online. In the Philippines, 52% of operational MSMEs on Facebook reported that 25% or more of their sales were made digitally in the past month.
True to character, of those Pinoy MSMEs operational on Facebook, 64% are saying that they are optimistic about the future of their business and are stepping up to take their business forward despite the setbacks of the pandemic.
With the looming uncertainty of the global health crisis, entrepreneurs who have pivoted online understand that this may well be the norm moving forward. Facebook continues to support MSMEs through various programs and tools available on the platform.
“Last year we launched Facebook Community Boost events across different cities in the Philippines to support MSMEs and communities in their digital journey. This year we’re back with a completely online webinar series, Boost with Facebook. The objective of this series is to help MSMEs quickly recover and help businesses build resilience – so they can be well-equipped to get started in their online transformation journey and navigate challenges in the new normal,” added Rubio.
Presented in partnership with the DTI, Connected Women, and Bayan Academy, the 11-episode weekly webinar provides MSMEs with valuable insights, strategies, and practical online marketing knowledge and skills.
“Through the Boost with Facebook program, we at the Department of Trade and Industry look forward to equipping Philippine MSMEs with the tools to succeed online and offline,” DTI Assistant Secretary Mary Jean Pacheco said. “By working together on this initiative, Facebook and DTI can reach out to even more MSMEs across the country. Ultimately, we want to arm our entrepreneurs with the skills needed for business growth and resilience, especially in these challenging times.”
New episodes of Boost with Facebook premiere every Wednesday, 2 p.m. on the Facebook for Business page this month until September 9.