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UPS helps its Phl customers maintain critical infrastructure following typhoon

UPS’s recent expansion of its Worldwide Express Freight (WWEF) shipment service to more postal codes in the Philippines comes as welcome news to West Point Engineering, a long-time customer of UPS.

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Sitting in a tropical storm-prone belt of the Pacific Ocean known as ‘typhoon alley,’ the Philippines experiences an average of 20 tropical storms every year. 

Last year, on top of dealing with the pandemic, the Philippines was hit by Super Typhoon Goni, the most powerful tropical cyclone in the world in 2020. Goni, or Rolly as it’s locally known, ploughed through Luzon and affected 2.7 million people, displacing 31,000 and damaging or destroying 281,000 homes. Sanitation and hygiene become immediate concerns in the aftermath of a storm like this, with essential water infrastructure usually damaged.

West Point Engineering Supplies Incorporated provides specialized products and solutions to essential infrastructures in the Philippines, such as water, energy and meteorology. 

Among its list of projects is a 10-year program with the weather information services company, Earth Networks, and the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration. They’ll collaborate to use weather monitoring sensors that provide earlier warnings for tropical storms. 

For West Point Engineering, speed and efficiency is essential in installing and maintaining specialized equipment like weather radars, which can save lives and homes. 

That’s why UPS’s recent expansion of its Worldwide Express Freight (WWEF) shipment service to more postal codes in the Philippines comes as welcome news to West Point Engineering, a long-time customer of UPS.

Businesses like West Point Engineering will benefit from time-guaranteed palletized shipments above 70 kilograms to more areas in Bulacan, Mabalacat, Angeles City, Laguna and Batangas, allowing businesses to more easily and quickly replenish bulk inventories. This helps customers meet urgent, sometimes life-saving, delivery requirements. 

“We have been a partner of UPS for over seven years,” said Dennis Ziganay, president and CEO of West Point Engineering. “Through this pandemic, we’ve been able to meet the demands of these challenging times … thanks to UPS.” 

With businesses needing a more agile and precise process in responding to the needs of the market and its customers, accessibility is key in responding to natural disasters around the globe.

“Exporters, SMEs and long-time partners like West Point Engineering are important contributors to the local economy. As they grow and expand, we listen to their changing supply chain requirements and cater to their needs,” said Chris Buono, managing director of UPS Philippines and Indonesia. 

 “Whether it’s one of the several natural calamities that occurred in the Philippines or an ongoing pandemic, UPS is committed to delivering what matters for our customers as they bounce back from a difficult year,” Buono ended. 

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Community banks a key resource for small businesses when crises arise

Community banks are an important source for small businesses when crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic, arise and business owners need to secure help quickly to continue paying their employees.

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Photo by lucas Favre from Unsplash.com

With billions on the table for struggling small businesses, new research from the University of Florida Warrington College of Business finds that community banks are a critical source for helping these businesses keep their workforce employed during the pandemic through loan access.

“Smaller community banks have traditionally been an important source of funding for small businesses,” said Christopher James, William H. Dial/SunTrust Eminent Scholar and research author. “Community banks tend to be relationship lend­ers, characterized by local ownership, local control and local decision making. Relationship lenders had strong incentives to make… loans in order to preserve small business relationships in the face of the massive economic downturn caused the pandemic.”

In their research, James, Warrington Ph.D. student Jing Lu and Georgetown University Ph.D. student Yangfan Sun, find that community banks were able to respond faster to loan requests from small businesses as compared to larger banks. They also find that community banks made more loans per dollar of deposits than larger banks, particularly during the early stages of the pandemic.

“Community banks tend to specialize in lending based on close personal ties between the loan officer and the small business customer,” James said. “This type of lending requires providing branch managers with greater decision rights in making lending decisions. As a result, lenders at community banks were able to respond faster when the PPP was introduced.”

Consistent with community bank focus on small business lending and their faster implementation of lending, the authors find significantly more loans per small business in counties where community banks had higher market shares. More important, the authors find that higher levels of lending are associated with significantly fewer small business bankruptcies.

Overall, James, Lu and Sun’s research finds that community banks are an important source for small businesses when crises, like the COVID-19 pandemic, arise and business owners need to secure help quickly to continue paying their employees.

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Shopee launches #TatakPinoy virtual trade fair to support Filipino businesses

Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, launches #TatakPinoy, a virtual trade fair geared towards supporting homegrown Filipino brands and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

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Shopee, the leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, launches #TatakPinoy, a virtual trade fair geared towards supporting homegrown Filipino brands and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). 

Shopee consistently advocates for the growth of local businesses. Amid the COVID-19 lockdown, which forced hundreds of Filipino businesses to close physical shops, Shopee supported over 1,000 sellers transitioning online through Shopee’s Seller Masterclasses and its partnerships with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and local government units. The initiatives helped Filipino entrepreneurs gain a basic understanding of e-commerce and digital marketing. Sellers were also able to master Shopee’s marketing tools, helping them achieve their maximum potential in e-commerce. 

To further strengthen support for local entrepreneurs, Shopee and DTI are set to launch the very first #TatakPinoy Virtual Trade Fair, a campaign that aims to promote products from Filipino brands and local MSMEs. From February 19 – 21, shoppers can discover local delicacies and pasalubong items, particularly those from Regions XII and IV-A, on Shopee. They can also buy products from Filipina-owned businesses, championed by Shopee and USAID’s partnership to empower local female entrepreneurs. 

In its statement, DTI’s Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion announced, “The Department of Trade and Industry – Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion is proud to be a partner for #TatakPinoy on Shopee. This initiative will connect thousands of consumers to more than a hundred MSMEs on one platform. We invite Filipinos from all over the country to patronize and take pride in products that are certified #TatakPinoy from the National Trade Fair Pop-up Store and Go Lokal! Shopee Mall.”

Martin Yu, Director at Shopee Philippines, said, “We strongly believe in the importance of uplifting homegrown entrepreneurs. From microbusinesses to SMEs, these local brands all contribute to the Philippine economy’s growth as a whole. Considering that most local businesses still can’t promote their products outside of online platforms due to the pandemic, Shopee also wants to create the opportunity to showcase the best Filipino brands. We will continue to spearhead campaigns that help reignite pride and demand for local products and drive the growth of the economy.”

Aside from discovering high-quality local craftsmanship and assisting local businesses in the process, shoppers can enjoy exclusive discounts up to 10% off on participating Filipino brands such as Colourette, Vice Cosmetics, and Human Nature. 

Shoppers can also enjoy more deals when they checkout using ShopeePay. For more information about the #TatakPinoy Virtual Trade Fair, visit https://shopee.ph/m/tatak-pinoy

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Rakuten Viber, Globe myBusiness, and GCash partner to empower MSMEs and customers

Rakuten Viber, one of the leading messaging apps in the world, has partnered with Globe myBusiness and GCash in providing micro, small, medium enterprises (MSMEs) and their customers with a safe and efficient way to complete transactions through QR codes.

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Photo by Mimi Thian from Unsplash.com

Rakuten Viber, one of the leading messaging apps in the world, has partnered with Globe myBusiness and GCash in providing micro, small, medium enterprises (MSMEs) and their customers with a safe and efficient way to complete transactions through QR codes.

These QR codes have been first made available for merchants on FoodPH, Viber’s very own food directory. Through this partnership, FoodPH merchants can make online food orders more convenient for their buyers. To receive payments, they can simply send their GCash QR code to their customers, who can easily scan the code using the GCash app to pay for their orders. New FoodPH merchants can get their own GCash QR code upon signing up, while existing ones can do the same via a link that’s provided to them via the bot.

“We’re extremely excited to roll out this new feature on Viber, especially now that people are still encouraged to stay at home amid the ongoing pandemic. With QR codes, both our FoodPH partner merchants and their customers are now able to seamlessly transact with each other. As we’ve made the experience as convenient as possible, it encourages customers to support local businesses and order their food from MSMEs,” says David Tse, Senior Director, Rakuten Viber. “And we’re proud that we’re doing this with Globe myBusiness, which is the country’s leading partner for MSMEs, and GCash, which is the leading mobile wallet in the Philippines with at least 30 million subscribers. Our Viber users deserve no less.”

“Globe myBusiness has always been committed to providing entrepreneurs with digital solutions and know-how to help them succeed in their ventures. We believe in partnering with Viber, which became the messaging app of choice for online shopping during the pandemic. That’s why we have encouraged our subscribers to enlist in Viber’s FoodPH, as it will help them maximize their reach and improve their customer service.” says Maridol Ylanan, Marketing and Strategy Head , Globe myBusiness.

“GCash used to generate QR codes only for bigger businesses to help them streamline their point-of-sale transactions. Along with Viber, we have realized that MSMEs, especially food businesses that have been hardly hit by the pandemic, will also greatly benefit from this feature,” says Fred Levy, Chief Commercial Officer, GCash. “Globe and GCash take the security of our users seriously. That’s why we couldn’t be happier that we are partnering with Viber, which is one of the most secure messaging apps in the world, in offering QR codes to FoodPH merchants.”

Launched in December 2020, FoodPH is Viber’s official food directory where users can search for a specific type of food, a certain cuisine, or look for a dish based on location. Merchants that are part of the community are carefully sourced by Viber, with some of them listed through Globe MyBusiness. Globe myBusiness subscribers who will register will enjoy a few perks like appearing in the first page of search results once they’re verified. To further encourage users to buy local, Viber FoodPH is featuring some food merchants within the bot,  making it easier for them to complete their Lunar New Year or Valentines’ Day spread at home.

Viber’s latest partnership with GCash comes after the messaging app announced last year that it was planning to turn the messaging app into an all-in-one app, moving towards fintech by making in-app payments available to everyone. That’s why Filipinos have more to expect from this latest partnership as both are aiming to fully integrate GCash into Viber for easier payments and more within the year.

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