Microentrepreneur: A Clearer Perspective
Ang Kasangga Partylist focuses on the Filipino microentrepreneurs – those whose enterprises have an individual capital of one hundred fifty thousand pesos (P150,000.00) and below. These small income generating enterprises that produce and distribute goods and provide services: jeepney drivers, tricycle drivers, food stall and/or sari-sari store owners, market vendors, and blind masseurs, among others seen everywhere. Others include the home workers in the garment industry, families producing shoes and leather items, small producers of goods like handicraft, furniture, and candies.
These microentrepreneurs have a very vital role in the country’s economic and social development. They are able to provide income to a large segment of the population. Without this income, the socio-economic pressures would be near-insurmountable. This sector usually absorbs unemployed members of society – those unable to find employment in the open market. They also provide input to the formal sector ranging from manufacturing parts and supplies, to labor for production.
For the consumers, goods and services this sector makes available are more affordable and accessible. Taxi, jeepney, and tricycle drivers have contributed to making the public transportation system more convenient. Retail operators, such as those of sari-sari stores, not only provide daily consumables in convenient locations, but also break down the supply of consumer goods into small quantities that are made more affordable to the poor.
Part of the Informal Sector, microentrepreneurs are characterized with low productivity, insecure income, poverty, dismal working conditions and a lack of social protection. Owners of small businesses, they are prone to risks of failure and, compared to larger companies, find it more difficult to obtain capital and credit from financing institutions.
Their more feeble economic standing makes them more vulnerable to sudden changes in the business environment. They lack the financial or organizational capacity to respond adequately to new opportunities.
Uplifting the Microentrepreneurs
Although the incomes of microentrepreneurs are meager, and they suffer from usually low productivity, these individuals posses the enterprising spirit of a large segment of the population. They have been able to create jobs and incomes out of otherwise non-existent economic entities, relying mostly on their families, relatives and friends for financial as well as non-financial support.
The Department of Trade and Industry states that as of 2006, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) compose 99.7% of all Philippine business enterprises – with micro enterprises making up 92% of the total MSME number. Furthermore, in 2006 micro enterprises generated a total of 1,667,823 jobs – 33.5% of all jobs created by the MSME sector during that year.
Ang Kasangga believes that should the strength, enterprising spirit, and networks of the vast and active microentrepreneur sector be harnessed, there is great potential to transform the sector from a symbol of urban poverty to a breeding ground for entrepreneurship and all related activities.