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Business Startup Ideas in the Philippines

September 25, 2014 | Sharon Cheong

The term ‘startup' has been inaccurately used to describe a scrappy business venture, or a fledgling business.  A startup company is newly created however it is not necessarily a disjointed and disorganized establishment.

A startup company is in its initial stage of operations. Often the company is funded by the founders themselves, their family and friends, and in some instances by angel investors.  A startup company is not just an establishment that sells products or services. It is not limited to a company that offers tech services or products.  According to Neil Blumental, co-CEO and co-founder of Warby Parker: A startup is a company working to solve a problem where the solution is not obvious and success is not guaranteed. Though the success of a startup company is not always guaranteed, in the event that the product or service is embraced by its targeted market, the company's growth is quick and exponential. 

Successful Startups in the Philippines

Generally when a startup company becomes profitable, is absorbed by a conglomerate or in partnership with another company, it ceases to be a startup business.

Mang Inasal (Mr. Barbecue) was a small fast food restaurant that opened in the Visayas region in 2003. In spite of stiff competition, the unassuming restaurant specializing in grilled chicken quickly took off. Soon it was opening branches and offering franchises all over the Philippines. In 2010, 70% of the company was acquired by the number one food chain in the country for USD 68 million.

In 2013 there were four tech startup companies that received seed funding from international investors. The first startup company designed a web and mobile based application for workplaces. It addressed the problem of errant employees who waste company time and money by not being at work when they should be. The application provides data by tracking time, scheduling, attendance and analytics in a company

The Philippines is home to more than 2 million overseas workers. The second company that received funding from international investors offers cash remittance services and posting physical items such as gift packs, toys, medicines, phone credits, gift certificates to family and friends of overseas workers.  The company now has over 7,000 retail outlets in the Philippines and it is still expanding,

Micro-lending online does not seem to be a practical option as it is hard to assess loan applicants. The third startup company started an online lending business that uses big data and social media of the loan applicant, and a proprietor score sheet to assess his trustworthiness.  To date, the company has more than 400,000 registered users across continents and received over USD 6 million from international investors.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies thrive in the Philippines. The fourth startup company designed an online platform to teach Filipinos the correct skills to land a job in a BPO company. The startup received close to USD 2 million from global investors. Through this platform, an applicant can create a profile, list all his skills and take examinations without going to the employer's office.

As with any other traditional business, these innovative startup entrepreneurs recognized the needs and created the solutions.

Suggested Startup Ideas

Initiating a startup company involves acuity, creativity, innovation and persistence. The following startup ideas do not solely deal with technology as some only requires skills and proficiency.

Low-cost water purifiers for the home - Filipinos from all income strata prefer to drink purified water.  Twenty years ago purified drinking water was very expensive. The production of water purification stations all over the county made purified drinking water more affordable, however a household with its own water purifier is a convenient and cheaper option.

Automated Queuing System for the MRT (Metro Rail System) and LRT (Light Rail System). Metro Manila can be highly congested. Residents of Metro Manila prefer to drive their own cars as a 20-minute MRT or LRT ride could take more than 2 hours due to long queues. An automated queuing system via text messaging would be a great convenience.   In relation, parking spaces near MRT and LRT stations for private cars would encourage more private car owners to take the public transport.

A seat reservation system for provincial buses – Passengers currently have to purchase their bus tickets from the bus terminal if they wish to travel on provincial routes. In most cases, passengers have to be at the bus terminal hours earlier to buy a ticket for their trip on the same day. A seat reservation system for provincial buses would definitely make traveling easier and more convenient to millions of Filipinos.

Shopping Cart Cleaning Services - Shopping carts in supermarkets and groceries are handled by various people and carry wet items such as fresh meat, chicken and fish on a daily basis. Hygiene and sanitation are real problems for both shoppers and the establishment itself. A startup company that offers shopping cart wash service on a regular basis is a plausible idea.

There are numerous startup business opportunities in the Philippines – so many in fact that there are needs even Filipino consumers aren't aware of. If you find the need then you can create products or services that will be the solution for that need.

Do you have an innovative product or service for Filipino consumers?  Are you thinking of establishing a startup company in the Philippines?  Call Servcorp now for assistance.