Written by philippines

Words by Katherine Go
Edited by Shannon Matsuda
Art by Gianina Jimenez

“Purchasing from small businesses actually holds a much greater role. In fact, we play a big part in their survival amidst this pandemic.”

Following the business shutdowns and trimmed workforces triggered by COVID-19, Filipinos are left at home with halted careers and much time on their hands. During these times, it is easy to grow anxious as we are left unemployed and isolated from others. However, several Filipinos have faced the pandemic with resilience and found new ways to generate income through entrepreneurship.

Just a few weeks after the nationwide lockdown, our Facebook and Instagram feeds were filled with home-based entrepreneurs selling their signature dishes. Suddenly, all of our friends are selling ube pandesal, sushi bakes, basque burnt cheesecakes, and artisanal beverages. (I’m not complaining, though!)  

I am all for supporting my friends and even strangers in their hobby-turned-businesses. While I am confined in my home, online shopping and delivery almost became part of my daily routine in the new normal. At first, supporting a friend served my excuse for shopping, but purchasing from small businesses actually holds a much greater role. In fact, we play a big part in their survival amidst this pandemic. 

Why #SupportSmall?

Social distancing may have mitigated the spread of the COVID-19, but it also threatens to devastate the small to medium enterprises. Although some existing businesses have shifted to online, they struggle to rebuild their market and get around e-commerce. Unfortunately for others, jobs were lost and some physical stores were shut down altogether.

Purchasing your goods from these small brands to keep them afloat while quarantine is imposed indefinitely. The same can apply through shopping from start-ups born out of vanished careers.

Just by making the switch from buying commercial bread to your neighbor’s homemade loaf can provide his whole family with income to survive.

What are community sites?

As a response to the surge of small businesses, several community sites have been built to conveniently connect sellers to locals. Through these sites, Filipinos can easily find and avail of homemade products near them. Sellers are granted with an expanded customer base and tools to grow their online business.

When asked why she and her team founded food-centered community site Ventii Eats, Bea So replied, “Prior to its founding, there were no platforms dedicated to home-based food entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs had to use Viber or Facebook Marketplace, where their posts could be buried under thousands of messages from competing brands. They also had to deal with inefficient ordering systems, like sending the menu, payment, and delivery information multiple times a day, every day.”

These community sites are built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. In these dark times, let’s try our best to help these budding businesses shine.

Ready to #SupportSmall? Here are three community sites to shop (or sell) local products!

Ventii Eats (www.ventiieats.com)

Ventii Eats offers a curated collection of specialty home cooked meals, desserts, and beverages. Co-founder Bea proudly shares, “We are happy to announce that our food community has grown rapidly since our launch in May. Within two months, close to 300 merchants have partnered with us and showcased over 700 products.”

Their user-friendly platform allows for your cravings to be satisfied. Soon enough, order tracking and scheduled deliveries will be made available on Ventii Eats. Apart from gaining online exposure and keeping 100% of sales, Ventii’s partners can also enjoy other services such as product photography, articles and features.

Locale Food Market (www.localefoodmarket.com)

Locale Food Market houses an array of Manila’s best ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook food, baked goods, meats, produce, and beverages. Customers can browse through over 100 merchants and conveniently place their orders and track delivery, all in one website!

If you’re a vendor, you can join Locale for free for the first three months and be a part of the Locale Startup Academy where you can be mentored by esteemed business educated and renowned chefs!

The Manila Fling  (www.themanilafling.com)

Not into food? The Manila Fling has you covered! The Manila Fling is a virtual pop-up shopping affair that showcases homegrown businesses in fashion, beauty, stationery, furniture, and food. Shoppers can cop items from over 80 brands all through one site! If you’re a company with a flair for art, consider joining The Manila Fling’s curated collection. Just remember to be on your toes for when The Manila Fling pops up again!

Bayanihan, But Online!

These community sites are built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. In these dark times, let’s try our best to help these budding businesses shine. Order your favorite snacks for merienda and treat yourself to a new Zoom-friendly outfit. Don’t forget to share your latest online shopping discoveries and embody the altruistic and bayanihan spirit that the Filipinos are known for!

Katherine resides in Metro Manila, Philippines and is currently a SenseReporter for Makesense Asia. Her role focuses on creating inspiring content that sheds light on global issues and calls for action. Katherine is an advocate for living a sustainable lifestyle and supporting social enterprises.

Shannon resides in Quezon City, Philippines, and is currently a fifth-year Marketing Management and Communication Arts student at De La Salle University. Her role is to apply her learnings on marketing and media in organizations that leave a positive social impact on the student body. She feels strongly passionate about sustainable living, press freedom, women empowerment, mental health, and inclusivity in the workforce.

Gianina resides in Calamba City, Philippines and is currently an Intern for Makesense Asia. Her role as SenseReporter is to create meaningful and educational content for positive social impact. Gianina is very passionate about sustainable living and fighting the climate crisis.