Smart, Microventures launch Smart Hapinoy Stores
[September 4, 2007/ Manila] - In line with its vision to enable Filipino microentrepreneurs, Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART) has partnered with Microventures, Inc. on its first microventure – Hapinoy, a project instituted to increase the sales and profits of microentrepreneur sari-sari store owners nationwide.
Hapinoy Stores are branded sari-sari stores owned and run by microentrepreneurs and built on the backbone of the microfinance industry. Supported by the Microfinance Council of the Phillipines, Hapinoy is a nationwide initiative involving multiple microfinancing institutions in different areas of the Philippines. Currently, the pilot is ongoing in South Luzon, initially targeting 8,000 Hapinoy Stores by year end, beginning with the microborrowers of the Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Inc. (CARD), the largest microfinancing institution in the Philippines. Microventures is also presently talking with other MFIs for the partnership.
Under the project, Hapinoy Stores will now offer enhanced Smart products and services, including e-Load services and Smart Money transactions. Selected HAPINOY stores will also offer Public Calling Phones and Smart Bro Internet Kiosks and Cafes. Smart sees the network of Hapinoy stores as a critical channel for delivering projects intended to improve the lives of Smart clients in the community.
“The Smart Hapinoy Store project serves as a vehicle for opening new sustainable business opportunities for Filipino microentrepreneurs. The Smart Hapinoy Store will benefit both the store owners and the local community. For store owners, it’s a sure source of additional sales, while for Smart subscribers in the community, it means easier access to leading cutting-edge Smart products and services.” said Danilo J. Mojica, Smart head for wireless consumer division.
Microventures, Inc., a social business enterprise, initiated the Hapinoy project in an effort to empower sari-sari stores by linking them directly to partner product manufacturers, through capacity-building and the community support generated by the network. As a result, Hapinoy sari-sari store owners are able to get higher margins on their goods sold, save on new efficiency measures and have the opportunity to get into new businesses such as the electronic financial services offered by Smart.
“The Hapinoy project is an initiative which aims to further develop the entrepreneurial spirit in our fellow Filipinos. The project advances the spirit of entrepreneurship where it is needed the most. Through Hapinoy, we aim to help our fellow countrymen by guiding them in creating a viable and sustainable business. Our partnerships with microfinancing institutions like CARD, ASA and Kasagana-Ka, and business organizations like Smart are key to achieving this endeavor. At the end of the day, hand-in-hand with our partners and our microentrepreneur nanays, we hope to alleviate poverty, one sari-sari store at a time,” said Microventures president Bam Aquino.
To formalize the partnership between Smart and Microventures, an unveiling of the Smart Hapinoy Store signage was held. Among those present were Microventures chairman Rapa Lopa, president Bam Aquino, managing director Perry Villa, and managing director Mark Ruiz; and SMART head for Public Affairs Mon Isberto, head for New Business and Convergent Platforms, Alex Ibasco, head for Solutions Consulting and Program Management Lito Villanueva, head for Wireless Consumer Sales Perry Bayani, and sr. manager for MFI Solutions Consulting Maybelle Santos.
For more information on Smarts microfinance industry initiatives, you may email the Smart Public Affairs Group.