JICA supports Filipino start-up company in finding investors
Filipino start-up company Packworks that won in the accelerator program of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is well-positioned to accelerate its business after completing the first round of its seed funding stage.
Packworks, which offers business to business support to sari-sari stores (neighborhood stores) in the Philippines, was a recipient of $30,000 grant from the JICA Ninja (Next Innovation With Japan) Accelerator Program, emerging above start-ups from other countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Bangladesh.
“JICA is proud to have given Filipino start-ups a big boost through the JICA Ninja Accelerator Program. We believe that supporting MSMEs, the lifeblood of the Philippine economy, will translate to more jobs and opportunities to Filipinos nationwide,” said JICA Chief Representative Sakamoto Takema.
Packworks provides platform to local sari-sari stores so that they can have easy access to business capital, tools, and insights. In 2021, they were conferred the best performing start-ups for JICA’s Project Ninja together with two other Filipino start-ups firms, i.e. Plentina (a financial service company that offers store credits), and Mayani (agricultural e-commerce platform).
A foreign investor spoke of Packworks’ potential as, “The breadth of talent on their team is immense. They are incredibly intelligent and technical, humble and interested to learn. On top of that, they are building a product in an emerging market that is not ‘nice-to-have’ but ‘need-to-have.’”
Packworks helps sari-sari store owners manage their business and access cheaper suppliers and financial products. According to Packworks, they already have as many as 200,000 sari-sari stores network throughout the Philippines. They help these stores adopt new technology beyond the traditional pen-and-paper way of doing business. By giving them digital support, Packworks enable these micro-entrepreneurs to survive and grow.
Sari-sari store owners using the application said they were able to organize their supplies, minimize errors when computing sales, and ensure faster, accurate transactions thanks to the innovative way with digital transformation.
“We believe that building a network of sari-sari stores is important so we can empower the Philippine economy. That has always been the goal ? to uplift the foundation of the economy,” shared Packworks Chief Executive Officer Bing Tan.
Through Project Ninja, qualified start-ups like Packworks received access to capital and mentorship plus opportunities to meet potential investors and venture capitalists. The project is an initiative of JICA to nurture innovation and entrepreneurship in its partner countries, like the Philippines.
JICA further adds that its Project Ninja Program is part of their initiative to increase private sector participation to expand its support to sustainable development. JICA Philippines