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SME Featured Southeast Asia

New study finds SG MSMEs expect more sales overseas than at home, other sentiments on export

Singapore – E-commerce has provided businesses accelerated growth due to convenient access to the market for both sellers and buyers. Export is one of them and according to the latest MSME study by Amazon, MSMEs in Singapore anticipate greater sales growth prospects overseas than at home, with 35% of small businesses against 13% respectively. Currently, close to one-quarter (24%) of MSMEs in the country conduct B2C e-commerce, which of more than 90% use it for export.

The study found that Asia Pacific countries – Malaysia, China, Australia, Indonesia, and Thailand – are seen as the top five e-commerce export markets in five years’ time, or by 2026. About 87% of those surveyed locally in Singapore agreed that e-commerce is critical for their ability to export, with top motivations including the ability to reach overseas customers, access to sales and marketing tools that are available on e-commerce marketplaces, and support for logistics and payments provided by these marketplaces.

So what would hinder companies to realize their export strategies? According to the report, key challenges foreseen by Singaporean MSMEs can be narrowed down to three categories – barriers in cost, regulation, and information and capabilities.

High cross-border shipping costs came out as the most common challenge faced by Singapore MSMEs with 81%. The study notes that while Singapore offers a robust range of grants to support local businesses on their e-commerce export journeys, about one-third of small enterprises (32%) surveyed admitted that they will find further support valuable.

Additionally, over three-fourths (78%) of MSMEs surveyed cited a lack of clarity in import regulations as a key barrier to selling overseas via e-commerce, while only 19% believe that current advisory support on importing regulations is sufficient.

Lowered confidence to compete in the global arena also emerged as a sentiment, where 72% of MSMEs in the country believe they lack the ability to fare well versus other sellers globally. Still within technical issues, 71% admitted that they are unsure of foreign consumers’ demands and preferences.

At large, the study found that the annual value of (B2C) e-commerce exports in Singapore is estimated at S$1.4b in 2021 and could reach S$3.5b in 2026 if MSMEs accelerate their pace of using e-commerce to sell overseas. MSMEs are estimated to contribute 45% of Singapore’s B2C value of e-commerce exports in 2021.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

1Export raises US$800k in latest seed funding, targets Indonesia expansion

Manila, Philippines – Local-based export startup 1Export has announced that it has raised US$800k in seed funding, which will be used to scale the company’s operations to Indonesia.

Said funding was led by Foxmont Capital Partners, as well as participation from a consortium from the Manila Angel Investors Network and Kerubin Capital, IdeaSpace Foundation, Singapore-based Iterative and other private investors.

Through the funding, 1Export aims to develop and improve its order handling capabilities, marketing services, financing, and other third-party integrations within its platform. Its lifetime revenue of US$1.5m and service availability in 23 countries warranted interest from the investors.

For Mel Nava, founder and CEO of 1Export, the latest funding will help scale their tech platform and services to ultimately support Filipinos MSMEs, contribute to Philippine exports, and create a distinctly Filipino footprint in other markets.

“Businesses all over the world are evolving at a rapid pace, even amidst a global crisis, thanks to technology. It’s time that businesses in the Philippines, especially micro, small, and medium enterprises, keep up with this digital transformation as well,” Nava stated.

First founded in 2016, 1Export had recently generated around US$500k or ₱25m in export sales, accounting for 0.2% of the total Philippine exports. It currently lists 450 supplier partners on its platform and distributes an overall volume of 4,000 tonnes of products, which are a mix of food and non-food products.

Meanwhile, according to Daniel Remo, chief operating officer of 1Export, with the spirit of ‘bayanihan’ or the Filipino equivalent of helping out one another amid this pandemic crisis, 1Export targets to enable Filipino businesses to go global. 

“In the ever-changing landscape of e-commerce, we hope to be able to provide solutions that not only fit the needs of the here and now but to radically transform how Filipino businesses think of exporting,” Remo stated.

Nava added, “Our goal is to help Filipinos all over the world start and run a business, selling products that they’re proud of without having to go through the complexities of exporting. We’re glad we’re able to do so through our tech platforms over the past five years. We’re ready to accelerate our operations and improve our solutions so that we can aid more Filipino entrepreneurs, even during a global pandemic.”

1Export vets Filipino products to be cross-border compliant, allowing local businesses to follow the regulations of the market they want to explore or expand to. The company also offers all-around exporting services such as compliance documentation, product labeling, logistics, export facilitation, and intensive business matching.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

PH-based 1Export to export products to 60 countries by 2022

Manila, Philippines – In its ongoing mission of helping micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines reach more markets, local-based export platform 1Export plans to export products to 60 countries by the end of 2022. 

With the help of its business-to-business-to-consumer venture, Caravan, 1Export is ready to take on the world and empower more Filipinos to resell products proudly made in the Philippines to other markets.

The tech-enabled exporting company has distributed a total of 3,000 tonnes of products to 23 different countries, generating around US$500k or ₱25m in export sales as of June 2021.

Moreover, 1Export offers all-around exporting services, covering compliance documentation, product labeling, logistics, export facilitation, and marketing services. The company also provides its clients with intensive business matching services to determine which of their products fit certain markets. By doing so, local businesses can seamlessly expand abroad, boost their brand awareness, reach their target market, and grow their sales.

“It goes without saying that the pandemic has and continues to significantly affect the Philippine economy. But as we move forward and accept the business landscape in the new normal, 1Export is happy to contribute to the country’s recovery by circulating business transactions through exports and helping businesses expand their horizons,” said Mel Nava, founder and CEO of 1Export.

Founded in 2016, 1Export promises to help MSMEs in the Philippines to grow their business and expand in different countries using digital tools and platforms. The company currently has markets in the US, Australia, Canada, UAE, Kuwait, UK, and more.

Part of its unique features that sets it apart from either an e-commerce or logistics platform is that it takes third-party exporting to the next level by vetting local products to be cross-border compliant, allowing local businesses to follow the laws of the market they want to explore or expand to.

“When you’re a business owner, you want to be working ‘on’ your business rather than ‘in’ your business as the saying goes. We enable Filipino entrepreneurs to achieve just that―instead of spending so much time and effort learning about the complexities of importing in different countries, they can focus on the core business activities that will enable them to scale,” Nava added.

On another hand, Caravan by 1Export provides aspiring Filipinos entrepreneurs living or working abroad a catalog of unique and authentic Filipino products―ranging from food to clothing to beauty products―which they can choose from to start their own business where they are. If entrepreneurs want to sell items not available on the catalog, Caravan by 1Export is ready to assist them in finding their preferred goods, as long as they’re export-compliant.

1Export and Caravan provides Filipino entrepreneurs various opportunities to expand their business in new markets, as well as spread and empower the Filipino culture across the world. Entrepreneurs need only to sign up on 1Export’s website as a supplier partner to start their business journey.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Food Philippines movement seeks to introduce PH food to AU mainstream market

Sydney, Australia – The Philippine Trade and Investment Center, based out of Sydney, announced the launch of the ‘Food Philippines’ movement in order to promote Filipino food to the Australian mainstream market.

The movement is made possible by two collectives aimed at promoting Filipino cuisine to a much larger consumer base. The first is Entree.pinays, a collective of Filipina entrepreneurs that educated the Australian public on Filipino produce value, while the second one is Filipino Food Movement, Inc., a group of Filipino individuals aiming to put Filipino cuisine on the global scene.

Originally started out as a B2B partnership with Australian buyers and Filipino exporters, the Food Philippines movement started running in September and will end in December this year.

Some of the featured products include the following: Mama Sita’s Sinamak and Suka’t Sili vinegar, Jimalie’s organic coconut milk, Roaster Juan’s Premium Coffee, Miki’s Purple Yam Powder, Soyuz Calamansi, and Mama Sita’s Barbeque sauce.

The movement is also supported by the Export Marketing Bureau, the Department of Trade and Industry’s export management arm in the Philippines.

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SME Featured Southeast Asia

PH startup 1Export extends hand for local MSME export reach

Philippines – To fully tap on the exporting potential of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines, local export startup 1Export is offering their services to leverage e-commerce capabilities of MSME to an international market.

Established in 2016, the startup offers its services by aiding enterprises in finding the right buyers online and what products will be deemed export-quality. This is then delivered across nine key international markets, of which businesses will take note of any compliance standards these key markets hold.

With the services being offered, the startup further extends its service by providing an eCommerce platform for MSMEs. From correct documentation to automated labeling using pictures, all are part of the startup’s goals of export efficiency for MSMEs.

“Exporting is often viewed as a tedious and laborious process. For most MSMEs, creating a truly globally competitive brand remains just a pipe dream. We believe that, when done right, exporting can be a powerful tool to showcase MSME talent, uplift the economy, and change the lives of people,” Daniel Remo, chief operating officer of 1Export stated.

CEO Mel Nava also commented, “We make them globally competitive so that they can export, we help them export so they can sell more, stay afloat, and serve the needs and wants of other markets.”