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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Empowering Filipino enterprises: The IExport success story in time of Covid

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Boosting the capacity of small and medium enterprises  (SMEs) serves as a growth driver for businesses amid the pandemic.

Take for example the success story of 1Export, a one-stop export platform, which has recently announced generating P25 million in revenues, approximately P8 million of which were from exports made to Seafood City, the Filipino supermarket chain that operates all over North America.

Mel Nava, founder and CEO of 1Export acknowledged it as turning point not only for her company but to the Filipino entrepreneurs as well.  “While we’re very proud of this economic milestone, we take most pride in what this means for hundreds of individual Filipino small businesses. They are now able to reach markets they previously did not have access to, giving them more customers, revenue, and growth at a time when they need it the most,” Nava told the BusinessMirror in an e-mail interview.

Moreover, Nava pointed out that 1Export accounted for 0.2 percent of the total Philippine exports as of June 2021. Nevertheless, the company does not have plans to stop.

“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,” Nava explained.

Reaching out to the world

SO far, 1Export has exported Filipino products to 17 countries, including but not limited to the US, Australia, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. Nava said they are hoping to enter the markets of Russian and other European countries as they have expressed to buy Philippine-made products.

In the US alone, Nava said, products will be displayed in 15 different states throughout Seafood City.

1Export’s work with Seafood City will even give Filipino MSMEs access to 80 percent of the US population, an unprecedented opportunity to enter one of the world’s most lucrative markets. Finally, Filipino MSME products will be displayed to 800 stores, including major retailers and distributors around the world, both online and offline.

Through 1Export, Nava said the goal is to help local MSMEs to compete on a world stage, as well as bring unprecedented opportunities to Filipinos both at home and abroad. Whether it’s a business looking to export beloved Filipino snacks or raw materials, she said, 1Export aims to help enterprises by providing a solution that takes care of processes like documentation, labeling, order processing, and more.

Though MSMEs make up about 99 percent of all businesses in the Philippines and generate over half of total employment, Nava laments that many MSMEs have to deal with cumbersome processes that some discourages them to carry on.  “A laundry list of requirements and old-fashioned processes give entrepreneurs the notion that they can’t succeed when it comes to exports,” Nava pointed out.

1Export is also harnessing the power of technology to make documentation and processes easier, helping businesses stay compliant and up-to-date on the exporting requirements of various countries. Aside from taking care of the minute details of exporting, 1Export also offers exporting consultations and preliminary meetings for businesses looking to explore their options. 1Export is running on a cloud-based platform that streamlines the export compliance process for MSMEs. Moreover, it also built a platform for overseas Filipinos to be able to source products directly from local producers/manufacturers.

Nava pointed out that it’s not only the business owners themselves who benefit from 1Export’s work. So far, 1Export has 450 supplier partners throughout the Philippines, all of whom employ about 5,000 people total and create job opportunities nationwide.

“Caravan by 1Export is our bid to lower the barrier of entry to entrepreneurship. Now you don’t need to source and import a myriad of Filipino products all on your own in order to get started. All you need is our platform and the desire to bring more homegrown Filipino products to your community,” Nava said.

Nava said 1Export’s revenues come from a sales commission from all export sales conducted via the platform. “We earn from our B2B [1Exprot Trade] clients as well as our B2B2C [Caravan]. We recently launched a logistics service [Ship it by 1Export],” she said.

1Export is currently present in 17 markets, and expects to close the year having exported to 25 markets. “In the near term, we will enter 60 countries and aim to export approximately P 500 million by the end of 2022,” she said.

The birth of 1Export

1Export started work on the platform in February 2019 and started beta testing in the fourth quarter in 2019 and was officially launched in December 2019 during an export congress spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry. “Exporting is a time consuming and highly complex process. We developed the platform in order to empower businesses to go beyond the domestic market,” Nava said.

1Export’s expertise on the exporting industry comes from the time they spent simply building their knowledge base. Majority of the early years were dedicated to familiarizing themselves with the different requirements and processes in each market they entered, even if it meant they started out without first making any profit. In due time, however, 1Export quickly grew from just two employees to a cross-functional team of 26 people.

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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