Recognizing the valuable contribution of small retailers in the communities and in the economy, Coca-Cola Philippines, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and micro-financial institutions come together and set up a P157-million bridge loan support called the Retailer’s Rebuild Bridge Loan.
The loan program, supported by DTI’s micro-financial arm, Small Business Corporation (SBCorp), ASA Philippines Foundation, Inc (ASA), and Alalay sa Kaunlaran Microfinance Social Development Inc. (ASKMSDI), will be available to 15,000 sari-sari store and carinderia severely affected by the pandemic.
It aims to help them reopen and, once again, enable the movement of goods in their communities.
The Retailer’s Rebuild Bridge Program, one of the major components of the Rebuilding Sari-Sari Stores Through Access to Resources and Trade (ReSTART) program of the DTI and Coca Cola. It strategically augments the current initiatives of SBCorp’s Enterprise Rehabilitation Financing program, where loan assistance comes in 30 to 60 percent of goods or ready-to-sell products, and 40 to 70 percent cash combinations.
“There are lots of factors to be considered in order to enable micro-retailers to get back on their feet during this difficult time. Addressing the financial needs of the micro-retailers who are greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic requires a concerted effort of key partners, a strategic, and targeted approach, and the implementation of a program that has long-term benefits,” Winn Everhart, president and general manager of Coca-Cola Philippines said.
He added that upon seeing how the lack of access to capital is one of the critical issues facing micro-retailers today, they agreed that the provision of a bridge loan is the most beneficial action they can implement.
“This was designed to be accessible, with easy terms, and has an immediate impact on retailers,” the Coca-Cola official explained.
The loan scheme
Interest-free for up to four loan cycles and with a very minimal service fee, the bridge loan will immensely help distressed MSMEs (micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises). Aside from the loan, beneficiaries will also be provided with ‘Safe Store’ kits that will help prevent the spread of coronavirus to give way for safer store operations.
Furthermore, they will also receive proper guidance and mentoring so they can be better equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to weather the crisis.