Jia drives small business growth in the Philippines with Sarisuki partnership

Jia
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4 min readJul 11, 2023

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This article is part of a series spotlighting local partners providing valuable services in their communities, powered partly by Jia’s financing.

Partnership Spotlight: Sarisuki

Like many entrepreneurs in the Philippines, Ms. Bambie was forced to rebuild after the Covid-19 pandemic shut down her sari-sari store and school supplies business in 2020. Aside from selling goods at her store, she operated a dressmaking enterprise, and sold school and church uniforms for parish volunteers.

With her business shuttered, Ms. Bambie quickly pivoted after discovering she could sell groceries and baked goods from her kitchen to customers through the popular online marketplace Sarisuki.

“I was able to bring back my store, which closed due to the pandemic,” says Ms. Bambie. “I don’t need to go through the hassle of going to Divisoria to buy my inventories because Sarisuki delivers it directly to my store.”

Ms. Bambie in front of her re-opened sari sari store.

Ms. Bambie is one of Manila’s nanays,” an endearing term for the women who sell goods from their homes, usually prepared meals and household products. For these women, numbering tens of thousands of Filipinas, entrepreneurship often offers the most direct way to support their families.

Yet despite playing a critical role in the Philippines’ economy, most banks will not serve nanays in a business capacity. And without access to affordable financing, many struggle to operate. This leaves some reliant on expensive digital lenders or exploitative informal options.

“When I was starting with Sarisuki, I thought of getting additional capital to stock more inventory and be able to pay Sarisuki on-time,” says Ms. Bambie. “I looked for options where I can borrow with low interest and flexible terms but could not find any.”

To provide entrepreneurs like Ms. Bambie with access to fair financing, Jia has partnered with Sarisuki.

Ms. Bambie selling vegetables, eggs and other groceries outside her sari-sari store with goods purchased from Sarisuki using Jia financing.

Empowering Entrepreneurs Everywhere

Sarisuki is a community selling and buying platform that helps people become online grocery sellers in their neighborhoods while offering buyers fresh and affordable grocery items.

“Sarisuki’s vision is to empower communities by giving the ability to help themselves”, says Co-Founder Brian Cu, who built Sarisuki after his wife Kate started selling groceries during the COVID lockdowns. “While we provide the market, many of our sellers struggle to access credit. Jia is hugely beneficial in helping us provide financing for these women to grow their businesses.”

The Sarisuki team in Manila.

Sarisuki’s access to merchants’ sales and payment histories on the platform provides Jia with valuable data for underwriting. Jia can see, for example, that despite not having a formal credit history, Ms. Bambie has a consistent customer base each week and has steadily increased her sales. This allows Jia to extend credit to Ms. Bambie, which she uses to buy inventory in larger quantities.

Through Jia, Sarisuki sellers typically borrow between PHP 3,000 to 10,000 ($91 to $303) and have up to 1 month to repay. Borrowers are rewarded with loyalty rewards for on-time repayment, including lower rates and small business advising on everything from operations to marketing.

Using the Sarisuki platform and her own “negosyante” instincts, Ms. Bambie built up her grocery business. She is now one of the fastest-growing Ka-Saris (sellers) on the platform and is considered a brand ambassador. This has enabled her to reopen her tailoring business, and she has started accepting orders for school uniforms.

“It was really a blessing when Jia partnered with Sarisuki,” says Ms. Bambie. “With Jia, I found the affordable financing plan I was looking for. It addressed my need for additional funding and allows me to have on-hand stocks of rice and frozen products. It’s one of the reasons I am able to continue growing my small business.”

Watch Sarisuki Community Leader Super Mhar’s story.

Pilipino Mirror Coverage

Concurrent with sharing this announcement, the Pilipino Mirror, a popular Taglog media outlet in the Philippines, covered this partnership. We were thrilled to see Ms. Bambie receive well-deserved recognition with her image in the paper! You can read the article here.

Pilipino Mirror article on Jia’s partnership with Sarisuki featuring Ms. Bambie.

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