Overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong were treated to a weekend of business and entrepreneurial opportunities during the Smart Pinoy – Go Negoyso Caravan and Media Day, an event jointly-organized and presented by GoNegosyo, SmartPinoy, PLDT Global, Smart eMoney, Inc., and Voyager Innovations.
The goal of the event was to inspire OFWs to think beyond just saving by putting their money to smarter use and not just keeping it passively in a bank account. Among the opportunities and solutions showcased at the iconic Kennedy Center were online store creator TackThis! and remittance service Smart Padala.
TackThis! online store creator
TackThis! presents an attractive option for OFWs. Fueled by Voyager Innovations, the digital arm of Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and PLDT, TackThis! is an online store creator that allows Filipino entrepreneurs to set up a fully functional online shop in just a matter of minutes.
TackThis! allows sellers to showcase products, manage store inventory and accept payments through a variety of providers. Advanced features include analytics, so sellers can have actionable data by which to generate more sales; marketing and promotions to entice customers to buy and buy more; and customer support to make it easier to facilitate interaction and address consumer concerns.
More than these set of convenient features, TackThis! allows sellers to easily “tack” their store to Facebook and other websites. With TackThis!, sellers are able to not only post their products to social media sites and blogs but they can now actually sell them as they post because the platform allows them to integrate their store to various channels seamlessly.
TackThis! is a natural fit for OFWs according to Mitch Padua, vice president for digital commerce at Voyager Innovations.
Path to entrepreneurship
“Most OFWs erroneously assume that they have to wait until they return to the Philippines to begin their business. WithTackThis!, they can start selling online in the present, and in fact, do so only in a matter of minutes. At its core, then, TackThis! is not just a means to create stores – it’s a path to entrepreneurship,” said Padua, who added that the natural mindset of OFWs is very entrepreneurial.
While most of the OFWs in attendance at the event were not necessarily tech oriented, they were very keen on creating their own online store, particularly given how easy it was to do so via TackThis!
The TackThis! team shared best practices and tagumpay stories in the world of ecommerce. Such advice was especially well received when coming from Ginger Aganon, the co-owner of Xplo Adventure Shop and a former OFW herself. While many people assume you need a physical store before opening an online one, Aganon did the opposite: She started selling via TackThis! and then established several brick-and-mortar locations in Metro Manila as she became more and more successful with her online venture.
“What I wanted to convey to the OFWs is that I am no exception. Everyone in the room could achieve what I have achieved, if only they equip themselves with the right tools. On this front, the highest recommendation I can possibly give is to TackThis!, which was not just a storefront creator, but an entire ecosystem that enabled me to be a successful technopreneur,” said Aganon.
Smart Padala business
Smart eMoney also presented the opportunity to start your own Smart Padala business to the OFWs. The advantage of setting up a Smart Padala upon their return to the Philippines, as opposed to another type of business, is the low barrier to entry. All you need to set up a Smart Padala is the requisite government license, an electronic wallet, a small brick-and-mortar location, and only a minimum of 5,000 pesos.
Being a Smart Padala Center allows small business owners to be a one-step center for remittance and payment needs in their community, while providing additional income for their families. These Smart Padala center offers convenience to theircustomers, whether it is on sending or receiving money, loading their prepaid accounts, or paying their bills.
“We want our OFWs to move beyond thinking of themselves as OFWs. When they re-establish themselves back home, we want them committed to becoming entrepreneurs. While it would be nice if they chose to set up a Smart Padala, our goal is really to just get them to see themselves for what they are: leaders with the vision to see a sacrifice through,” said Joshua Jerald Deomano, manager for domestic business at Smart eMoney who spoke at the event.