As it extends the reach of money remittances to far-flung areas, Smart Padala seeks to provide entrepreneurship opportunities to small store owners.

Lawrence Ferrer, vice president and head of domestic business at PayMaya Philippines, called on Cebuanos to put up their own Smart Padala centers and earn extra income in the process.

“We believe that entrepreneurship is a great equalizer. Having a negosyo, no matter how simple, enables families and communities to achieve an improved quality of life,” he added.

Becoming a Smart Padala ka-partner is easy, said head of domestic remittance business Butch Conejos.

Smart Padala Lawrence Ferrer
EARN EXTRA. Lawrence Ferrer, vice president and head of domestic business at PayMaya Philippines, calls on Cebuanos to put up their own Smart Padala centers and earn extra income.

Smart Padala business

“You don’t need sophisticated equipment. Even if you only have a legacy phone and Smart SIM card, you can already start a Smart Padala business,” he cited. A Smart remittance center will also require a small capitalization of between P5,00 to P10,000 and a physical store, such as a sari-sari outlet.

John Lois Inoc, who once dreamt of holding a P1,000 bill in his hand, now has a lucrative Smart Padala center and a travel agency.

On a good month, Inoc said he earns between P30,000 to P50,000 from his remittance center in Talisay City. Inoc has been running a Smart Padala Center for six years and also owns the Jicon Travel and Tours Agency.

Partners needed

The unique thing about the Philippines, said Conejos, is it’s geographically dispersed.

“Napakarami nating isla. (We are made up of several islands.) Many who work in cities have families in the provinces. A big percentage also works abroad. They all send money to their families,” he said, citing this is why remittance centers are needed.

Unlike the big names that dominate the money sending business, the Smart Padala of Paymaya Philippines is an open network and welcomes partners. Paymaya Philippines is the digital financial services unit of PLDT and Smart Communications. The requirements to becoming a Smart Padala center are simple and no processing fees are needed, according to Ferrer.

Smart Padala Cebu Butch Conejos
EASY TO START. Butch Conejos, Smart Padala head of domestic remittance business, says becoming a Smart Padala ka-partner is easy and does not require sophisticated equipment.

Complementary services

He added that aside from remittance revenues, Smart Padala Ka-partners can also earn from complementary services like selling telco load, loading up of PayMaya and Smart Money accounts, and facilitating bills payment.

Many successful entrepreneurs start small but think big, said Carlo Calimon, a Go Negosyo Angelpreneur and a PLDT SME Be The Boss Awardee.

“You do not need to have a large sum of starting capital. All you need to have is a keen eye to spot opportunities and the grit and determination to turn them into negosyo ideas,” added Calimon, a founder of various ventures. The Smart Padala, according to him, is one negosyo that has high potential but is easy to set up and sustain.

Smart Padala Cebu event
SMART PADALA PARTNERS. Officials of Smart Padala, PayMaya and Smart Communications. Inc. with 3 of their partners during the media event in Cebu. In the photo are: (from left) Mervin Wenke of PayMaya, Butch Conejos, Lawrence Ferrer, Smart public affairs senior manager for Vis-Min Atty. Maria Jane C. Paredes, 3 local Smart Padala partners including John Lois Inoc (3rd from right), PLDT SME Be the Boss awardee Carlo Calimon, and Nick Wilwayco.

Pamaskong Padalow

Conejos said they will soon incorporate international remittance in Smart Padala. He added that the Visayas still needs more coverage when it comes to remittance centers, and that they plan to add 1,500 to 2,000 more to the existing 15,000 Smart Padala touch points all over the country

For the Christmas season, Smart Padala introduces an early treat called Pamaskong Padalow to Filipino families and hardworking breadwinners. It allows consumers to enjoy lower remittance fees up to December 2016.

Nick Wilwayco, PR and communications head of Voyager Innovations and Paymaya, said that at first glance, the Smart Padala initiative might seem to be about solving remittances challenges especially in unserved areas. She added that it also about giving people access to the digital economy.

Marlen is the editor of and co-founder of Cebu-based journalism startup InnoPub Media.

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