Mastercard and Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading superapp, announced the “Small Business, Big Dreams” regional program to digitally upskill workers and small businesses in the gig economy in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. The collaboration is part of the Strive Community, a global philanthropic initiative developed by the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and Caribou Digital. The Strive Community aims to support the resilience and growth of five million small businesses around the world.
The regional Small Businesses, Big Dreams program includes the launch of two online business courses for Grab drivers and delivery partners looking to start new businesses, as well as small business owners looking to thrive in a competitive digital economy. It aims to enable small businesses to reach their full potential by helping them digitize their operations, unlock their access to financial services and participate more effectively in the digital economy.
“Many Southeast Asians working in the informal sector are striving for more, but the reality is many of them do not have the means or opportunity to access quality training programs. Through our partnership with the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, we hope to give gig workers and small businesses a boost. Our Small Business, Big Dreams program provides them with business knowledge and practical skills through a structured learning journey tailored to their needs and areas of interest,” said Cheryl Goh, Group Head of Marketing and Sustainability, Grab.
“The digital economy offers a range of possibilities and opportunities that can help businesses of all sizes become more resilient and thrive. Mastercard is excited to partner with Grab on this initiative, which will strengthen digital capacity and inclusion for emerging entrepreneurs and small businesses post-pandemic,” said Payal Dalal, Senior Vice President of Social Impact, International Markets, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth. “Mastercard is committed to bringing 1 billion people and 50 million micro and small businesses globally to the digital economy by 2025. Today’s announcement follows the success of Mastercard Academy 2.0 in Indonesia, Business Cell in the Philippines and BSR Wage’s HER Project Digital in Cambodia and Care Ignite in Vietnam, bringing millions of small businesses access to technology, training, mentoring and financial services have,” she added.
Small businesses play an important role in the Philippines, contributing up to 40% of GDP. Although 80-90% of Southeast Asia’s small and medium-sized businesses lost income due to COVID-19 lockdowns, many have avoided the blow of digitalization, with online business profits recovering faster. This resilience is designed to bring this micro-learning program to a plethora of small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs across the region.
Tailored courses to promote entrepreneurship in Southeast Asia
The two new online courses, namely the Driver Entrepreneurship Toolkit and the Small Business Toolkit, were created based on survey results from over 885 driver partners and 100 small businesses in the country.
“I want to know about the prices and expenses – it seems complicated. Commodity prices fluctuate over time. As entrepreneurs, we should be trained in correct pricing so you don’t lose money or go over budget,” said a 34-year-old coffee shop owner from the Philippines.
A 43-year-old empanada seller from the Philippines added, “I don’t know what to post on my social media business channels and I’m not sure if my content is right for my audience.”
For driver partners, the three most popular training topics were 1) how to grow business and increase profits (62%), 2) how to start a new business (59%); and 3) how to market the business online (30%).
“I am interested in how to found a company with little capital. Today many people don’t have the budget due to the pandemic. I also want to know how to expand a business without having to shell out huge capital,” said a driver partner of Grab in the Philippines.
“I want to learn the general knowledge of digital marketing because I don’t have a basic knowledge of it. I also need to learn how to pack items and how to sell items and how to sell them,” added another driver and partner from the Philippines.
To fulfill these aspirations, Mastercard and Grab have engaged leading local small business experts such as Tumbu, WISE and Bayan Academy to co-develop the online courses. The courses, each consisting of 20 short video lessons, provide practical steps to overcome the challenges small businesses and young entrepreneurs often face. It also offers meaningful and relevant insights from local industry experts and peer business owners, a favorite learning format of surveyed driver partners and small business owners.
“For MSMEs to reach their highest potential, they must innovate – and digital innovation is what the Grab and Mastercard initiative is about,” said Basil Soriao, Executive Director, Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Development, Inc “It aims to democratize access to digital innovation, equips MSMEs with knowledge and skills to achieve digital transformation and empowers MSMEs to participate in the digital economy. These innovations enable MSMEs to grow and expand and contribute to the quest to build the nation from the ground up.”
The training videos are available for free to all Grab partners on GrabAcademy via the Grab Driver and Merchant super apps. Driver Partners and Small Businesses receive Certificates of Completion upon completion of each module.
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