Lolita, at 54, is still very much hands-on in her general store business. Starting with only PhP 5,000 investment, she was able to set up her store, and for the past twenty years, this supported their family's needs along with her husband's income from being a driver.
As with any micro-entrepreneurs, Lolita faced various challenges in running her business. There had been a time when income became low owing to competition in her area, as well as failure to collect credit sales. It was at this time, in 2011 that she was invited by a neighbor to join SEED. After passing the membership process, Lolita was able to avail a loan and invested this on her store - this time, adding up products that were not available in other stores in her area.
From then on, and with access to microfinance, Lolita is able to improve her business. To date, aside from the general store, Lolita also sells ready-to-wear clothes, electronic load for mobile phone and accessories. From her last loan, she was also able to have display cabinets for her store constructed. With her current loan, Lolita is aiming to buy vegetables, dried fish, sugar and cooking oil in big volumes as these are demanded in the community and not readily available from other stores.
SEED, founded in 2004, is a microfinance organization in the Philippines that operates in the metro Manila area.
In addition to loans, SEED provides saving services, business development classes and skills trainings. About 90% of SEED’s active borrowers are underprivileged poor living in depressed, urban areas.