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Freeman Cebu Business

Viber commits to help promote MSME growth

Ehda M. Dagooc - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — Messaging and conversational commerce app Viber is reaching out to the business community in Cebu, particularly the micro-small-medium entrepreneurs expressing commitment to help promote growth in their respective businesses.

In a press conference during the Viber-hosted event dubbed “Pag-andam Na, Cebu; Grow your Business with Viber” workshop, David Tse, senior director for Rakuten Viber in the Asia Pacific region, said the app recognized its critical role in hand-holding modern entrepreneurs in maximizing technology, while they are on their growth journey in the business.

Tse, who led the Viber team during the workshop, underscored that Cebu is one of the global tech player’s major growth areas in the Philippines.

“Engaging with the Viber community in Cebu is part of the company’s ethos of serving users first and foremost,” Tse emphasized.

The app hopes to help MSMEs grow their businesses by leveraging Viber’s features, thus, the Viber team in the Philippines committed to further strengthening its engagement with Cebuano business, including big organizations, like the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), the largest and a prominent local business membership organization in the Philippines, to take a more active role in educating, enabling, and empowering the MSMEs.

Early this year, Viber partnered with Cebu’s biggest homegrown food community and online delivery service Let’s Eat Bai, and local content creator group Bisaya Vlog Squad, providing them with a verified Channel to engage with their communities and offering their followers with exclusive Viber stickers.

The workshop held at Cebu Parklane International Hotel on November 24, 2022, aimed at helping MSMEs in Cebu maximize Viber’s suite of business-friendly features in connecting with their customers and turning them into advocates, tapping new markets, and building their presence online to improve their businesses.

“In the past years, we’ve seen the rise of hyperlocal activities as more Cebuanos have been relying on Viber to keep in touch with their families, friends, and co-workers wherever they are in the world.  We’ve also witnessed how local entrepreneurs use Viber in promoting their products and transacting with their customers,” said Lana Macapagal, PR Lead for APAC at Rakuten Viber.

“To further support this emerging user behavior, empowering our MSMEs in the Philippines has also become a purpose and commitment at Viber. We hope to empower our Cebuano entrepreneurs to leverage the app to help better serve their customers and improve their business,” Macapagal added.

According to the Department of Trade and Industry, MSMEs make up 99.5 percent of business establishments in the Philippines. Their crucial role in the country’s post-pandemic recovery and growth couldn’t be more emphasized,” Tse explained adding that supporting MSMEs will not only impact up-and-coming entrepreneurs but also the communities they serve as well as provide employment and invigorate industries. This is why Viber is rooting for its success.

During the workshop, Veronica Feleo, Business Development Manager at Rakuten Viber, shared tips and best practices on how to use the app, allowing Cebuano entrepreneurs to make the most out of the tools available for them in growing their businesses.

Likewise, Karla Banua, Sales Lead - Advertising in APAC at Rakuten Viber, discussed how different businesses can increase engagement and drive sales with Viber for Business.

“Viber develops solutions that help companies reach their audience at each step of the customer journey—in a way that’s convenient for users and effective for brands,” said Banua.

“Equipping them with the proper communication tools and know-how is necessary for them to be able to cut through the noise and reach their customers, especially in this digital age. We hope that through our efforts, we’ll be able to help empower local entrepreneurs in growing their businesses and in effect, serve our users better,” Tse explained.

In 2022, the Philippines posted 244 percent in MSME Viber growth channels, with a 45 percent increase in monthly active users.

During the workshop, Raket Mo ‘To finalists Nova Anuengo-Ayuban and Raymund Guimerey Ayuban, the founders of Gavana Arts and Logo Embroidery, and Da Best of FoodPH grand winners Zee Pono and Rhea Calooy, the co-owners and founders of KAONTANA | GRND UP shared their Pinoy Dream Negosyo journey to inspire their fellow entrepreneurs.

Rakuten Viber is part of Rakuten Group, Inc., a world leader in e-commerce and financial services. It is the official instant messaging and calling app partner of the Golden State Warriors.

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