In the Philippines, 700,000 sari-sari stores (sari-sari is the Filipino word for “many or various kinds”) make up 30-40% of total retail sales. These small, individually-owned convenience stores and retail outlets are the means by which low-income neighbourhoods obtain everyday goods.
But due to supply chain inefficiencies, the goods cost up to 20% more for the poor than for those who can easily afford them. Hapinoy, a play on the words “happy” and the colloquial word for Filipino “pinoy”, is a program that provides cheaper access to goods and training and support for rural sari-sari stores.
In 2006, television host turned social entrepreneur Bam Aquino and business partner Mark Ruiz co-founded MicroVentures Inc., the social enterprise that partners with micro-entrepreneurs and launched the Hapinoy Store Program, upon realizing that 15-20% of microfinance borrowers use loans to expand their inventory. Hapinoy first focused on aggregating sari-sari stores to get bulk discounts on supply.
In order to do this, each cluster of stores in a specific town would convert one sari-sari store into a Community Store that acts as the point of entry, servicing 100 to 120 smaller stores. This distribution platform allows a more affordable, diverse range of products for the rural poor and the opportunity for small producers to access a wider market. Products aimed at the bottom of the pyramid market (those living on less than $2 a day) including solar lanterns, mosquito nets, and eyeglasses are also distributed through Hapinoy.
For store owners, most of them being female entrepreneurs, Hapinoy requires that each sari-sari store has been operating for at least six months to join the program. Then within six months of joining, they are provided training and support aimed at increasing sales to USD $10,000 each month. Twice a month, Hapinoy members attend Samahan Meetings led by Community Stores to share learning points and discuss business opportunities.
At the 2012 Sankalp Forum in India, a global platform that catalyzes impact investments into sustainable and scalable social enterprises, Hapinoy was named the Sankalp Awards winner for the South East Asia category.
“We at Hapinoy are very humbled and honored with this recognition from Sankalp. We look forward to sharing the Hapinoy program as a new way to empower women micro-entrepreneurs while simultaneously bringing solutions to the base of the pyramid,” explains Mark Ruiz.
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