SEC intensifies capital market promotion to help small businesses raise funds

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has intensified its initiatives in 2023 to promote the use of capital markets as an accessible funding source for small businesses through the conduct of year-long roadshows nationwide.

As a result of its series of roadshows on Capital Formation for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Start-Ups in 2023, the SEC was able to encourage MSMEs to participate in crowdfunding, generating millions in capital for hundreds of small businesses.

Crowdfunding is a method of fundraising where money is sourced from a large number of investors—usually through an online platform. This allows investors to access investment opportunities and enables start-ups and MSMEs to access new sources of funding for their businesses.

In 2023, 146 companies raised capital totaling about PHP 427 million for 1,114 projects through the crowdfunding initiative. Of the total, 37 companies were participants in the SEC’s recently concluded roadshow.

Meanwhile, 314 more companies have expressed interest in raising capital through crowdfunding, after participating in the roadshow spearheaded by the SEC Office for the Advancement of Strategic Investments in SMEs (OASIS) in Baguio, Tarlac, Manila, Legazpi, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod, Tacloban, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga.

“The SEC transformed the capital market into a more accessible financing oasis for small businesses, as our year-long nationwide roadshow proved to be a success in attracting MSMEs and startups toward innovative fundraising options,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said.

Several small businesses have testified to the crowdfunding initiative’s effectiveness in opening up more opportunities for business expansion as it helped small businesses gain access to both capital and financial guidance.

Aside from crowdfunding, the nationwide OASIS roadshow highlighted financing options through the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) as part of the Commission’s 888@88 goal.

Under this goal, the SEC targets to have at least 888 companies tap the capital market in time for its 88th anniversary in 2024.

The roadshow generated a total of 10 new leads for listing in the PSE, promising a healthy pipeline of capital-raising activities next year.

Following the success of the roadshows, the SEC launched the Call-a-Friend and Engage with SEC (CAFE SEC) platform to allow roadshow attendees to connect with crowdfunding intermediaries and the PSE for inquiries pertaining to their financing needs, and additional information on capital market-based products and services.

Since the approval of the first crowdfunding license by the SEC in December 2020, a total of 1,584 companies have already registered as issuers with the licensed crowdfunding intermediaries.

Of the total, 333 of these companies have successfully raised capital totaling PHP 1.94 billion for 1,143 projects.

Among the registered issuers were Investree Philippines, SeedIn Technology, Inc., and Eastern Securities Development Corporation (Round One).

“I commend the SEC for their outstanding work in taking up the challenge of expanding our capital markets, making it more broad-based through digitalization and strengthened corporate governance. The roadshows allowed MSMEs to showcase their potential to prospective funders, opening them up to more opportunities for growth,” Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said.