How can we help small businesses grow during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The COVID-19 pandemic saw an increase in the use of digital currencies around the world. With people trying to lessen physical contact with others, the financial technology industry has boomed and became a significant part of many businesses as well as our daily lives.

Change in the tech industry is one of the important topics talked about during IGNITE PH. IGNITE PH is the largest international innovation conference in the Philippines. This year, the conference goes online to support the startup and innovation community in the Philippines.

RELATED: LOOK: Online Pitch Competition for Pinoy Tech and Businesses Has Awards Up to Php200,000

Even if financial technology is growing and more people are tapping into its potential, some business sectors still need help and attention they can get to cope with the changing digital landscape.

This sector is the Micro and Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector in the ASEAN region. MSMEs in the ASEAN region are currently at risk because of COVID-19.

pexels photo 92331

Photo: Pexels

(ALSO READ: Facebook grants cash and ad credits to small businesses in the PH)

Moreover, MSMEs are the backbone of ASEAN’s economies, so it is important to give them the special attention they need to cope with the changing times. MSMEs struggle to keep up with digital change, causing them to lose opportunities to grow.

There are still some fundamental infrastructure and knowledge-based issues to be addressed when dealing with MSMEs. In the ASEAN region, factors like slow internet connection, poor data environment, and limited/no digital and financial literacy make it difficult for MSMEs to incorporate financial technology into their businesses.

Makati Skyline Manila Philippines Financial District City Alexes Gerard Unsplash

Image: Alexes Gerard via Unsplash

With this, Leo Shimada-Crowdo, one of the speakers during IGNITE, talked about addressing this problem through a NeoBank Model. Since banks have failed to address the MSME sector, there is a lack of balance between product needs and customer experience.

COVID-19 has shown that digitalization is not something that is no longer optional. The current economy requires Supply Chain Digitalization.

To have a successful NeoBank model, you would need two things. The first is a tech-driven credit scoring model that thrives in a chaotic data environment.  The second is creating a solution that is addressing your client’s needs. It’s to give these clients a solution to help them grow their business.

With the NeoBank model, MSMEs will be able to grow and cope with the changing digital landscape due to the pandemic. In the long-run, this may also help the region as they get to flourish and stay ahead of the changing times.

Check out for details on their next run, and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @igniteph.

What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments.

Do you have a story for the Team? Email us at or send us a direct message at Facebook Page. Interact with the team and join the Community at WIM Squad! Join our Viber group to be updated with the latest news!