The journey to digitising 67 million SMBs: Voices from Asia Pacific
39-year-old Asminiwati's hometown of Lombok in Indonesia recovered from an earthquake in 2018, only for Covid-19 to strike in 2020. Her husband then lost his job during this time, which meant the homemaker had to think of new ways to financially support her children and family.
Starting a small business selling homemade cassava snacks was tough. So, when she had the opportunity to be a part of the Accelerate program offered by Visa with The Asia Foundation and AT&T, Asminiwati welcomed it because it could provide her with much-needed business and digital training to take her business off the ground.
“Applying what I have learned from the Accelerate program, my products became more known, and our marketing widened. My products are now stocked at the shops and stalls around my area. I am planning to build a production house to grow my business,” said Asminiwati.
Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) like Asminiwati found themselves needing to adapt and digitise in recent years, especially in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. But not all of them had the resources or skills to do so.
The Accelerate program that helped Asminiwati is part of a commitment made by Visa in June 2020 – to digitally enable 50 million SMBs globally within three years. Nearly 67 million SMBs have been digitised since, with 29.6 million or 44 percent coming from Asia Pacific.
Modernising family-run businesses
Visa’s partnership with Payable helped Manjula to digitise his wholesale furniture business in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. With more customers asking if they could pay for their furniture purchases with installments, devices from Payable and Visa enabled him to do so.
These digital systems have breathed new life into Manjula’s family-run store. Today, he offers group sales by setting up stalls in schools, hospitals, and offices where people can pay with their cards and split their payments into convenient installments.
Manjula is optimistic for the future: “This business was started by my grandfather. I expect to develop it as much as possible and hand it over to my son. I hope that he will take it from there to the future generations.”
Improving customer experiences with simplified payments
Boriz Garbuz left his country of Ukraine for Australia in 1980 and has been a taxi driver there for 35 years. Over time, he has seen the way customers pay for rides change. He appreciates the simplicity of digital payments, such as through terminals offered by Visa and Live Payments that make taxi rides better for him and his customers.
“It makes my job a lot easier and (customers) don’t have to carry any cash. They just touch and go. Even elderly people who used to like to pay with cash have all got credit cards because Covid-19 discouraged them from using cash. I have flexibility with payments, and I don’t have to go to the taxi depot so often, which means I can do a lot more fares,” said Boriz.
Keeping a childhood dream alive
Van Loc Do is the founder of AutoCare, a car care workshop chain in Vietnam. A car enthusiast, he started his business to help car lovers like himself access high quality care for their vehicles. But the pandemic put both his aspirations and his employees’ livelihoods at risk.
With fewer customers showing up at the door, he decided to go to them. Using mobile Point-of-Sale (mPOS) devices from NextPay, Van Loc Do provided door to door services while ensuring seamless card and digital payments for customers.
“Thanks to the devices, customers can easily pay anywhere, helping us expand into door-to-door services. As a result, our customers are more satisfied with our services. Today, I can continue building AutoCare and give enthusiasts the best quality of service.”
SMBs form 95 percent of all businesses in Asia Pacific and employ over half of local workforces. Visa is deepening our commitment to SMBs across APEC and the world, including a pledge of $100 million to support underserved and women-led SMBs in APEC economies over five years.
Read more Visa's accelerating support for SMBs here.
Find out more about how we help grow your business at the Visa Small Business Hub.