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Startup Tips: Advice for setting up a business in the Philippines

The thriving industrialized economy in the Philippines is attracting investors from across the globe, with large corporations, including IBM and Intel, moving some of their operations to the country to optimize their activities and operations. It also offers ample and unique opportunities for budding entrepreneurs to start their own business in the country. If you have plans to register a new enterprise, then you will have to meet certain regulatory requirements and take legal and bureaucratic issues into account to prosper.

Formative plans and advice

There are 16 procedures that need to be navigated when setting up a business, and this process takes around 36 days to complete. Gaining construction permits is a much longer process, typically 84 days, and involves 29 procedures and close correspondence with the City Planning and Development Office and other government departments. There are also eight procedures spread across an average of 39 days to register a property. It must be noted that business culture in the Philippines is focused on building personal relationships, so be prepared for plenty of small talk and long meetings. You should also invest in online templates for the brochures and other documents you may need.

Sole proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the simplest way to start a business for individual entrepreneurs as it doesn’t require extensive government regulation. If you are over 18 years old and a Filipino citizen, you can begin your venture by applying for barangay permits and clearance, which is affordable and can be completed within one day. You then need to attain a Department of Trade in Industry Registration by visiting your local DTI office and applying for one. Once registered, you will receive a certificate, which can be presented to other offices and third-parties. DTI BNRS will then send a Transaction Reference Number Acknowledgement, which can be used to support your application for bank accounts and city permits. This process should be completed whether you want to start an online business or set up physical premises.

SME businesses

If you want to launch an industrial or commercial enterprise with more than ten employees and substantial start-up capital, then you will have to address more legal hurdles. The first stage will require you to get in touch with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to verify and reserve your company name. You must then deposit the minimum capital of 5,000 pesos at a bank before registering with the SEC and obtaining a pre-registered Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN). Once again, you will also need barangay clearance. The next stage involves the City Treasurer’s Office providing you with a community tax certificate. You also need to pay the annual community tax at this time, though this process can be completed within 24 hours. The final few steps include obtaining a business permit from the BPLO, buying account books for cash receipts, etc., applying for a TIN and Certification of Registration, paying any documentary stamp taxes and registration fees, and gaining the authority to print invoices and receipts. Once these steps have been completed, you can register with the Social Security System, Philippine Health Insurance Company, and Home Development Mutual Fund.