SERDEF: help for start-ups and small enterprises

First published at imomOnline on October 25, 2011
by Chats Siao

Do you often find yourself mulling over a business idea, but not knowing how to get started?

Are you employed, but now want to spend more time with your family while still being productive?

Are you one of those who believe that entrepreneurship is the way to a “better life”?

Before my husband became a businessman, he worked several years as an employee. Like most entrepreneurs-at-heart, however, he started feeling discontented and wanted to be his “own boss.”

And so he ventured out on his own.

He had several business ventures; most were initially successful. But somehow, something always turned bad and the businesses became unsustainable. In short, lugi. In fact, it was lugi x 4.

Four businesses – all flops.

But he never gave up. He firmly believed that when you are down – deep, deep, deep, deep, deeeeeeep down (no, I’m not exaggerating, we got that low) – there is no other way but up.

With this mantra, he persisted and kept looking for business opportunities.

Our business today has to do with the construction industry. It is doing fairly good now, though it wasn’t like this when we started 4 years ago. The first 4 years were bumpy and full of challenges – not encouraging at all. But my hub, he just kept on.

Aside from his indomitable spirit, hub would not have made it this far if not for help from financial institutions, business partners and friends who supported him.

And that is what I am writing about today: help for start-ups and small enterprises.

SERDEF: Small Enterprises Research and Development Foundation

Businessmen who are just beginning need all the help they can get. Likewise, SMEs (small/medium enterprises) constantly need assistance in financing, training manpower, improving technologies – essentially, at getting better in what they do.

That is why there is SERDEF.

The SERDEF was founded in 1976 to assist in the promotion and development of entrepreneurship and small and medium enterprises in the country.  In particular, it aimed to complement what its partner GO, the UP Institute for Small-Scale Industries, is doing for the small business community.

SERDEF’s vision is to build an enterprising culture within Philippine society and thereby increase the pool of citizens who will seek to generate income and jobs through entrepreneurship and self-employment. (Quoted from the SERDEF Website)

SERDEF, an NGO, is a resource hub for mSMEs (micro, small, medium enterprises). The website,, is rich with information for entrepreneurs and aspiring ones.

There’s a “Beginner’s Kit”, which includes articles on writing the business plan, how to register a business, credit programs available for SMEs, and even a comprehensive A-to-Z list of business ideas – from A for Apiary to Z for Zeroxing, there are over a hundred ideas!

For those who need business advice, email them your questions and you just might be featured in the “Rx for Small Biz” section.

The SERDEF site regularly features success stories of businessmen/women from all over the country. It’s when we read stories of Aling Nenita’s puto-kutsinta and sapin-sapin pre-mixes (which are now “exported” from Davao to Manila), or an ex-OFW who becomes a techno-preneur, or how Letty’s Buko Pie became what is today that we get get inspired. And the business idea you’ve been toying with comes to mind again. Maybe I can do it too.

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