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[FUNDING NEWS] Philippines-Based Packworks Raises $60K in Government Funding

A Filipino company called Packworks has obtained $60K from the Philippine government to introduce an AI-powered precision marketing tool for “sari-sari” retailers, or local mom-and-pop shops, that would cost $85,000.

The Philippine Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development Startup Grant Fund Programme has provided research funds, the company announced in a statement on Thursday.

With this investment, Packworks will be able to construct a precision marketing model powered by machine learning that will offer sari-sari retailers personalised recommendations on sellable items and promotions from Packworks’ fast-moving consumer goods partners. The model will be developed with a budget of PHP 1.5 million ($25,000).

“Through this AI-powered model we will develop in partnership with DOST, we aim to equip small entrepreneurs with data-driven insights and targeted strategies for enhanced business success and expansion,” said Packworks Chief Data Officer and Project Lead Andoy Montiel.

The announcement claims that Packworks’ Sari.PH Pro app would offer the AI-powered feature as an in-app service. It is anticipated that this will help the app’s network of more than 270,000 sari-sari retailers around the Philippines.

“We are elated to be collaborating with DOST through a shared vision to energize the grassroots retail industry in the country,This public-private partnership will be instrumental in addressing the unique challenges faced by sari-sari stores, providing them with the tools and insights needed to thrive in a competitive and increasingly digitized market,” Packworks Chief Executive Officer Bing Tan said.We look forward to leveraging AI-driven solutions to empower these stores, enhance their operational efficiency, and drive economic growth at the grassroots level,” he added.

In order to use artificial intelligence and provide over 1.3 million micro retail outlets countrywide with data-driven inventory management solutions to boost business growth, Packworks, a Filipino startup, offers a business-to-business (B2B) FMCG marketplace for sari-sari retailers.

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Although around 94% of Filipinos rely on sari-sari businesses for their daily necessities, it is observed that these establishments frequently encounter difficulties like poor financial management, a dearth of useful customer data, and poor marketing strategies.

Moreover, the current lack of an efficient method for obtaining premium promotions from FMCG manufacturers—like price breaks or customised item packages—hinders store owners’ ability to successfully attract and keep customers.

Micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises comprise a significant 99.5 percent of all commercial establishments in the Philippines, including sari-sari stores.

The 18-month partnership with DOST intends to improve digital capabilities for more micro-retail establishments nationwide and promote the expansion and prosperity of entrepreneurship.

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In order to assist companies in the technology sector, the SGF Programme develops early-stage technologies into products that are ready for the market.

The programme, which is currently in its second cycle, keeps encouraging innovation in a number of areas, such as education, the creative industries, data-driven technology, climate change, and tools for increasing productivity.

About Packworks

Packworks mission is to empower Filipinos to transform their lives through inclusive technology, thereby giving back to the mom-and-pop stores known as “sari-sari” stores where they grew up.

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