THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has introduced easy and accessible funding options in the capital market for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and start-up companies in Negros Island.

In Bacolod City on Friday, June 16, 2023, at least 150 participants joined the roadshow on capital formation hosted by the SEC-Bacolod Extension Office at the L' Fisher Chalet.

Commissioner Kelvin Lester Lee said there are "multiple other ways to raise capital" for those who want to engage in business or for business expansion.

"It's not just about bank loan, it's not just about borrowing from one's parents, or anything like that. There are other viable ways -- crowdfunding, raising capital through IPOs (initial public offerings), among other things. You have options and we want to encourage our friends from the provinces to look at these as an option," he said in a press briefing.

Crowdfunding refers to a fund-raising activity, where the public can support or fund a business idea through an online platform.

In the Philippines, the SEC regulates crowdfunding activities through the Rules and Regulations Governing Crowdfunding provided under SEC Memorandum Circular 14, series of 2019.

During the roadshow, three SEC-registered crowdfunding intermediaries, including Investree Philippines, Seedin Technology Inc. and Round One, presented opportunities for participating MSMEs and start-ups.

"Our role here is to promote the capital market in the provinces and present to businesses that there are other ways of raising capital. Being the regulator, we want to make sure that the environment for crowdfunding intermediaries are sound and safe," Director Vicente Graciano Felizmenio Jr. of the Markets and Securities Regulation Department said.

The IPO listing with the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) as a way for growth among SMEs was also discussed by officials from the PSE, Investment and Capital Corp. of the Philippines, and MerryMart Consumer Corp.

"We have to balance the capital market. We have to make the business thrive but at the same time be the investor champions," Director II Annabelle Corral-Respall of the SEC-Bacolod Extension Bacolod said.

In Negros Occidental, there are 18,498 registered corporations, including 11,146 stock corporations; 6,273 non-stock corporations; and 1,079 partnerships, which represent 83 percent of those registered in Negros Island.

Over at Negros Oriental, some 3,797 corporations are registered, of which 1,957 are stock corporations; 1,556 non-stock corporations; and 284 partnerships, which comprise the remaining 17 percent. (PNA)