Raise Capital for Entrepreneurs in the Philippines

by Opportunity International
Capiz, Philippines
Capiz, Philippines

In November, Typhoon Haiyan – one of the worst tropical storms on record – hit the Philippines. The typhoon devastated the island nation, destroying homes and businesses, and affecting more than 13 million people, including five million children, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. An estimated 4,000 lives were lost and nearly 4.5 million were displaced. The typhoon also took houses, businesses and loved ones away from thousands of Opportunity clients.

It’s an unimaginably difficult situation for survivors – but Opportunity International is there to help. Microfinance can play a significant role in rebuilding the island nation, by delivering financial support to the most vulnerable. Opportunity immediately created the Philippines Rebuilding Fund to ensure that the individuals and families affected have the financial assistance to recover.

While aid organizations must continue to provide lifesaving services now, we must also think about where survivors will be one year, two years, and five years from now. This fund will give survivors the support they need to reconstruct their homes, restart their businesses and restore their livelihoods. It will provide resources for long-term efforts, including emergency loans and assistance to local partners that help communities regain their economic health. Opportunity has worked in the Philippines since 1981, so we’ll be there assisting recovery every step of the way.

Learn more about the Opportunity Philippines Rebuilding Fund in this MSNBC artcile from December 24, 2013: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/how-rebuild-the-philippines

Donate now to the Rebuilding Fund: http://www.globalgiving.org/projects/raise-capital-for-entrepreneurs-in-philippines/.

Following years of growth in outreach, Opportunity lost some ground in the Philippines in 2012, due to the substantial impact of two typhoons on our clients and lending portfolio. With a healthy portfolio, and every reason to be hopeful about the future in Philippines, we anticipate renewed growth in 2013. With your support we can help more people like Manila businesswoman, Concepcion*, who makes 10 types of ceramics products in her small rented shop. With the help of several Opportunity loans, Concepcion purchased clay, paint and equipment such as a mixing machine and rented a larger shop. She now employs seven workers and produces an inventory of hundreds of products, including delicate bowls, colorful mugs and decorative statuary. She sells her work in boutiques and shopping malls, as well as exports it to the U.S., Australia and Germany. The increased revenue from her business as a result of her loans has allowed Concepcion, her husband, Jesus, and her three children, Christine Joy, Jesse and Charme, to live more comfortably. Christine Joy is currently enrolled in university studying psychology, while Charme will study business management once Christine graduates. Jesse stays at home to help support the family. A few years ago, Concepcion's husband was involved in an accident that left him disabled. The event strengthened the family's resolve to support each other. "Despite my husband's physical condition, we have a successful business," she said. "We pray God will guide us every day." Concepcion pays it forward by sharing her business knowledge with members of her church. She advises them on how to price items and manage a business. She says she is thankful for the blessings God provides her and looks forward to a brighter future. Opportunity International is privileged to work with exceptional clients like Concepcion, who use a small investment to transform their lives, families and communities.


*the identities of the beneficiaries have been changed for privacy


The Philippines is a country of tremendous diversity of languages, religions and cultures. Thirty percent of its 95 million people live in dire poverty. While the country has made great strides in development, 60% of the population is still employed in the informal economy, running small businesses not recognized by the government and eking out a living day to day. These are the people who need microfinance.

Opportunity International started operations in Manila in 1981, and currently serves more than 740,000 loan clients through nine institutions covering most of the islands of the Philippines. Opportunity International is currently serving 34,000 loan clients and 41,500 savings clients from a number of service locations throughout the Philippines.

Meet Concepcion, one of Opportunity’s loan clients in the Philippines. 


Partnering with Opportunity has enabled Concepcion to transform her life and she is so thankful for the chance to make things better for her family. Now in her seventh loan cycle with Opportunity, she has gone from creating ceramic artwork alone in a small shop, to employing seven other people from her community to make pieces that she exports to Australia and the United States.

The business training Concepcion received from Opportunity helped her make this change, and she believes in passing on her knowledge to help others in her community by giving them advice and support. Her three children are all in school, and her eldest will soon graduate from college with a degree in psychology. Concepcion uses her business profits to take care of her children, her parents, to continue growing her business, and to save for the future. Her next goal is to purchase a storefront so that she no longer has to rent her workspace.

We’re proud to come alongside her to help her achieve her goals. Your contributions to Opportunity have empowered women all over the Philippines, just like Concepcion. With your support, we are able to continue helping people in the Philippines begin to make a sustainable living and support their communities. Your donation has provided a more secure future for many!


Conchita grew up in a small, rural village in the Philippines and experienced many hardships throughout her life. Having left school at 13 because her family could not pay the fees, she worked as a laborer before getting married at age 16. Sadly, when three of her nine children became ill, she couldn’t afford to pay for the medicine they desperately needed, and they passed away. Now, with the help of several small loans, Conchita has been able to work her way out of poverty – she now owns 1,200 ducks and 2½ hectares of land growing rice. 

You helped support Filipino Farmers - In the Philippines, more than one-third of the country’s population depends on agriculture and fishing for income. Currently, TSPI is offering agriculture loans to 12,495 farmers, and in the last six months, provided 54 staff with technical training in modern farming practices. Opportunity Philippines tailored agricultural loans, training and technical support to help farmers:  

  • Smooth out seasonal cash flow, hire laborers and invest in high quality seed and fertilizer to improve yield for crops including rice, corn, coconut, onion and sweet potatoes, plus purchase fertilizer and hire laborers.
  • Connect with suppliers and technical assistance providers to help them mitigate risk. 

Client Vivian Zolina and her daughter
Client Vivian Zolina and her daughter

With loans to 934,000 entrepreneurs, nearly 100,000 families saving and 1.5 million insurance policies across the Philippines, Opportunity International continues to increase access to services for those at the bottom of the economic pyramid. An estimated 43 million of the Philippines’ total population of 103 million live on less than $2 a day.

Your gifts empower parents to improve the lives of their children through the achievement of real economic gains. Parents with increased incomes send kids to school and put more nutritious meals on the table. Your partnership made possible the following:

  • Social and personal development training materials and opportunities that improve health, hygiene and disease prevention for the whole family.
  • Two new Financial Literacy training DVDs to help clients operate profitable businesses.
  • More than 3,000 loan clients who are rebuilding their businesses following Typhoon Helen and the monsoons in her aftermath.  

Thank you for your support that helps parents build a better future for their children!



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Organization Information

Opportunity International

Location: Chicago, IL - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.opportunity.org
Project Leader:
Ally Lynch
Oak Brook, IL United States

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