KMBI has once again been selected as one of the five awardees of the Digital Champions – MFI Category of the 2nd Digital Financial Inclusion Awards (DFIA). This makes KMBI a DFIA awardee for the second time in a row.

Significantly, KMBI's member client, Marissa Palcat of Tagum Branch, has also been selected as an awardee under the Digital Champions – Microentrepreneur Category of the 2nd DFIA.

A Program Member of KMBI for more than six years now, Marissa tells of a story not only of surviving, but of evolving with the times. She and her husband started their first business of Nintendo video gaming shop in 2001, which soon expanded into rentals of offline computers. With the rise of the internet in the Philippines, they upgraded their offline computer rentals into an internet shop.

Marissa in her computer shop

Facing the challenge of poor internet connectivity in their area, Marissa and her husband put up their own tower with another communication network with the help of capitalization she acquired from KMBI.

Marissa posing with her network tower in the background

She then established several WiFi vending machines, a utility which proved all the more necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic where digital transactions, communications and online schooling system have rapidly advanced. Her business not only withstood, but also thrived during the health crisis.

With the increased demand for internet connectivity and contactless transactions, Marissa and her husband added digital payment, bank transactions, cash-in and cash-out and loading services to their business. Apart from these ventures, Marissa also opened a water refilling station as well as printing and photocopy services.

Marissa poses for picture with her staff in A.J Water Refilling Station that offers a unique refilling vendo machine

Marissa shares this helpful advice to other aspiring women entrepreneurs: “Observe what’s happening in your community, identify the need, find a solution to answer that need, and make it your business. There is no easy way to success; when your business stumbles and encounters challenges, do not stop. Instead, innovate. Always think of and adopt new strategies to improve your business, and lastly, never forget to pray for blessings and guidance from God.”

As an awardee institution, KMBI will receive a cash prize of PhP 100,000. Marissa will also receive a cash prize amounting to PhP 100,000 and a laptop unit to aid in her businesses.

The DFIA is a financial inclusion awards program funded by Citi Foundation, in partnership with the Microfinance Council of the Philippines Inc. (MCPI) and supported by the Bangko ng Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP). The program aims to recognize outstanding innovators in the microfinance industry in terms of digital solutions that produced meaningful results towards the achievement of financial inclusion, leading to economic empowerment of low-income individuals.

The recognition will be held on October 24, 2023 at the Assembly Hall, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in Malate, Manila.