Young people are often left out of formal banking systems, especially those out of school. They are unable to access financial services, which usually require maintaining balances and documentary requirements that vulnerable youth who want to start small businesses cannot afford.
USAID piloted ‘Saving and Internal Lending Communities’ paired with ‘Be Your Own Boss’ in five partner cities to help marginalized youth entrepreneurs have access to much-needed financial services. Both SILC and BYOB were developed by U.S.-based development organizations, Catholic Relief Services and Education Development Center.
Through local TESDA and tech-voc training institutes, SILC and BYOB rolled out to 515 out-of-school youth in the cities of Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, and Quezon City—equipping youth with foundational skills in finance and business.
In only two years, youth groups have saved an accumulated Php620,000 and have loaned out up to Php320,000 which funded household, education, emergency, and small business costs.
Marking the end of a successful pilot, a close-out event was held in Cebu City on May 9, 2023. USAID Philippines Education Director Thomas LeBlanc and Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama joined the ceremonies.
Product samples from youth who have been able to start businesses through the program were featured at the event. Technical-vocational institutes are committed to adopting SILC and BYOB and continue providing the program to their learners in the future.
“We initially thought our group was only about saving. But they also introduced the ‘Be Your Own Boss’ program. We learned how to rotate and grow our savings through entrepreneurship. We took a loan from our group savings to invest and create pumpkin cookie samples. We had two goals in starting this business: to help farmers in the community and also increase their sales as well as to promote healthier eating options,” said Jerhom Trigosa, a member of a saving and lending group in Quezon City, who used their funds to invest in a small business with local farmers.
USAID’s successful pilot initiative has introduced an effective way for Filipino out-of-school youth who want to start small businesses to have access to finance. With innovations in programming and close collaboration with local institutes, community-based financial services are now more accessible to marginalized youth.#