Featured Company: StartNow [transcript] [audio]

Guest: Aldrin Enrile

Presenter: Henry Acosta

Guest Bio: Aldrin Enrile is a graduate of De La Salle University in Metro Manila. He is currently the Head of Communication and Incorporation Services at StartNow. He’s been with StartNow since 2013 and has helped the company with gaining more clients and easing their transition into the Philippines marketplace.

Segment Overview: StartNow is not your usual outsourcing and offshoring firm. They are a company that helps both foreign and local clients get introduced into the Philippine market by providing the right tools, requirements and staff to help ease their presence in the business industry here in the Philippines.

Address: Level 10-1, One Global Place, 25th Street & 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig 1632 Philippines

Contact:  (Phone)+63 2 2244 330 ; (Fax) +63 2 2242 001 ; [email protected]

Website: www.startnow.com.ph

To know more about StartNow, listen to the podcast below!

Our talk with Aldrin Enrile begins at the 17:40 mark of the podcast.


Henry Acosta:  This is the Outsourcing and Offshoring Philippines podcast and I am Henry Acosta, the host of the podcast. Our guest today is the Head of Corporations and Communications at StartNow. StartNow is a part of the V Office Group of Companies and what StartNow does is they make it easy for anyone from anywhere around the world to live the dreams of starting up a business or getting into the Philippine market. The Head of Corporations and Communications is Aldrin Enrile. Welcome to the show Aldrin, it’s great to have you on.

Aldrin Enrile:  Hi, thank you for having me.

Henry Acosta:  Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself and what exactly does the Head of Corporations and Communications do at StartNow?

Aldrin Enrile:   Basically what I do for StartNow is to help foreigners and locals to understand what they’ll need when you start your own business in the Philippines. As you may or may not know, the Philippines does not rank very well in terms of the level of easiness of starting your business in the Philippines. We’re here to basically make it easy for starters to register the business.

Henry Acosta:  You guys handle both local and foreign clients.

Aldrin Enrile:  Yes, that’s correct.

Henry Acosta:  How does that tie in the outsourcing industry in the Philippines?

Aldrin Enrile:  So how outsourcing comes into play with this, is basically there are some foreigners who are not allowed to do business in the Philippines. Why they’re not allowed to do business in the Philippines is because of limitations. There are several rules that we have to take into consideration when you register your business in the Philippines. There’s such a thing called the negative list which basically lists down the list of industries, foreigners may and may not participate in. Outsourcing comes into play in terms of helping support these foreigners such as managed operations. What is managed operations or managed staff? They’re basically two different things. If you cannot register your businesses in the Philippines or if you cannot have an entity to do business here, they have the options to try out the market first through managed operation. Say, there’s a client who wants to try out the market but they don’t have an entity here and when you do not have an entity here, it means you do not have the means to withhold tax for your staff. You cannot do all those mandatory things that a normal employee should have, right? Paying for your SSS, your PhilHealth, your PAG-IBIG, you cannot do all of those stuff if you do not have an entity here. What a managed operation will do or managed staff will do is basically hire these employees as their own employee but actually do the job for a different company. So, in that case, they’ll be able to function as a normal Filipino employee in the Philippines with paying their tax, paying for your SSS and PAG-IBIG. That’s how managed operations or managed staff works.

Henry Acosta:  That’s very interesting. You guys are sort of like a middle man to a foreign  company and you guys assist them with hiring staff here in the Philippines.

Aldrin Enrile:  That’s what we do. Basically, if you can register your business in the Philippines, great. If you can comply with the requirements, great. But if you can’t, then there’s an option to try out the market or operate through managed operations.

Henry Acosta:  That’s very fascinating. I’ve never had a company like you guys here on the show. That’s amazing.

Aldrin Enrile:  If you are not aware of this, there are actually several companies who operate with managed operations. Basically, their business model is to operate other companies.

Henry Acosta:  I’m sure we can’t name those companies on the show, because of legal repercussions. Because of that, let’s say you guys have a prospective foreign client, how many employees do you usually get when they start up with you guys?

Aldrin Enrile:  It depends on the capacity of the office space as well. Most of these companies they have a floor to themselves and they operate, serving several companies, so they can only have as many as the floor can fit. As long as there’s a space available for the employees who work in, then they should be able to work.

Henry Acosta:  Are you in collaboration with outsourcing firms?

Aldrin Enrile:  Yes. Since StartNow is basically the medium for helping people establish in the Philippines. We have several partners or several business solutions such as HR, hiring, recruitment, accounting and even call answering services. Where do you want to start?

Henry Acosta:  That’s a lot. It’s good to hear that there are variety of options for people who are having a hard time getting in touch with Filipino staff. You are doing a really good service for those businesses that don’t really have the right opportunity to register here in the Philippines.

Aldrin Enrile:  When people come to us, they have no idea with what they want to do. Well they know what they want to do but they don’t know about the requirements and the responsibilities. Our job is to educate them about the requirements and their responsibility as business owners. If they cannot comply with the needs, we can provide the support. It’s not just about the support in terms of manpower. Basically, if you want to save cost, you can go to StartNow as well because we’ll help you find the right partners for your business such as call answering. If you have a call answering support, basically you won’t have to be hiring anyone. You don’t need a staff to do that call answering job when you can just outsource it.

Henry Acosta:  That’s one of the benefits of outsourcing here in the Philippines, not just the cost cutting though, but also the effectiveness and efficiency and how we help them transition from onshore to offshore.

Aldrin Enrile:  That’s correct.

Henry Acosta:  For our listeners right now who want to talk to you, what do you think they should know before they talk to StartNow?

Aldrin Enrile:  Before they call StartNow, they can just ask us anything basically. If you want to start your business in the Philippines or if you are a foreigner thinking of entering the Philippines, we can help you out. We’re basically the right person to go to or the soft landing place for you. We will provide you everything that you will need when you come to the Philippines.

Henry Acosta:  Sounds great. For foreign clients, what are the usual challenges that they face when they start outsourcing here in the Philippines? I mean just so your prospective clients who are our listeners can have an idea of what it’s like to work with StartNow and what they can expect.

Aldrin Enrile:  Basically, we try to make it as easy as possible and limit their visit if they need to visit our office. We can actually do transactions online. We’ve had several clients who did not even have to come to our office and meet us face to face. We’ve helped them with their business just through emails. Basically, they just have to comply with the requirements. These requirements are sometimes the requirements from the government which we do not have control of and one of that is to have at least five incorporators. When you register business here in the Philippines such as a corporation, you need to have at least five incorporators. Incorporators, meaning five people to start business with, five names, five individuals. And for foreigners who are entering the Philippines, they may not not even know any locals here, right? So, you see the dilemma here. For example, I’m a foreigner who wants to enter the Philippine market. I want to be able to do business in the Philippines but I do not know anyone. The Philippines requires five individuals to start a corporation. Our sole proprietorship though, a type of registration for an individual is mainly for local. If you want to register for sole proprietorship as a foreigner, you’ll be required a big amount of money which startups or people starting out their business do not even have. If I’m not mistaken about $2,000,000 (2 point something million US dollars) as paid up capital. These are the restrictions and basically the downside of, it’s not a downside, what’s the word? It’s basically one of the factors that makes it difficult, the challenges. If you do not have this 5 Filipinos and you do not want to go for sole proprietorship which requires two million something US dollars, then you can go for a foreign corporation. A foreign corporation would just need one individual, however this requires another an amount of money which is $200,000. And $200,000 for a start-up or someone who’s starting up is a big money, that’s P11,000,000.

Henry Acosta:  Yeah, that’s a ridiculous amount of money.

Aldrin Enrile:  These are the restrictions that, the challenges people wants to come in the Philippines. We give them options, we give them several options to register their business. They can come in the Philippine market, just try it out, go register with StartNow and we introduce them with other investors. They can join our events where they can meet people and these people may possibly be future business partners.

Henry Acosta:  I think you are doing a great service all around the world by helping foreigners build a business or helping them get into the Philippine market. Your company name makes sense now because you are really helping them start now with their businesses, especially here in the Philippines.

Aldrin Enrile:  There’s really no better time to start your business than now.

Henry Acosta:  Aldrin, I’m sure at this point our listeners are really interested and probably invested already in talking to you, so what’s the best way that people can get in touch with you Aldrin and talk to the people at StartNow?

Aldrin Enrile:  They can just call me at 632 224 2000.

Henry Acosta:  Awesome. The website is www.startnow.com.ph.

Aldrin Enrile:  That’s correct.

Henry Acosta:  That’s all our questions for today and thanks for coming on the show today, Aldrin. I really appreciate it and I had fun.

Aldrin Enrile:  Thank you for having me.

Henry Acosta:  That was Aldrin Enrile, Head of Corporations and Communications at StartNow, part of the V office group of companies. What StartNow does is they help foreign entrepreneurs get into the Philippine market by assisting them and introducing them to how the business industry works here in the Philippines. If you want to visit them, make sure to go to www.startnow.com.ph. And also if you liked this interview and you want to learn more about the BPO industry in the Philippines and actually find out about the companies behind the BPO industry, you can visit us at www.offshoring.com.ph. By the way, we have Youtube channel so you can find us there on Youtube. We also have a Facebook and Twitter and Google+. Make sure to follow, like and subscribe to all our social media platforms. Follow us for tips on becoming a better outsourcing partner or finding the right outsourcing firm. With all that said, this is the Outsourcing and Offshoring Philippines podcast. I’m Henry Acosta. Thanks for listening.