Packworks Partners with Help.NGO for Starlink Connectivity in Catanduanes

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PackWorks and Help.NGO Provides Starlink Connectivity to Sari-Sari Stores

Packworks, a Filipino startup that offers a business-to-business (B2B) FMCG marketplace for sari-sari stores, has introduced SariLink in partnership with Help.NGO, an international non-profit organization. The initiative aims to deliver fast and reliable Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Connectivity through Starlink Internet to address the digital gap and support local entrepreneurship in the Philippines. 

During its pilot phase, the partnership between Packworks and Help.NGO has installed LEO communication terminals in select micro-retail stores in Catanduanes. This strategy empowers small entrepreneurs in remote areas to become digitally connected by utilizing innovative solutions provided by the Packworks platform. 

The SariLink program is designed to bridge the digital gap that micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) often encounter due to unreliable internet access. 

(From left to right) Jose Felix, Operations Officer, Help.NGO; Hubert Yap, Co-founder and Chief Platform Officer, Packworks; Cynthia and Joven Icaonapo, sari-sari store owners and SariLink beneficiaries; Matthew Cua, Innovation Director, Help.NGO; Loida Gamban, Field District Manager, Packworks. (Image source: Packworks)

Despite recent advancements, the Philippines still lags behind neighboring Southeast Asian countries in terms of internet connectivity, as highlighted in the World Bank’s “Better Internet for All Filipinos” 2024 report. Challenges such as affordability, speed, and accessibility contribute to the disparate digital landscape, particularly in rural regions.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) also reported that internet access and speed are significantly lower in rural regions in the Philippines, underscoring the challenge of reaching geographically isolated and rural areas across the countryside. 

With the newly established LEO connection through Starlink, offering speeds of up to 220 Mbps download and 80 Mbps upload, stores in Catanduanes gain access to digital tools for streamlining operations. These tools include pricing management, inventory tracking, digital payments, and inventory financing services to facilitate business growth.

Participants in the SariLink program will receive support in optimizing their operations and expanding their businesses effectively. The initiative utilizes Amazon Web Services (AWS) data analytics to monitor sales growth and assist store owners appropriately.

Cynthia Icaonapo, a beneficiary sari-sari store owner from Pandan, Catanduanes, expressed gratitude for the improved business management brought by the LEO connection through Starlink. Following the installation of the LEO Internet terminal, Icaonapo’s store experienced a significant increase in transactions compared to the previous month.

During an interview, Icaonapo stated that before using the system, they manually recorded each customer’s purchase and only used mobile data, which was slow in their area. They are now very grateful to have been connected to Starlink Internet because it has dramatically simplified their daily transactions.

“Noon, manu-mano naming sinusulat ang bawat pinamimili ng mga customer at mobile data lang ang gamit namin na mabagal sa aming lugar. Kaya laking pasasalamat namin at nakabitan kami ng Starlink Internet dahil mas pinadali na nito ang bawat transaksyon namin sa araw-araw,” said Icaonapo.

The partnership aligns with Help.NGO’s Technology Advocacy and Resilience Programme, which aims to enhance the resilience of vulnerable communities worldwide through strategic technology use. The collaboration reflects a commitment to bridging the digital divide and promoting grassroots-level economic resilience and sustainability.

Packworks Co-founder and Chief Platform Officer Hubert Yap emphasized the partnership’s role in advancing the digitization of the Philippine economy. Both Packworks and Help.NGO share a dedication to promoting financial and digital literacy at the grassroots level, aiming to build stronger and more resilient communities.

The SariLink program, currently in its one-year pilot phase, seeks additional partners and funders to expand its reach to other rural areas across the country.

About Packworks

Packworks is a startup company that provides a business-to-business (B2B) platform that is easy to use, has low bandwidth, and has a light footprint that will allow sari-sari store owners to become more efficient in managing their business. 

Founded in 2018 and started as a solution for multinational companies in the Philippines to connect with neighborhood stores, the platform has now transformed into a way out of poverty for the millions of sari-sari store owners across the Philippines. 

Packworks empowers sari-sari stores through scalable and accessible technology. Its team is composed of dedicated developers, programmers, and technicians who work to put the power back into the hands of the people at the heart of Filipino communities by providing them with digital opportunities previously only available to big companies. 

Packworks is driving toward a more progressive, connected, and inclusive Philippines by bringing technology-based solutions to one million Filipino sari-sari stores.

Disclaimer: articles and their external content are not financial advice but are only used for educational purposes. Always Do Your Own Research (DYOR) First. Reporting is not endorsing. We are here to deliver unbiased news with less intrusive ads.

Ed Umbao

Founder of | co-Founder of

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