Starting a Business

An overview of starting a business in the Philippines...

The Philippines is currently ranked in the bottom 40% by the World Bank in terms of the ease of doing business in the country. So starting a business in the Philippines can be quite a daunting task. Even for Filipinos the process takes at least 28 days to complete. In addition, there are strict restrictions for foreigners setting up a business. It is highly recommended that foreigners wanting to start a business in the Philippines seek advice from an an attorney to go through the process and inform them exactly what the options are.

Who can start a business in the Philippines?

The Foreign Investments Act prescribes a list of economic activities where foreign investment is either completely prohibited or limited to a percentage of equity.

Types of Business Structures

The most common options when starting a business in the Philippines are as follows.

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Corporation

Each type of business structure has its own respective costs, benefits and pitfalls.

There are a number of entities involved in the starting of a business in the Philippines. During the 15 step process the entrepreneur will need to meet with the bank, a notary, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the local Barangay (small municipality), the City Treasurer’s Office, Business Permits and Licensing Office, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Social Security System, the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation and the Home Development Mutual Fund.

Most of the many agencies involved require their own specific documentation, so it is advisable to check with each for the exact requirements.

The Philippines Government website has comprehensive information on starting a business in the Philippines.

Further Information

The World Bank Group has an excellent explanation of all the steps, entities, costs and documentation required to complete the process.