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10 Small Scale Business to Start in the Philippines Text Banner

Owning a business offers the advantages of flexibility and the potential to earn more than a typical 9-to-5 job. These benefits are among the reasons why Filipinos are embracing entrepreneurship.

With the ecommerce industry continuing to flourish and low entry barriers, online business has become a favoured choice for Filipinos.

But starting a small-scale business can be an excellent option too if you’re on a tight budget as it requires minimal capital. If you’re searching for low-cost business ideas to start in the Philippines, here are some suggestions you can consider.

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1. Sari Sari Store

A sari-sari store business is one of the most common small scale businesses in the Philippines. It can even be argued that it’s the most common one because you can literally find a sari-sari store on almost every street in the Philippines. 

Commonality aside, setting up this type of business is very easy since you can set up a sari-sari store right in front of your house.

What is a sari-sari store?

The term “sari-sari” loosely translates to “variety,” which means that these stores sell a wide variety of items. From laundry detergent and powder to snacks and sweets, a sari-sari store can offer just about any type of everyday product.

When managed properly, a sari-sari store can be a lucrative source of income, with an average net profit margin of around 20%. This is one of the many reasons why Filipinos choose to start their own sari-sari stores.

Why choose to start a sari-sari store?

There are many reasons why Filipinos put up sari-sari stores. 

Low cost

One advantage of starting a sari-sari store is its low cost. In fact, 93% of sari-sari store owners set up shop in front of their own homes, which saves on renovation costs.

Small inventory

Another benefit is that you don’t need a large space to run a sari-sari business. Unlike convenience stores, a sari-sari store can operate in a small space with a minimal inventory.

This means that you don’t need a lot of money to stock up on inventory, and the estimated initial capital for one week’s worth of products can be as low as ₱10,000.

2. Cosmetic Business

The beauty industry in the Philippines is worth a staggering ₱152 billion, with projected revenue expected to reach ₱317 billion by 2023. With such promising figures, capitalising on this lucrative industry is another great business idea for you.

One of the safest and best small-scale business ideas related to beauty in the Philippines is reselling.

Why reselling cosmetic products is a good idea

Low capital investment

Low capital investment is required to start a reselling cosmetic business, with costs as low as ₱5,000 PHP. This means that even those with limited funds can enter the beauty market.

Low risk

The cosmetic reselling business also has a low-risk approach to retail. With a low capital investment, entrepreneurs can gain experience in the retail industry by starting with reselling beauty products.

Reselling is a popular concept

Reselling is a popular concept in the Philippines and is widely accepted. Filipinos are more likely to purchase resale products, making it a profitable venture for those who choose to start a reselling business in the beauty industry.

3. E-loading Business

Another similar concept to reselling is the E-loading business. It is also regarded as one of the easiest and safest small scale business ideas in the Philippines.

What is an E-loading business

The e-loading business involves selling phone credits or “loads” to customers in need of them. This is one of the most affordable small businesses to start, with a low investment cost of just ₱2,000. Despite its low cost, it has the potential to generate a significant amount of extra income on the side.

Why start an e-loading business


Physical presence is not a requirement to sell phone loads. By setting up an online store, you can start earning profits from the comfort of your home or even while working at the office.


Filipinos require phone loads on a daily basis, whether it’s for sending messages and making calls or using mobile data. This means that there is a constant demand for these services, ensuring that your business will always have customers in need of your products.

4. Ukay-ukay business

Ukay-ukay business is also one of the best and most cost-effective small scale business ideas in the Philippines. You can start an ukay-ukay business for as low as ₱3,000.

What is a ukay-ukay business

Ukay-ukay stores are renowned for their massive heaps of second-hand clothing that customers must rummage through to score a bargain. These clothes are typically imported from other countries and are sold at incredibly low prices.

Why start a ukay-ukay business

Popular amongst Filipinos

Shopping at ukay-ukay stores is a favourite pastime of many Filipinos because it offers the excitement of discovering one-of-a-kind and stylish clothing pieces, all while providing an affordable way to shop for clothes.

Thrifting culture

Purchasing thrift items has become a popular practice among Filipinos, and shopping at ukay-ukay stores in the Philippines offers a distinctive shopping experience unlike any other.

5. Food cart business

The food cart business is gaining popularity among Filipinos due to its simple management and low startup costs, as setting up a food cart business is relatively uncomplicated.

What is a food cart business

In the Philippines, the food cart business is categorised as a mobile food service that operates from a cart or kiosk, as opposed to traditional restaurants that are typically housed within buildings or shopping centres.

Why start a food cart business

Low capital investment

Starting a food cart business requires a relatively low capital investment as compared to traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants. This makes it accessible for individuals who may not have access to large amounts of funding at the start.

Strong demand

The demand for quick and affordable meals is high in the Philippines, especially in busy urban areas. This means that there is a large potential customer base for food cart businesses.


The flexibility of a food cart business allows for mobility and adaptability. Food carts can easily be relocated to areas with high foot traffic or events with large crowds, providing opportunities for increased sales.

6. Coffee stand

A coffee stand is a fantastic way to get your small scale business up and running with minimal start-up costs. It is also a great business idea due to the growing demand for specialty coffee and the country’s love for coffee.

What is a coffee stand business

A coffee stand business is a type of food service establishment that serves coffee and related beverages from a small, portable stand or kiosk.

Why start a coffee stand business

Filipinos are coffee lovers

Filipinos are reputed for their love for coffee, and many relish the experience of hanging out or working at coffee shops. Nonetheless, these shops can be pricey, and not everyone can spare the time to sit and savour their beverage. This is where coffee stands come in – they provide a convenient and cost-effective alternative for individuals who need their caffeine fix while on the go.

Low cost to start

Starting a coffee stand business in the Philippines is also a relatively low-cost venture. Unlike opening a traditional coffee shop, a coffee stand requires minimal equipment and can be set up in a small space.

7. Baking Business

Another fantastic small scale business concept that resonates with Filipino culture is centred around a beloved indulgence: desserts. If you have a passion for baking and enjoy treating your loved ones to your delicious creations, you might want to consider starting a baking business in the Philippines.

What is a baking business

A baking business specialises in producing and selling baked goods. This can include a wide variety of products, such as bread, pastries, cakes, and other desserts.

Why start a baking business

High demand for baked goods

Filipinos have a sweet tooth and love to indulge in baked treats. This means that there is a high demand for baked goods in the Philippines.

Cultural significance

Baked goods hold a special place in Filipino culture, especially during celebrations and holidays. This means that a baking business can tap into this cultural significance and attract customers looking for traditional Filipino baked goods.

8. Stationery and printing business

The printing business is in high demand in the Philippines, especially for marketing materials and business necessities. Tarpaulins are a crucial part of many Filipino occasions, such as birthdays, corporate events, weddings, and funerals.

What is a stationery and printing business

A stationery and printing business is a type of business that offers printing services for various materials such as business cards, flyers, brochures, posters, tarpaulins, and other promotional materials. It also includes the selling of office and school supplies, such as paper, pens, folders, and other related products.

This business caters to a large pool of customers ranging from individuals to companies, schools, and organisations who require printing and stationery supplies for their daily operations and events.

Why start a stationery and printing business


The stationery and printing business can offer customisation and personalisation services, something that many customers seek for their printed materials.

Showcase your creativity

Providing personalisation services is an excellent chance for you to display your creativity, helping you to differentiate your business and make your offerings unique in the market.

9. Photography Business

The photography business is another type of event-related venture that is crucial for occasions such as birthdays, weddings, family shoots, and prenuptial pictorials. With the high demand for professional photography services, starting a small-scale photography business can be a viable option if you have photography skills and a keen eye for detail.

What is a photography business

A photography business provides professional photography services to clients such as event photography for weddings, birthdays, and other special occasions, portrait photography for individuals and families, commercial photography for businesses, and more.

The goal of a photography business is to provide clients with high-quality, visually appealing photographs that capture special moments or promote a product or service.

Why start a photography business

High demand

The Philippines is a rapidly developing country with a growing economy, creating a demand for professional photography services. Many businesses, from small startups to large corporations, need professional photos for their marketing materials, websites, and social media accounts.


The Philippines is a country with a rich culture and diverse landscape, which can provide numerous opportunities for photographers to capture stunning images. The country has a variety of beautiful beaches, mountains, historical landmarks, and colourful festivals that can be great subjects for photography.

10. Online Selling Business

Finally, setting up an online store is probably the most ideal platform to launch a small-scale business, given that most of the options mentioned earlier (excluding sari-sari and food cart businesses) offer some form of online operation.

With the ecommerce sector constantly expanding, it is only logical to leverage this space for business growth.

What is an online selling business

An online selling business operates primarily through the internet, selling products or services to customers via online platforms, marketplaces, or your own personal website.

Why start an online selling business

Low overhead cost

Starting an online business requires minimal investment compared to traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, as there is no need to rent a physical store or hire a large staff. This can lead to significant cost savings that is vital for small scale businesses that have limited budgets.

Wide customer reach

With the increasing penetration of the internet and social media in the Philippines, an online selling business can potentially reach a wider customer base beyond the local area, including customers from other regions or even other countries.


Online selling businesses provide convenience for customers who can browse and purchase products or services from the comfort of their homes or on their mobile devices, 24/7.

Start your small scale business today

Starting a small-scale business does not have to be daunting, especially if you have limited capital. Many of the business ideas mentioned earlier can be started without requiring a significant investment.

In addition, if you choose to operate your business online, Shopboxo offers a simple and free way to set up an online store in just minutes, which can further reduce your expenses. Don’t hesitate any longer, start your small-scale business today!

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