How a retail giant gives back to smaller enterprises 

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 2) — SM Store wants to give back to the businesses that helped it grow to a large nationwide retail chain— the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

"MSMEs will always be a part of the SM DNA... not everybody believed in SM as a starting company. It was the small enterprises, the small suppliers that believed in us and started it going," said SM Store President Chelo Monasterio in an interview with CNN Philippines.

And that's why the retail giant continues to help smaller businesses grow.

"We do product development with them, we help them identify what it is that their business can provide for us. We develop it then we give them access to market," Monasterio said.

SM also provides training, capital and analysis to their small suppliers.

In turn, MSMEs have helped SM grow its in-house brands— Parisian shoes and Kultura crafts.

"Kultura works with many MSMEs across the country. They work with women artisans in Tondo and indigenous people in Mindanao. It's a showcase of the beautiful products that we have in the Philippines today," she said.

The SM Store currently works with 1,500 MSMEs nationwide.

Humble beginnings

In 1958, the late Henry Sy put up the first ShoeMart store in downtown Manila. This was followed by the Makati, Cubao and Quiapo branches.

In 1985, SM branched out from being a single-store establishment to a mall with SM North Edsa. This was the first SM mall that had an SM department store inside.

To date, there are 63 SM stores and 75 SM malls.

The retail giant continues to work with smaller brands as it aims to establish four more SM stores this year.