The Philippines has a booming economy, and some sectors are leading the way with dramatic growth. If you get involved in these sectors of the economy, you might face a bright future. If you’re ready to start your own business or already own one and are looking to diversify, you could hardly do better than to invest in one of these fast-moving industries. As a bonus, most of these industries still have relatively low entry barriers, so the getting has never been better.
A stroll through Manila tells you all you need to know about the local construction industry. In just the fourth quarter of 2016, construction in the Philippines grew by 11%. That’s considerably higher than the national average of 8.2%, and there’s no sign it’s slowing soon. Even outside of major cities like the capital, there are signs of major growth in the building trades. With revenue flowing into the country from overseas investment, both commercial and residential builders can expect to keep busy for the foreseeable future.
Getting in on this booming sector is arguably easier than entry into any other promising field in the Philippines. The need for labour is serious enough that almost anyone with a strong back can start as a roofer or a site cleaner for a general contractor. If you have even a little training, you can find work as an apprentice in one of the trades, such as plumbing or electrical work. From there, it’s a smooth ramp up to owning your own business. Say, for example, you put in three years learning drywall. If you’ve saved enough for a truck and some supplies, you’re a few bits of paperwork away from striking out on your own as a painter or remodeler.
Manufacturing jobs have started shifting away from mainland China, and they’ve been landing in the Philippines thanks to affordable labour and raw materials. What were once small artisan shops have blossomed into international producers of consumer goods, and you can get in on that.
Assuming you have some space for a shop, it’s fairly easy to find piecework under contract for a major international brand. Bench for instance, uses local workers to produce their clothing, much of which is exported overseas at a markup. To do this, they frequently contract with local one-person shops that are free to expand as they like when the work picks up. When you find yourself hiring help to meet your orders, you might be ready to launch your own brand, or diversify into another field of cottage manufacturing such as keepsakes and furniture.
Throughout its history, the Philippines has always been popular with tourists (except Magellan). Western countries have historically sent tens of thousands of tourists to the Philippines’ beautiful beaches and remote mountains. These tourists are now joined by Chinese and South Korean, Japanese and Malay middle-class tourists, and the local industry has expanded in response.
You don’t have to own a four-star hotel to benefit from local tourism. If you drive a jeepney or carve traditional slingshots for visitors to take home with them, you benefit from tourism already. The sky’s the limit for ideas when you want to get in on tourism. Say you’re still just starting out and have no capital to speak of. Do you know how to play Sungka? Can you imagine a French tourist paying for lessons with you? You just became a freelance tourism professional. As you grow, consider branching out into other foreigner-friendly fields, such as guided tours and translating, and you’re halfway to that hotel on the beach.
The Philippines’ booming economy has created jobs and opportunities past generations could only dream of. By getting in on one of the fastest-growing industries around, you can pave the way for a successful future as an independent entrepreneur.