Entrepreneurial Empowerment: Pioneering Success That Helps Businesses Grow, According to ER Rollan, Co-Founder and CEO of GrowSari

Setting his sights on an underrepresented business sector, ER Rollan started GrowSari—a business dedicated to alleviating the supply chain hurdles faced by millions of sari-sari store owners in the Philippines.

While the country's retail landscape is dominated by large-scale chains, diverse local brands, and just as many international players, it's the unassuming sari-sari stores that emerge as timeless heroes. Located on almost every street corner, about 1.3 million of these neighborhood sundry stores can be found across the Philippines—providing daily essentials for around 94% of Filipinos.

Despite its large numbers, however, sari-sari stores face setbacks that hinder their growth—with supply chain issues a prevalent concern. After all, as small-time businesses that are commonly run by families, it can be difficult to get the same suppliers as most retail chains do, with minimum order quantities reaching the thousands and having not a lot of capital to work with.

The result? Sari-sari stores are forced to buy from these groceries—procuring supplies that allow very minimal markup, given that these goods have passed down many middlemen already.

While touting convenience for millions of Filipinos, unfortunately, these sari-sari stores aren't given the same accessibility as business owners. Handicapped and with little room to grow—yet just as essential as any business—these limitations are what hinder sari-sari stores from growing.

This prevalent pain point is where GrowSari comes in. Led by Co-Founder and CEO ER Rollan, this app aims to eliminate the middleman by becoming an ordering platform for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCGs), while offering a myriad of other services, from free delivery to distributor product prices to sari-sari stores.

In this exclusive interview with The Business Manual, learn about the origins of GrowSari through the lens of ER Rollan, and how this social enterprise continues to champion the underdog through its many initiatives.

Knowing Your Purpose

Before starting GrowSari with fellow founders Oggy Ogonowski, Shiv Choudhury, and Sid Kongara, Rollan had a thriving career in Singapore, where he worked in a corporate job.