Wherever you go in Mindanao, you can see foreigners on leisure or business trips to different parts of the island. Some of them are temporarily or permanently residing here, the so-called “ex-pats”. They consider Mindanao as a very good place to live, and many are married here. You can live and support a family very comfortable here with a small pension from abroad.
But Mindanao is also a good place to establish a business. There are a lot of options for the foreigners who are entrepreneurs at heart. Independent businessmen are very much welcome. Whatever business idea, high or low budget, there are many opportunities waiting for you.
However, you need to study the possibilities and obstacles carefully before jumping in. Laws apply to everybody and some cities, have their own local ordinances which you have to consider. Research, ask, give it time and you will know how and where to begin.
If you are thinking of just finding a job here you have to know that this is almost impossible. The government is very cautious about foreigners seeking work in Mindanao because there are already so many well-qualified locals fighting for jobs. And the salary is low. But this will of course benefit you if you find your niche and start up a business.
There are many opportunities presented as each city in Mindanao continues to grow and develop. I have foreign friends who have entered both the franchising schemes and export of local produce and they are doing well now. But the start-up period was at times very hard for most of them. But by showing respect and interest in the local environment and culture, they were able to minimize the attitude differences and managed to build up trust. A must if you want to succeed here.
As much as possible try to fit in with the locals and at the same time be a good role model when it comes to business ethics. We are an island moving towards a better future and need all the boost we can get. Fair deals and concern for the employees are ideals we embrace, and we hope that all who is starting up businesses here will contribute in that matter.