Manila, Philippines

Ask Geri: I’m 20 and I have PHP200K. What Business Can I Put Up?

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Good day. I have been reading your articles for a while now and I have decided to go have my own business. Would you give me suggestions and advice on what kind of business I should venture into? I’m 20 and currently I have PHP200K for my capital. Many people are telling me that I am going too fast and not thinking things through but I think it’s great to start my business while I’m young. Can you give me ideas and advice? Thank you.

– Pat
Ask Geri via Email

Hi Pat,

Sorry for the late response. First, may the good Lord bless you for having PHP200K at age 20. Can you tell me how you did it? Haha.

Like you, I was once too excited to invest and grow my money. But unlike you, I had way less than PHP200K to start with. I encourage you to go through our Beginner’s Guide with the hope that you can get insights on what less risky investments you should set up first before venturing into far risky endeavors such as a business. Foremost will be establishing your emergency funds and getting yourself protected because at your age, protection comes very cheap and you won’t regret it later on when you reach old age (and have your own dependents).

People are just concerned that maybe you are indeed going too fast because the amount that you have is not easy to come by. It is actually good that your mindset is geared towards having your own business, but still I suggest you heed their call, take it a bit slower and more carefully, because one way or another, you might fail, which might scar and scare you from trying again. And of course lose money.


Have you graduated from college already? If yes, seek employment in a field that interests you and waste someone else’s money first for your learning. School and having an actual job are very much different, as such what you learn from your day job can be helpful in your future business.

Be eager, but not reckless. Determined, but not stubborn. Keep on dreaming big, but be willing to start small.

For the sake of argument, let us assume that you are indeed ready to risk such an amount. Let us assume that you are already protected, that you have less risky investments that we recommend in our Beginner’s Guide. What business then?

What are your interests? What are your strengths?  What i it that you love doing, that you’re passionate about? Try conducting a Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis on your self and within the area where you want to put up a business. What is it that you can easily do, do it way better than others, that can address a market demand, without much competition? Be on the lookout for opportunities.

Do you bake, teach, create handicrafts, sell? Are you good in certain software, tech-savvy, in writing, programming, organizing, photoshop, photography? Look within and without. Do you have easy access to suppliers wherein you can act as middleman? Being a middleman or marketer for certain products is actually a relatively easy way to start.

In the 3 Ps of starting a business, you have secured your puhunan. Now the challenge is to come up with a product and a place. Ask yourself, what are you inclined to sell? What product or service?

The amount that you have can also be a good start in franchising small food carts. Are you interested in those? You can inquire with food carts that interest you and some franchisors actually help out in looking for potential locations.

Or do you have opportunities in the provinces wherein you can start a small livestock or farm? Or supply harvests to the city?

Attending business / franchise expos might also give you valuable insight. Entrepreneur PH also has a forum on possible business ideas and ventures.

In hindsight, if I was 20 and I had such an amount, I will definitely not “go all in” in one investment only. Maybe I’ll put half in a low risk investment, then a quarter in stocks and mutual funds / UITF, then a quarter in a small business start up.

But that is in hindsight. If I happen to have PHP200K when I was 20, I would have been very eager as well. Probably reckless and lose some, to my regret.

Whichever you choose, be sure to study the business model and the dynamics of the market very carefully. You may find some more business ideas here. Some more business risks in here.

You are too young and you have a long time to recover whatever failures and losses you may have in the process. But does that not mean you will not try avoiding failure to begin with.

Goodluck and hope to hear from you again.

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