First Circle has been named the Philippines’ sixth most resilient out of 25 companies in the Philippines’ Growth Champions 2023 by the Philippine Daily Inquirer and international market research firm Statista.
This year is the second time we have been recognized among the top companies in the list – last year, we ranked fourth. The companies were ranked based on the highest percentage growth in revenues between 2018 and 2021.
Founded in 2016, First Circle has employed 111 people and helped thousands of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) owners get financing through our product, the Revolving Credit Line. Despite the economic challenges brought about by the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, we managed a 61.6 percent compounded annual growth rate and 321.8 percent absolute growth rate.
Our strategy for continuous growth is to use sophisticated underwriting processes to better identify SMEs with the best businesses and strongest potential for growth. By assigning dedicated account managers to each of their clients, we are able to provide good service and sustainable financing that matches our clients’ business needs, financial capacity, and stage of growth.
We also conduct a consultation call with potential clients prior to application processing to assess if our financing will actually help you grow. Through this and other quality checks, we not only acquire high-quality clients – we also genuinely invest in our clients’ business growth.
The importance of sustainability over profits for us was magnified during 2020 to 2021, when our company adapted our loan terms to each client’s challenging situation. We offered flexible payment terms and loan restructuring for over 300 clients, waived fees wherever possible, and delayed client payments and fees for longer than what was prescribed by the Bayanihan Law.
Being included among the top in the Philippines’ Growth Champions list for the second time is a great honor for us, as it highlights our constant efforts to carry out our mission to help grow SMEs.
The selection process for Inquirer Growth Champions
Companies were informed of the project through advertisements online and in print, and qualified companies registered through the website created by Statista and the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Through research into company profiles and performance data, Statista and the Philippine Daily Inquirer identified and directly invited several companies to join the competition. Invitations were sent through email, LinkedIn and phone calls.
To qualify for the competition, companies must have these attributes:
- Revenue of at least ₱5,000,000 generated in 2018
- Revenue of at least ₱30,000,000 generated in 2021
- The company is largely independent in making decisions and creating sales without major inputs from a parent company or subsidiaries
- The company is headquartered in the Philippines
- The revenue was generated organically between 2018 and 2021
Statista verified all the figures and other data submitted by the participating companies.