Forming An I-Cafe Association
Internet Cafe Association, ICA for short, has internet cafe owners in a city or town as members. As an association that deals a lot with the local goverment unit (LGU), it should have a legal personality to be able to amply represent its members. Therefore, an ICA should register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a non-profit, non-stock corporation. It should also register with the Bureau of Internal Revenue as well as seek recognition of the LGU as a non-government organization (NGO).
Advantages of Having an ICA
Firstly, I wish to categorically state that an ICA should not be formed with the objective of implementing uniform pricing among its members. Experience of ICAs formed in the early days of existence of cafes showed that even having a local ordinance to support such endeavor failed. The PC rental and service rate that a cafe owner can charge will always be subject to the law of demand and supply in the locality.
In one city in the South, they passed an ordinance imposing a floor price for computer rentals but feedback in newspapers showed it failed to get implemented. This only shows that uniform floor price cannot be enforced even by legislation.
Instead of having uniform pricing, an area with a duly-recognized ICA can request their local legislative council to enact an ordinance that will strengthen the implementation of the IPR and OMB Laws (Anti-Piracy Laws). In so doing, the effective implementation of the said ordinance will increase the entry barrier to cafe business. As such, existing cafe owners who are members of the ICA are more or less assured of legal entries of new players who are aware of their capital expenditures and will think twice of starting a price war that is mutually disadvantageous to both old and new cafe owners.
There are many other advantages of having an ICA and I will only mention the most important of them and that is the role it plays in dealing with the local authorities especially regarding the regulations that the LGU will implement. There is no substitute for numbers when you deal with them. Alone, it will be very hard to negotiate but together you can definitely make some breakthroughs.
Organizing an ICA
After knowing the importance of having an ICA, how do you form one in your area if you do not have one yet?
Below are the step-by step procedures in organizing an ICA stated in the simplest way:
A) Create awareness on the need to form an ICA in a specific area.
B) Gather a critical mass of supporters of the move to form an ICA.
C) Incorporate the ICA with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
D) Register the ICA with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR)
E) Elect the first batch of your ICA officers.
F) Get a business permit from the Local Government Unit (LGU)
G) Secure recognition of the ICA by the LGU.
H) Work for the promulgation or amendment of the ordinance on the registration and operation of lanshops in the locality.
I) Get the majority of lanshop owners to join the ICA.
Your comments and queries on this subject of organizing a café owners association are welcome on this space. Write them below and I will do my best to answer them.