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While I always stress the importance of money, market and mentorship, I personally believe that mentorship is the most vital. That is why, aside from the success of the Kapatid Mentor Me (KMME) and Kapatid Agri Mentor Me, we continue to develop mentoring programs for aspiring and start-up entrepreneurs such as the Mentor Me On Wheels.
After its successful launch last May 11, we are bringing it to Southern Luzon on June 2 at the SM City Calamba.
From the many successful batches of KMME, I will share with you some stories of micro and small entrepreneurs who were able to scale up their businesses and increase their sales after they attended KMME. Most of the KMME graduates were given loans and equipment from government offices such as DTI, DOST, DA, DOLE and banking institutions like BPI and Security Bank. I am thankful to these institutions as they were also able to see the potential of small businesses to prosper.
Fely Jean Pacris had a vision to start her own business. So in 2014, she started her own resort with only five rooms. After KMME, MASCOOP Training Center and Beach Resort has been able to introduce products made from banana and other tropical fruits and has been able to increase its sales by more than 10 percent. The resort plans to improve its services and establish market awareness. Pacris also received a loan from DOLE and equipment from DTI.
With only a small starting capital, Alexander Parel and his family set Antigua de Madera Furniture in the 1990s. Attending KMME Parel equipped with the right skills to manage his business as he does not depend on others. His business is now more organized because it has a system. He also learned how to handle his employees through modules on human resource management. Additionally, he received a loan from DOST.
To satisfy his summer cravings, Xavier Mercado decided to start his own halo-halo store in April 2004. With a small starting capital, he started his business. He eventually ventured into Filipino cuisine fused with his Ilocano roots. He got a loan from Security Bank. Now, Halo Halo De Iloko is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations as it also features art pieces from local artists and has caught the interest of TV and magazine programs both locally and internationally. It is also setting up a new branch and intends to build another next year.
Virginia Piano’s family originally wanted to create something special to give to her co-teacher. It also gave her family an opportunity to have an alternative source of income.
With only a meager capital, Virginia Piano started producing products made of muscovado, suka (vinegar), and tubo (sugarcane) in 2005. After KMME, the business improved its product and target market. The Ilocos Sur Cooperative also provided a loan for business development. For Virginia, KMME equipped her with the appropriate knowledge especially for small business owners like her.
Jesus Jose Jr.’s mom originally started the business by making leche flans for her co-workers. She eventually taught him how to do it with their secret ingredient. According to Jose, he had no luck being an employee that is why he tried being an entrepreneur and established Bakeology Sweets Factory. They used to sell their products in bazaars and other local events like the Panagbenga Festival. Just this year, they opened their first physical store in Paciano Terminal and were also able to penetrate 7-Eleven stores in Laguna where they provide two product cycles.
Zam’s Delight Foods started out as a grocery store, but eventually ventured into calamansi drink products. Sheryl Jean Candido and her family developed the flavor according to their own tastes as they used to make calamansi juice to quench their own thirsts. For Sheryl, attending KMME boosted her self-confidence to pursue her business despite competition in the market. The program also helped entrepreneurs to innovate and level up in life. She received financing from BPI and was provided with machineries by DOST.
Maria J’s Coffee Shop and Kitchenette was able to increase its sales, production, and customers. KMME helped Maria Julieta Berces’ business in handling the company’s finances.
Judit Alday-Mangmang started Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative with only 10 employees. After KMME, she hired more than 40 employees due to the increase in the demand for her egg products. KMME helped her to handle her employees and establish a network to market her products. She then developed a framework for her pasteurized eggs which she calls the “Egg-o System.” Additionally, DA also extended a loan for her business.
Leonie Reyes’ Natures Dew Enterprises produces 500 bottles for each of their six variants which will soon be distributed through Rustan’s Supermarkets. It is still seeking additional funding support. Leonie learned how to create and execute better business plans and was tapped to train other aspiring SMEs about financial modules.
Raymond and Lanie Fruits and Vegetables was able to set up four stalls in Robinsons malls and supply its products in Laoag and La Union. The success of Melanie Pinedo’s business paved the way for a house, car, and farm investment and market expansion in Metro Manila.
Every time stories like these are reported to me, it reminds me that our programs are effective in empowering and guiding our MSMES. I hope that with these stories, we can continue to inspire everyone to embrace the entrepreneurial culture and start conceptualizing their own businesses.