Let’s get in touch.
We’d love to hear from you.
It is always an honor to cross paths with fellow entrepreneurs who are open to share their amazing stories. I am amazed by how people rise from the challenge of poverty. With hard work, determination and resilience, many Filipinos are able to build their dreams of success. A lot of micro and small entrepreneurs are born out of survival situations. These are the stories that should be passed on to all Filipinos.
The life journeys of the Mictroentrepreneur of the Year awardees of Citi are a great source of inspiration. One very touching example is the story of National Masikap category winner Ester Lumbo from Negros Occidental, owner of A&E Native Bag Products.
In 1994, Ester’s family faced their biggest trial. Their newborn, the only daughter and third child, was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition. This pushed them to leave their hometown and move to Metro Manila for their daughter’s operation. To pay for the expensive surgery, medicines and therapy for recovery, Ester’s family borrowed money from family and friends. For their living expenses in the city, Ester’s husband also took a sewing job that paid P100 a day. With all their sacrifices and prayers, their daughter’s operation was a success. They decided to return to their hometown after her full recovery.
When they returned to Negros Occidental, Ester’s family was buried in debt. They were at a point when they resorted to eating bananas and camote for their everyday meal. To start getting back on their feet, Ester and her husband made pandan mats and bags for their neighbors. Since pandan was a very common plant in their province and may be harvested freely, they started their own pandan bag-making business. The couple had no formal handicraft training but the skill they had was passed on by Ester’s father-in-law.
The future became brighter for Ester and her family when they were introduced to a microfinance program of the Negros Women for Tomorrow. Through the Project Dungganon program, Ester was able to borrow her first loan of P3,000. She used the money to create more bags and handicrafts to sell. The demand for their products increased. Ester was also able to scale up her production through her succeeding loans. She bought machines and contracted more workers.
With the help of family and friends and the mentorship of her microfinance institution, Ester’s business grew. Today, Ester employs 30 workers. Her products are sold in Cebu, Bacolod and even in Hawaii. They now have enough resources to send all of their four children to universities. Their daughter who underwent a heart surgery is now about to graduate from college. Ester is indeed thankful, as she ponders on how an elementary graduate like her can be blessed with a profitable business and an amazing and supportive family.
Another incredible story is Ismael Adiaton’s. He received the special award for Green or Sustainable Enterprise. After 13 years of working as an OFW in Saudi Arabia, Ismael came home to the Philippines in 1992 to start his dream of owning his own business.
He invested P1.5 million of his savings in putting up a hardware store. With a friend as his partner, Ismael also ventured into the construction business. After only two months, the hardware was robbed. Ismael also lost half a million pesos when his partner betrayed him and ran off with the money.
With blows that could have disheartened or caused anyone to give up, Ismael did not stop trying to achieve his dreams of a successful negosyo. He and his wife opened a junk shop using P1,000 as initial capital. From a junk shop, the business evolved into a can-recycling venture. This became the start of their journey towards success.
The can-recycling business started when they began buying scrap cans and tin plates. These are then cleaned, processed and modified into reusable paint cans. In 2007, First Macro Bank granted his first loan of P19,000. He used this to buy more scrap cans. His good credit payment granted him his latest loan of P150,000. Ismael was then able to purchase a second-hand truck and additional manual machines. He also opened up a bakery, a sari-sari store and two carinderias.
Ismael’s business is officially registered and he provides employment to 30 people and their families. Ismael’s resiliency did not only allow him to achieve his dreams and to help his community, it also led him to a business that advocates waste management and environment preservation.
We would also like to share the story of one of the finalists of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards. Aside from having the same name as the one of our former presidents, Corazon Pineda-Aquino is the owner and chief finance officer of the Baguio-based enterprise C & Triple A Supermarket Inc. For her, it was a humbling experience to be recognized together with the great entrepreneurs of our country.
Six months after getting married, Cora was pregnant with their first baby. With a blessing on the way, the newly-married couple had a hard time making ends meet. Cora’s husband was a banker and she had no job. When their child was born, there was a time when they would run out of milk even only a few days after payday.
Cora started selling eggs in their house and peddled in sari-sari stores, while her husband sold in the office. A few months after, they were able to get a small store in the market where they sold frozen foods, eggs and meat. From there, the business grew. When Cora’s husband retired, they used his retirement pay to invest in a stall in the city market.
However, everything came crashing down when the Baguio City public market was burned down. All their inventory and supplies were reduced to ashes. They had to start from scratch again.
Once more, Cora peddled in the market. When they were able to earn enough money to put up a store, they spotted a small space in the public market, which became the main branch of C & Triple A. A few years later, they were able to enter the distribution business and they opened a second branch of C & Triple A. It took them several years after the fire to pay their debts and to take their business to where it is now.
From a backyard business, Cora was able to establish a successful venture that continues to grow. Her businesses now employ a total of 200 people. She is also very open about the story of how they struggled to get where they are now. “I want to share our story. Let’s not forget that as entrepreneurs, we have in our hands the key for others to reach their destiny,” she said.
Very true indeed.
Contact me: email@example.com or Joey Concepcion Facebook account. Visit www.gonegosyo.net. Watch the top rating entrep show GO NEGOSYO: Kaya Mo! on QTV, Saturday and Sunday 8-8:30 am, with replays in NBN every Tuesday 9:15-10:15pm. Get daily Go Negosyo Text Tips in your mobile phone by sending GONEGO to 2910.