Archive for the ‘Go Negosyo sa Radyo’ Category

“Lovin’ Lokal: Patok na Christmas Gift Ideas!”

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

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On December 13, 2017, Go Negosyo Radio hosts DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla was joined by Rica De Ramos (Co Founder, Hue Love Prints), Ramil Mendoza (Co-Owner, Unit16sweets) and Marievic Bonoan (Assistant Director, Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion) for an episode discussing great local products to check out this holiday season.

Marieivic Bonoan was the episode’s first guest who talked about the Department of Trade and Industry’s program called Go Lokal.

Go Lokal is a retail concept store showcasing quality and innovative philippine products crafted, designed, and produced by the country’s micro, small, and medium enterprises. It is an excellent marketing avenue provided for free by the DTI and its retail partners for MSME incubation, marketing, and branding. By offering only products of quality, unique design and compelling narratives, Go Lokal aims to inspire our entrepreneurs to level up and meet global standards. It is likewise a vehicle to discover emerging suppliers and new products with high market potential.

Marievic shared that through Go Lokal, many micro and small entrepreneurs are afforded the opportunity of reaching the mainstream market—something that would be quite difficult if they did it on their own. She shares that listing and placement fees for any product found in supermarkets or department stores could reach from five to six figures which would be too high for our micro and small entrepreneurs.

Aside from providing these entrepreneurs to a steady mainstream market, the process of getting to these shelves provided by DTI is invaluable. “First step is to go to your local negosyo center – all towns and provinces have one (…) the center will help you in every step of the way.” From getting your business registered, to marketing, planning and distribution, DTI helps these entrepreneurs fast track their business, acting as mentors, incubators and market providers.

As Go Lokal stocks the best from their trade fairs and products that are of quality and deliver consistently, customers who encounters their many kiosks or stores are treated to a microcosm of the Philippines’ entrepreneurial scene. Coffee from the mountains, chocolates from Mindanao, shoes and bags made from indigenous fabrics and crafted by Marikina’s artisans, and even innovative products such as a seaweed facial wash.

The second guest is Co-Founder Rica from Hue Love Prints—a  small local business which is perfect for gift giving. Hue Love Prints offers a bevy of practical products (i.e. note pads, bag tags, note cards, and pouches) in hundreds of colorful designs and prints. They are made to order so each customer will be sure that what they ask for is exactly what they will get.

Rica shares that her and partner started the business when they were searching for colorful and practical products for gifts. When they saw that there was a gap in the market, they began producing themselves. The road to being the company they are today wasn’t free of challenges of course. She shares that producing the product from end-to-end on their own was too tedious and would eat up there time in producing designs. In order to fast track their production, Hue Love Prints decided to outsource for services like special and quality printing so that they can focus on designing.

The third and final guest is Ramil Mendoza, the Co-Owner of Unit16sweets. Ramil’s business started as a small project with his partner where they put together what they found from different suppliers and sold it to their friends. What emerged was an innovative personalized chocolate business, that can be seen in birthdays, corporate events and weddings. What sets Unit16sweets apart from other chocolate businesses, is aside from offering chocolate bars with a range of flavors (from chili chocolate to sea salt), they also offer personalization of packaging and size, so that people are treated to something sweet & unique, both on the inside and outside of the product.

Unit16sweets has also had their fair share of challenges according Ramil. Because their product is customizable, it’s sometimes hard to translate a customer’s idea into the design of the product. It’s also difficult when many see the business as something like a convenience store. “Design really takes time,” Ramil said. However, he said the key is to just keep smiling and try their best to accommodate and work with the customer. After all, chocolate is a very happy and festive business to be in.

For more information on Go Lokal, Hue Love Prints and Unit16sweets, see:
Go Lokal:

Hue Love Prints:


Three Important Takeaways from the Tax Reform Bill

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

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With the new year comes a new tax system! On December 6, 2017, Go Negosyo Radio hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla were joined by the resident tax expert Mon “The Tax Whiz” Abrea for an episode tackling the Tax Reform Bill and its implications for the Filipino people.

To those who haven’t heard of the tax reform bill that was first proposed by the Department of Finance and is now being processed in the legislative branch’s bi-cameral sessions, it is radically changing the current outdated tax system which weighs heavily on the ordinary Filipino.

During the episode, the three addressed the most pertinent questions and issues regarding the bill to clarify and prepare Filipinos for the change. Here are three key takeaways from the episode:

  • Adjusted tax bracketing means around 5M Filipinos with low wages will become tax-free

Many have heard that those earning monthly wages of Php21,000 and below will be tax-free once the bill passes. This is due to the adjusted tax-bracketing system which will also have those earning an annual income of 8 million and up to be taxed at a higher rate of 35%. For comparison, the current system only gives those with an annual income of 132,000 a free pass on income tax. “An additional 23% of Filipinos will benefit from this reform (…) around five million Filipinos”

  • Micro and small entrepreneurs will benefit the most from this bill

            According to Senator Bam, around 40% of the Filipino people are part of the informal economy wherein they don’t pay their taxes. These are mostly the small and micro entrepreneurs we see working hard to earn their daily income. Due to exorbitant penalties and requirements that wear out these entrepreneurs, many choose not to register in formal institutions, hindering them from accessing much needed formal loans and assistance.

By reforming the current tax system wherein business tax can be paid either yearly or quarterly, and penalties & compliance requirements being reduced, this will hopefully encourage many entrepreneurs to register their business.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue is also working tirelessly on putting their system online. This will aid in reducing corruption schemes that prey on the micro and small entrepreneurs through fixers and surprise penalty fees. The system will also save many Filipinos time in terms of regularly having to visit physical bureaus.
The reform also seeks to exempt micro businesses who are still working towards a sustainable source of income in order to help these businesses scale before they begin paying their taxes.

  • Tax on products are still under review

With the tax reform that seeks to lower tax for those who need it most, the government also needs to raise revenue for its projects such as the Build, Build, Build (infrastructure development). With this, many Filipinos are being warned that prices of products such as automobiles, gas and sweetened beverages will be increased. As much as possible however, the government will seek not to tax products that are prejudiced against the common Filipino. Mon shared certain sectors that should be open to being taxed higher such as corporations and even medium sized businesses.

To expand your knowledge on taxes in general, visit The Philippine Tax Whiz and Center for Strategic Reforms Philippines.

Succeeding in the Bazaar Business

Friday, December 1st, 2017

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To kick of the holiday season, Go Negosyo Radio hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & DJ Cheska Diego-Bobadilla were joined by two of the bazaar industry greats: Vanessa Ledesma of Mercato Centrale and Sandy Allan of Bazaar Pilipinas.

Every Filipino knows that once the holiday tunes start rolling playing everywhere, the inevitable pop-ups of holiday markets and bazaars will begin sprouting everywhere. There’s truly no other country that loves Christmas as much as the Filipino.

In fact, the bazaar and bargaining culture in the Philippines is deeply ingrained in our social DNA. Since time immemorial, Filipinos have largely socialized in a palengke or market setting. This is why the bargaining game or tawad is already taken into account by many negosyantes when selling items.

Another distinctly Filipino characteristic is our love of food. Food is everywhere and our days and social lives also revolve around food and meals. That’s why Mercato Centrale’s formula of upscaling the bazaar concept married with the best food finds was a surefire hit.

Mercato Centrale started in 2010 as a morning market at the Bonifacio Global City in Taguig and eventually grew into a night food market. Vanessa shared that the first inspiration was from the markets in Florence, Italy. Her and her husband, RJ Ledesma, ventured to replicate a similar setting and incubated a lot of stand alone food vendors. Mercato Centrale success stories include Manang’s Chicken, Sunrise Buckets, Tokyo Tempura, Gino’s Brick Oven Pizza, Mochiko and more. Today, the have expanded to over 10 markets in different regions around the country.

Vanessa shared that they were pleasantly surprised that Filipinos completely embraced the food market from the very start. “People arrived right away! When we first launched the morning market there were so many people already at 7am!”

She shares that Meracato has been very happy and fulfilling type of business—even more so during the Christmas season. “Vendors are very excited to try out their new ventures. It’s really a season for more adventure and people are really festive.”

As Mercato grew, it became more than just a place for people to be find delectable treats and for passionate small food vendors to have a venue to sell their goods—it also became the launchpad for many entrepreneurial success stories. Vanessa shared that they’ve taken on the task of incubating and mentoring these vendors. In fact, every Tuesday. the team opens up their doors to current and aspiring food vendors for TasteTest Tuesdays where people can test out their creations and get valuable feedback.

“We’re looking for the next Jollibee and Mang Inasal. We’re an incubator,” Vanessa shared, “We’ve partnered with go negosyo to address the pinpoints of these vendors. We want them to find their scalability.”

Something Vanessa has also tried to push vendors to realize is that in this day and age, presentation (or how instagrammable) you booth and food are count for a lot. Beyond the look, people also become attracted to certain booths because of the story.

Moving on from food and into the bazaar industry in general, there was no better guest to give us the rundown on the business than bazaar guru Sandy Allen of Bazaar Pilipinas. Sandy is the founder of the Facebook Group that serves as a source of information, tips, guidelines, questions, and many precautions. Starting in out in 2010, the group has grown from 40 to 60 people in a singularly eclectic community, to a group of 32,000+ members today. The group is composed of merchants, organizers, and even shoppers.

Unlike the food market established by Vanessa, where bargaining is not a thing, Sandy gave a lot of tips for both merchants and shopper with regards to this custom in many bazaars. “Filipinos are very thrifty. Even if you’re a regular, you will still bargain. In other countries this would be offensive,” Sandy said. She advised that entrepreneurs must account for these predictable custom so that they won’t be at a loss at the end of the day.”

Beyond this, she advises that vendors, if they’re really serious about making it in the bazaar business, to join more than one bazaar and to be hands on if its a new business. In terms of what will be a hit with the market, she says that “It’s really more of what you’ll stick by. Look at your passion, what is available, and what are your expertise.”

She also advised many to avoid the old hard sell habit of Filipinos called “barking” and to avoid using hugot as a selling point. Today, Filipinos are more likely to approach a booth with sales lady who is simply smiling but is not too aggressive.

For shoppers, she advised them to dress comfortably and to bring their own shopping bags. In terms of bazaar etiquette, she encourages people to not cut in lines or interrupt other shoppers when they’re being attended to by the sales people.

Her biggest message however, was to venue partners who overcharge bazaar organizers. “There is no standardization for bazaar organization so sometimes venues will really give the highest fee for rent. On average they charge over Php300,000 and even higher during Christmas, And the small scale entrepreneurs get edged out because they can’t afford rent. Only high margin businesses can profit. So, because these small scale entrepreneurs are disappearing, the edge (and the spirit) of these bazaars are also disappearing. I hope all this can change.”

Both ladies also warned vendors about a modus operandi where people fake being bazaar organizers or Mercato Centrale. They will ask vendors for a low upfront rent fee and will even have pictures ready as “proof” of the bazaar. To sign up for Mercato and to get the real inside on bazaars, follow their official facebook pages and groups only.

“Sa Maliit na Puhunan, Tungo sa Malaking Kabuhayan!”

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

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Go Negosyo Radio hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla featured two entrepreneurs and CARD members who shared their success stories from Day 1 and how access to finance helped them grown their business. Go Negosyo Angelpreneur Armand Bengco joined the episode to shed light on money matters and how microfinancing works.

Princess Torres owns an agribusiness called Prince Rasec Garden and a proud member of CARD for 17 years. Princess started her business in 2000 with an initial loan of P2000.00 for a buy-and-sell business. in 2005, she decided to shift to the planting industry with the influence of her older sister. Eventually, her business grew exponentially. She currently employs 30 workers and managed to be one of the plant suppliers of Vista Land, Rockwell Land, and Bonifacio Global City.

Pilar Garcia is another successful entrepreneur thanks to CARD where she’s been a member of for more than two decades. She started her first loan at P3000.00 to set up a gift shop and was able to grow her loan cycle to P15000.00. In 2004, she moved to Australia for work but already began planting the seeds for a farming business. After a couple of years, Pilar came back to the Philippines to pay full attention to her farm.

After a few years, Pilar’s business evolved and became and Agri Tourism site and event venue where countless weddings, birthdays, and engagements have been held. She works with many other local businesses as suppliers and caterers for the events. Her farms regularly supplies vegetables to local organic markets and restaurants in Tagaytay.

Currently, Woodburn Garden & Farm is now a certified agri-tourism site by TESDA and ATI. The farm is also a partner of the Laguna State Polytechnique University and South Luzon State University wherein students take part in OJT programs for organic farm training.

The success stories of Princess and Pilar may not have reached the level it currently at today have it not been for CARD’s microfinance program which enabled the two to start small businesses that became the groundwork for bigger ventures. Fair access to capital is essential in any entrepreneurs growth. Mr. Armand Bengco elaborated further on the purpose and structure of microfinancing.

Armand Bengco is the Co-Founder and Executive Director for the Colayco Foundation for Education, Inc. as well as the Co-Founder and General Manager of Kapatiran sa Kasaganaan Service and Multi-Purpose (KSK-SMP) Cooperative. He hails from a family of established financial and investment practitioners and hosts a bevy of radio and TV programs geared at helping the public understand financial management.

View the full episode here:

“What to expect for ABIS 2017”

Friday, November 10th, 2017

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Executive Director of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council Gil Gonzales joined Go Negosyo sa Radyo hosts Senator Bam Aquino and DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla for an episode on the upcoming ASEAN Business and Investment Summit and to answer the most pertinent questions of ordinary businessmen regarding the ASEAN and how they can position themselves for success in the face of integration.

On November 12-14, 2017, state and business leaders from around the globe will converge in Manila to discuss the current state of development in our region with regards to business, infrastructure development, MSMEs, and human capital development. Furthermore, the event endeavours to form policy recommendations given the current assessment of what’s happening in order to better prepare the region for our collective futures.

The episode kicked off with Sen. Bam and DJ Cheska briefly having a discussion about their own knowledge of ASEAN and its private sector partner, the ASEAN-BAC. They clarified that the membership of ASEAN are only composed of 10 nations namely: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia,  Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. The reason why we’ve been hearing about the participation of state leaders such as Donald Trump from the US or Justin Trudeau from Canada is because the ASEAN invited its dialogue partners to the upcoming summit.

DJ Cheska asked about the degree of integration the Association is aspiring for—are we also looking at a single currency similar to the European Union’s euro?

Mr. Gil shared that from the start, the ASEAN never really wanted to pattern itself after the EU. He shared that although we are opening our economy further and breaking down barriers, the ASEAN is committed to doing it on our own pace and our own way. To truly know what the ASEAN stands for, one can start by learning about its three pillars—the economic, political & security, and the socio-cultural.

DJ Cheska also asked regarding the selection of chairmanship. Why was the Philippines chosen as the host this year? Senator Bam volunteered to answer the question and shared that the process is quite simple—it’s a rotation of the member states according to alphabetical order. Since Myanmar served as host last year, the Philippines was next in line. So in 2027, the Philippines can expect to host the ASEAN events once again.

Another question that was raised was on what the common Filipino get out of ASEAN? Mr. Gil responded by sharing that the upcoming ASEAN summit is the culminating event of the ASEAN BAC. The main objective of the event is awareness. “We want businessmen to know what’s happening with the promises and plans of integration and to be able to compare with our neighbors. An output you can expect from the summit is that we give a set of policy recommendations to leaders on how to further deepen the aspiration towards integration. Sen. Bam interjected that what’s great about the current movement of the private sector is the the thrust of achieving Prosperity for All, something many Go Negosyo followers know about thru Angat Lahat and other MSME development programs. He also added that last year’s APEC had a similar theme of inclusive growth and prosperity for all and this is because it addresses a problem felt the world over—development/progress that only benefits the elite few rather than the majority. And integral to achieving prosperity for all is MSME development.

Mr. Gil shared about the current legacy project of the Council called the AMEN (ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network). “AMEN is based on the success of  Go Negosyo’s Kapatid Mentor Me Program (…) it didn’t stop at mentorship but it led to access to finance and market. When they [KMME mentees] graduate, they have a business improvement plan—hindi puro turo turo lang.

Mr. Gil later on adds that the mentorship is not the only great implication of AMEN. “When an expert goes around, they can become really aware of the production base in each area. When this happens, it can lead us closer to creating a single production base so that we don’t compete and kill each other. Rather, we will compliment and collaborate with each so we can provide to bigger markets such as Japan, the EU, China and America.”


Visit to know more about the ASEAN Business & Investment Summit.

“World-Class, Filipino-made: The Best of Local Home Décor and Furniture”

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

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On October 25, Go Negosyo sa Radyo hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & Faith Salaver were joined by two exhibitors from the recently concluded Manila FAME—Benjamin Aquino (Benjamin Aquino Exports Inc.) and couple Antonio & Remedios Garcia (RU Garcia Furniture) for an episode talking about the thriving furniture and home decor industry in the Philippine which attracts buyers from across the globe.

Benjamin Aquino’s namesake company was established in 1983 in San Fernando, Pamapanga. He shares that he entered the business of furniture and exports because of his uncle. Today, Benjamin Aquino Exports Inc., supplies to big name companies such as Pier One and Pottery Barn.

Joining Benjamin were Antonio and Remedios Garcia, a couple who established RU Garcia Furniture in 1993 at Pantay Daya, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur. The business saw its beginnings through Antonio’s idea of turning the wood, sourced from the business of Remedios’ brother, into furniture. With hard work and a lot of creativity, Antonio Garcia continued to create furniture with his background in carpentry. Today, their products have already reached Japan, Hong Kong, and continue to expand worldwide.

During the episode, our hosts asked the entrepreneurs about challenges they’ve encountered doing business. Benjamin shared that in terms of export it is difficult to manage orders and ensuring that the buyers are happy. “Your shipment should be on time. Also, you have to be able to show them that the quality and the design of your product is good so that they increase their orders from you. It’s hard but kaya naman,” Benjamin said.

Prompted by Sen. Bam, Benjamin also give advice to his fellow guest on how to delve deeper into the export business. “For me, I first joined CITEM and then I gave my best designs. There will always be a client or buyer from another country. And they will add to your design. Until little by little, they will tell you make your items exclusive to them,” Benjamin said. Benjamin was only 18 when he first had an exhibit with CITEM and was approached by a buyer from Japan  who was impressed by his vigor and work. The client eventually offered an order worth USD1,000. “Number one in export is QUALITY,” Benjamin says and he insists that entrepreneurs should be hands-on with checking of the quality of the products.

Antonio and Remedios agreed with Benjamin. They share that when they source the reclaimed wood they use in making their furniture, they ensure that they check each supply they buy. They also work with trusted suppliers who source wood from places such as old houses. They basically create hardwood furniture for homes.

In closing, the two groups also agreed that joining trade shows and listing up with DTI & CITEM have greatly helped get their business to greater heights. The Manila FAME exhibit allow draws a multitude of opportunities for any business involved in furniture, decor or retail. They highly encourage entrepreneurs looking to expand their horizons and get into export by joining the next Manila FAME in April 2018.

Get Crafty This Holiday Season

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

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On October 18, Go Negosyo Radio hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla featured two craft entrepreneurs, Yana Ofrasio (Craft MNL) and Faith Lopez (Tindaraga), along with DTI-CITEM’s Doris Gacho for an episode tackling handicraft ventures you can turn into a business or give as gifts to your loved ones this coming holiday season.

To kick off the episode, DJ Cheska introduced the listeners to Yana Ofrasio of Craft MNL . Craft MNL is a small company that specializes in giving workshops on various crafts. The company was founded in 2012 by Lex and Nadine Reyes to address the growing demand they saw between people wanting to learn about a certain art or craft, and artists who were looking for an avenue to teach. “The movement grew because people saw the value of giving something they made themselves,” said Yana.

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True enough, Craft MNL is a thriving business that offers a variety of classes in arts and crafts. Many of the classes they offer are stepping stones for people interested in making a business. For example, they offer classes in soap-making, leather crafting, calligraphy and silk screen printing. They also offer unique classes in shibori, sewing, macramé and jewelry making. Yana said that Craft MNL focuses on providing their customers with the proper techniques and it is up to them to apply these techniques. They’ve also provided a market for interested craft entrepreneurs to sell and showcase their handiworks called the Maker’s Market—launching soon in Central Square BGC and Evia Lifestyle Center, Alabang this November. To learn more about what Craft MNL offers or to sign-up for a class, you may visit or drop by their Facebook and Instagram pages @CraftMNL.

During the episode, Sen. Bam mentioned about the worldwide “Maker Movement” wherein people are shifting towards creating their own products rather than buying. This movement is not limited to DIY gifts, but permeate into entrepreneurship and even lifestyle. Such is the case for young craft entrepreneur, Faith Lopez of Tindaraga. Faith started Tindaraga as a side business when she began selling her doodles and stickers at local fairs. She eventually ventured into developing the family craft of crocheting into an artform and business. Today, through her platform Tindaraga, Faith also holds workshops to teach others about crocheting and its various applications. Tindaraga is an amalgam of Faith’s nickname (Tin) the word tinda (meaning “to sell”), and her hometown of Daraga. Faith also shared that Daraga is the deity found in Mt. Mayon.

Faith identifies with the Maker Movement’s practicality and the sentimentality of wearing something personalized and hand-made. “I wanted to wear my own art,” Faith shared, “It is also cost-efficient which is important since I am a single mom.” In fact, Tindaraga is only the side business of Faith—she’s also a graphic designer and writer. However, upon seeing Faith’s designs, one can only see that she’s a true artist no matter what medium she chooses. Her pieces are unique and are made to order whenever someone expresses interest. To see samples of Faith’s work, find Tindaraga on Facebook and Instagram as @tindaraga.

Some products from CraftMNL. Photo from @CraftMNL IG page.

Some products from CraftMNL. Photo from @CraftMNL IG page.

Sample producst from Tindaraga. Photo from @tindaraga IG page.

Sample producst from Tindaraga. Photo from @tindaraga IG page.

Finally, the episode invited all listeners to DTI-CITEM’s premiere design and lifestyle event, Manila FAME. The bi-annual trade event showcases the best of Philippine craftsmanship through various exhibits in furniture, home furnishings, holiday gifts and decor, and fashion accessories. Doris Gacho of DTI-CITEM invites all to visit the Manila FAME at the World Trade Center and the Philippine International Trade Center Exhbit Hall from October 20-22 where over 4,000 Philippine manufacturers will be showcasing their innovative designs and craftsmanship. Sen. Bam shared a trade secret (pun intended) for normal citizens (meaning non-buyers or non-traders) that want to bring a piece of Manila FAME home—visit on the last day and get a change to score massive discounts on the items on exhibit! For more details on Manila FAME, visit

“Yes we can! PWDs prove entrepreneurship is for everyone”

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

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On October 11, 2017, Go Negosyo Radio hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla featured two entrepreneurs who have proven that disability doesn’t translate to inability to succeed. Richard D. Arceno of Bigay Buhay Multipurpose Cooperative and Jennifer Lampaz of Magic Hands Enterprise shared their stories of triumph amidst adversity through engaging in entrepreneurship.

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The episode kicked off with Jennifer “Jenny” Lampaz. A previous writer in a television network, Jenny found herself investing her downtime in crocheting. Her quality work caught the eye of her neighbours who asked if she could teach them how she made her products, which were mostly bags at first. She agreed on the condition that she will provide the materials and training while the others will do the labour. Eventually, Jenny’s business grew so much that she quit her job as a writer to pursue the business full-time.

Another factor that motivated Jenny was that many of the people she trained were employing her crocheting technique and design and creating their own businesses. Seeing that there was a market for her product, Jenny decided to create new designs to battle competition. Her work captured the interest of Ms. Flor from the Department of Trade and Industry in Malabon. The DTI Malabon office was looking for their first batch of entrepreneurs to feature in the opening of the Malabon Negosyo Center. Upon seeing Jenny’s products, she was recommended and was eventually contracted to display her products in their opening exhibit.

Today, Jenny’s growing enterprise called Magic Hands is continuously innovating by creating new designs and techniques for crocheting. Her experience as a PWD entrepreneur has mostly been positive due to a strong support system through her family. Jenny was sick with polio when she only one-year old which resulted in her current disabled state. Jenny however, never saw hey disability has a hindrance. Her mother especially made sure that Jenny led a normal life. Jenny shared that she grew up not really paying much attention to her disability. She was even able to graduate as a Computer Programmer from STI Makati. However, upon graduation, Jenny was exposed to the discrimination of PWDs when she tried to enter the corporate world. In fact, Jenny recounts a specific job interview wherein she was told that PWDs were not being considered for the position. She expressed her frustration with the company for not indicating this condition on the job description and she was reduced to tears in the company bathroom. She remained resilient however, and today, encourages others like her to not give up and that they may find inspiration is everywhere.

Bigay Buhay Multipurpose Cooperative

Our second guest, Richard D. Arceno, has been the face of rallying for equal opportunities for PWDs. A previous representative of the PWD sector, Arceno established the Bigay Buhay Multipurpose Cooperative to empower and give opportunities to PWDs in the Philippines. Arceno was born with a disability that restricts the movement of his hands and feet. Growing up, he thought graduating from college would guarantee him a job and a stable life. However, PWDs were largely discriminated upon in the hiring process of many companies. Arceno realized that there were many like him and decided to form the cooperative. Starting out with P32,000 of collective capital, the group has been able to grow to a circulating capital of P10 million.

“Twenty years ago, there were so many barriers for PWDs to enter a school or get a job. So, creating a cooperative was really the way to empower us,” Arceno shared. When the cooperative started, the group was only composed of PWDs. However, as the group began to have families, and the cooperatives projects began affecting them, the cooperative decided to become more inclusive and expanded to include PWD families, and eventually communities.

“We buy the raw materials for the business from our community. We also employ from the community,” Arceno said about the cooperative’s community-based approach. According to Senator Bam, this approach is proven to be the most effective in the context of the Philippines which is very family centric.

Arceno imparted advice to the fellow PWDs hoping to uplift their lives through entrepreneurship. “Involvement of the family is critical—success will be hard without their support.” He also encourages other PWDs to join the cooperative if they wish. The group’s headquarters is located in SM Fairview and their contact details may be found in their Facebook page Bigay Buhay Multipurpose Cooperative.

“Agree to Agri: The Game Changer Agripreneurs”

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

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On September 27, Go Negosyo Radio hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla were joined by Josephine Costales of Costales Nature Farms and Ranilo Madlangbayan Maderazo of Halaman ng Buhay to discuss integrated farming and the culture of sustainability that investing in agriculture creates.

With the ASEAN Agriculture Summit fast approaching, the spotlight has been turned to many agripreneurs who are revolutionizing the industry and its image. One of these agri gamechangers is Josephine Costales and her business, Costales Nature Farms. Costales Nature Farms was established by Josephine and her husband Rolan when they decided to leave their high-level corporate jobs in the city and move to Majayjay, Laguna. They purchased a 1,500 sqm property by the foothills of Mount Banahaw where they began planting organic vegetables. Five years later, their farm has grown to 8 hectares, is a consistent supplier for the likes of Healthy Options and Shangri-La, and is the first agri-tourism destination recognized by the Department of Tourism.

“We went to Japan and Korea to study organic farming because we wondered why their farmers were rich. We found out that there are things to be improved in the local system,” Josephine said. The Costales couple’s dedication to growing organic and sustainable food led them to innovative practices such as vermicompsting—allowing the couple to make their farm as integrated (zero-waste) as possible.

Our second guest, Ranilo Madlangbayan Maderazo, was inspired by the Costales couple and shared that Rolan worked with them in establishing Halaman ng Buhay. Halaman ng Buhay is a high value crop program of Anawin Lay Missions Foundation Inc. that is working towards establishing an integrated farm in Montalban, Rizal where Ranilo works as its Project Coordinator and Implementer. At the heart of the farm however, is the community of abandoned elderly who have now found a place of refuge to live happily in a beautiful environment surrounded by nature and love.

“We have 68 abandoned senior citizens. They used to work around the farm but when they age, they simply appreciate the place and feed the fishes we have integrated in the farm,” Ranilo said. The success of Halaman ng Buhay is a collaborative effort of the foundation and the government who helped out during the earlier phases of the farm’s development.

Collaboration is definitely a key lesson in agripreneurship and is reinforced by Josephine. Costales Farms has grown to its large size today and is able to produce 20 tons of produce a month thanks to the investment of OFWs who fund their greenhouses. The Costales staff is then responsible for operations and administration, with the investors getting their share of the sales.

Furthermore, Josephine emphasizes on the business aspect of farming “We must have an entrepreneurial mindset in farming; it is not enough to only know and study the technical aspect.” Studying marketing is just as important as studying the soil and irrigation in agribusiness. For example, opening up your farm to agri-tourism will not only give you additional income but will boost awareness of your farm and business.

When entering into agri, Josephine advises people to start with what they actually like eating. For her, she loves the vegetables in pinakbet and shares that they started in organic farming because of their love of the vegetables in pinakbet and wanting to improve them. For those in the city, she advises them to look into urban gardening and the six-inch gardening method or take their families to visit farms regularly.

Involving the youth in agriculture will be the biggest gamechanger of all. With an aging farmer population, it is people like Josephine and Ranilo who are making the agriculture sector’s image alive and thriving. Afterall, Costales Farms has paved the way in making agriculture a destination to enjoy and Halaman ng Buhay is continually uplifting many lives through agribusiness. It is no question that the agriculture sector is proving itself to be the gamechanger towards prosperity for all.

“Sari-saring Tips sa Pagpapalago ng iyong Sari-Sari store”

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

GNSR Web Header Sept 20

Go Negosyo sa Radyo hosts Senator Bam Aquino & DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla were joined by Hapinoy’s Co-Founder & President, Mark Ruiz, and Shared Service Manager, Maricar Dela Rosa, for an episode covering the foundations for success of the many sari-sari store owners in the Philippines.

Sen. Bam kicked of the program by sharing about his history with Mark Ruiz and social enterprises. The two were both graduates of the Ateneo de Manila University and began working on social enterprises in the mid-2000s. Their third effort resulted in what known today as Hapinoy.

Hapinoy is a social enterprise that aims to uplift rural communities by capacitating its women in the set-up and management of sari-sari stores. Their modules are geared towards instructing the sari-sari store owner to the basics of financing and operations. Today, Mark shared that Hapinoy is going beyond their onsite trainings and are expanding to technology-based initiatives.

Maricar, as the Shared Service Manager, often works on the field with the women. She regularly visits the women in order to monitor their progress in the program. She shared that the most remote Hapinoy Negosyante they have is in Samar.

At the core of the Hapinoy program are lessons on the behaviours of effective negosyantes. Mark shared that the foundations of a good sari-sari store are when the owner exercises discipline in recording transactions and the inventory, proper assortment of products, and customer service. Senator Bam adds that location is also of importance, however if the sari-sari store is managed well, it will still prosper.

Mark and Maricar both agreed that a successful mindset is integral to the growth of a negosyante’s sari-sari store. “Yung values formation kelangan natin inculcate sa mga negosyante,” Mark said. These values include being disciplined in handling money, practicing honesty with customers, and being growth-oriented. Sen. Bam agreed saying “mas madali tulungan and gustong tulungin and sarili nila.”

Maricar, who is often with the women, shared that over the course of the program, she saw a radical change in the store owners. The women initially start of as shy and unwilling to share in front of their peers. “Sa bandang end, nagaagawan na sila para magshare,” Maricar said. She believes that this happens because the women are empowered by their newfound knowledge. She specifically remembers one nanay who said “gusto ko yung sharing namin kasi nakakatulong rin ako sa ibang mga negosyante.”

To learn more about Hapinoy and access the modules they have uploaded online, visit their facebook @Hapinoy and their website hapinoy,com. They also have the HapinoyTV on youtube—a free learning source for those who can’t afford to take part in the Hapinoy training program.