We honor the Filipinas who have been constant inspirations in the entrepreneurial journeys of women from all walks life in our country. This coming March, Go Negosyo will hail a new set of women entrepreneurs as the Inspiring Filipina Awardees of 2017. This is done yearly aligned with the National Women’s Month and the International Women’s Day. As we honor a new batch of women for fiercely conquering the entrepreneurial world with their own brand of strength and bravery, let us remember those who have inspired us in the past:
Soccoro Ramos — National Bookstore (Retail)
Socorro Ramos of National Bookstore receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship in the field of Education during the 7th Go Negosyo Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit (March 2015).
Soccoro Ramos, fondly called Nanay Coring, is considered an institution within the Philippine entrepreneurial community. She was featured in the original Joey Concepcion’s 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories and one of the first to be awarded as an Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur by Go Negosyo back in 2009. As one of the first who supported our advocacy of spreading the spirit of entrepreneurship, we recognize her role in inspiring a whole new generation of aspiring entrepreneurs through her story of perseverance and hardwork.
Today, Nanay Coring’s story of rebuilding her business three times still touches many hearts. When a lot of factors in the entrepreneurial landscape have already changed, such as technology, venture capitalists, start-up incubators, and mentoring programs, Nanay Coring has been a testament to the timeless adagé that hard work and perseverance still pays off.
Rosalind Wee – Marine Resources Development Corporation (Agribusiness)
Rosalind Wee was awarded as an Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur in 2010 due to her pioneering venture into the agri-food business sector. Wee founded Marine Resources Development Corporation – the country’s biggest producer of carrageenan (seaweed powder), which is used for food stabilizers and emulsifiers. Known for her efforts in various social causes, she is a member of the board of governors of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), treasurer for the PRC-Quezon City chapter, President of the Philippine Federation of Local Councils of Women, President of the Pearl S. Buck Foundation Philippine and is the Third Filipino woman to have received the Pearl S. Buck International Woman of the Year Award.
Myrna Yao – Richprime Global (Retail)
Myrna Yao was amongst the inspiring Filipinas awarded in 2011, and has since become a force to be reckoned with in the entrepreneurial community. She is the current President of Richprime Global Inc. which concerns itself with children’s products such as toys, shoes, apparel, baby products, juvenile, clothes and accessories. Her company is the exclusive Distributor of Mattel Toys, Fisher Price, Video Technology Inc., Safety First, Shelcore, Pigeon Baby Products, Cosco, Goodyear Tires and Shoes (5 Brands) in the Philippines and is a licensing agent for Barbie & Garfield, Hotwheels & Carebears.
Yao is the founding president of the Filipino-Chinese Federation of Business and Professional Women of the Philippines and the founding chairperson of Philippine Federation of Local Councils of Women (PFLCW). These are among the biggest non-government organization in the country. Recently, she has been lauded for her efforts to empower more women as entrepreneurs through the direct selling of Grace Aloe Vera Organic Skin Care from Australia.
Esther Vibal – Vibal Publishing (Education)
Esther Vibal receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship in the field of Education during the 7th Go Negosyo Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit on March 2015.
Esther Vibal was awarded by Go Negosyo with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her exceptional leadership for many decades in Vibal Publishing House Inc., the country’s leading and most reputable publisher of textbooks and other educational materials. Vibal Publishing is instrumental to the education of Filipinos everywhere, with their textbooks being distributed in thousands of schools nationwide. With her experience and passion in writing, Esther Vibal steered the company to greater heights and has conquered the publishing industry. As the head of Vibal Group, Mrs. Vibal continues to lead the company towards innovation and change with the development of technology.
THE SOCIAL INNOVATORS
Girlie Lorenzo – Kythe (Social Entrepreneur)
Girlie Lorenzo of Kythe.
Girlie Lorenzo is an Inspiring Filipina Awardee who was also featured as one of the 55 Inspiring Women in Go Negosyo’s latest publication. Her foundation Kythe celebrates its 25th year of bringing hope and service to the lives of many children. Providing the much needed psycho-social support for children with chronic illnesses, Girlie imparts that Kythe will always be about spreading the message of love. She wants others people to know that the best way to get involved with Kythe is to volunteer and meet the kids themselves. She is truly proud that throughout the years, Kythe has continuously transformed lives— not just of the children but of her volunteers as well.
Nanette Po – Friends of Hope (Social Entrepreneur)
Nanette Medved-Po of Friends of Hope. Photo courtesy of zcoop.zalora.com.ph
Nanette Po is an Inspiring Filipina Awardee whose social enterprise has built classrooms through its efforts of selling Hope in A Bottle. Before founding Friends of Hope, Nanette was more popularly know as the star of Darna. Today, she acts as a real life hero through building a brand centered on hope getting respect and backing of the entrepreneurial community who also continue to rally behind her cause of making education more accessible to all.
Edgar “Injap” Sia II is among Forbes’ 40 Richest in the Philippines and the youngest billionaire on the list. Due to his prominence and widely lauded underdog story, Injap’s meteoric rise in the Philippine business landscape is nothing short of inspirational.
In 2011, Go Negosyo featured Injap Sia in its annual publication entitled 50 Inspiring Young Entrepreneurs, where he shared his story of taking the fast food industry by storm with Mang Inasal. Since then, Injap has sold shares of Mang Inasal to The Jollibee Group for $3 billion, became the youngest Filipino billionaire, and is currently at the helm of rapidly expanding Double Dragon Properties.
In the December 2016 issue of the local Forbes magazine, Injap was hailed as Businessman of the Year, a title usually awarded to industry leaders, who are, on average, almost double his age. In his feature, his central message was for entrepreneurs to look for “windows of opportunity” – inciting that the gaps or shifts in industries are where big and sustainable business ideas can come from.
With Mang Inasal, Injap addressed the gap in the fast food industry that no one saw: grilled chicken which is a Filipino comfort food staple. Today, his latest venture into land banking & properties addresses the shift in provinces from traditional to modern retail through City Mall. Looking forward, Injap is seizing even more windows of opportunity, already setting his sights and investing in what he sees as an eventual spike in our country’s tourism industry.
Injap’s rapid rise to success has led him to be hailed as a rockstar entrepreneur. With his distinct vision and brand of confidence, we can only see Injap’s foothold amongst the richest and most powerful in the country to become solidified. Here are 5 key lessons you can take away from the the Philippines’ Youngest Billionaire to bring your business to the next level this 2017:
Double Dragon Properties Inc. Chairman and CEO Edgar “Injap” Sia happily received his Bossing award for his fast expansion into the world of real estate.
1) Take calculated risks
What has largely contributed to Injap’s success is his ability to take calculated risks when it comes to business. Most people know that Injap dropped out of college to pursue business. However, this decision wasn’t on an impulse – it was a calculated risk which led to him pursuing a business venture full-time. That venture is what we know today as the unstoppable fast food chain Mang Inasal.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Assess what risks you can take to jumpstart your business this year. For aspiring entrepreneurs, start putting that business idea into motion. For established entrepreneurs, think of what you can do differently this year to distinguish yourself from competition (e.g. expanding, investing, marketing, etc.).
2) Confidence in your vision
Injap’s ability to communicate his vision to others largely contributes to the success of his ventures. In the beginning, he was considered as relatively young to be a successful business owner. However, he was able to change this perception due to his brimming and unfaltering confidence in his vision and what he has to offer. Today, he is able to rub elbows with business leaders and even establish partnerships with them, having earned their trust and confidence.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Establish a vision for your business. Ask yourselves (include your team if you have one) where do you want your business to be in five years? From there, map out steps for your business to reach that vision. When you can imagine how you can reach your vision through planning, you plant the seeds for confidence in it.
3) Stay humble and persistent
Although he is already amongst the country’s richest, Injap continues to be as hardworking as ever. He believes that money and success can only make you happy until a certain point and that in business, there is always room for improvement.
Banking on the second lesson, confidence is one thing, but remaining humble and persistent is also integral for your vision. At the onset of Mang Inasal, Injap encountered difficulties securing deals with suppliers due to his young age and lack of experience. However, this didn’t faze him and he pursued suppliers from local markets and cooperatives. This proved to be a winning move because it not only secured the operations of an expanding Mang Inasal but also helped generate business for smaller and local enterprises.
If Injap let initial rejections bruise his ego, Mang Inasal and Double Dragon probably wouldn’t be what they are today.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: When encountering different people in your business, have an open mind and heart. Business will always bring difficulties, so having the right mindset can make all the difference. Try being solution-oriented; think of problems as a challenge to become better and they will cease to be as scary.
4) Think big, think long-term, think original
Injap is a firm believer of only pursuing businesses which can be scaled up nationwide. He says that pursuing trendy concepts is never sustainable. When you’re thinking big and long-term, you should think original or innovative as well.
Injap has entered two industries which have been dominated by key groups for decades now. The reason why Injap has been able to penetrate and even dominate these markets is he was always thinking big (can this be scaled up?), long-term (is this business sustainable?), and original (is this market already saturated? can I still compete with established leaders in the industry?)
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Assess! Assess! Assess! Are you thinking big enough? Are you thinking long-term? Are you exploring novel concepts? Are you innovating?
5) Surround yourself with the best
Lastly, Injap’s success can largely be attributed to the people he chooses to surround himself with. When he was starting Mang Inasal, Injap had the wisdom to seek the advice and help of people who were more knowledgeable to the nuances of business. In the case of Double Dragon, he partnered with Jollibee Group’s Tony Tan Caktiong because he knew that his venture into properties has more chance of succeeding with Caktiong’s clout and experience in the business world. He has also gained the trust of business tycoon Carlos Chan of Liwayway Marketing Corp., becoming partners in establishing Jinjiang Inn in the country.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Actively look for people who are more experienced and are better than you. Mentorship is an invaluable resource in the world of business. If you’re looking for a program which can connect you to mentors, sign-up for the Mentor Me program in a Negosyo Center in your area. (Check this link for the complete list of Negosyo Centers nationwide: (www.bamaquino.com/gonegosyoact/negosyocenters/)
Imelda Dagus had a high-paying job in Oman. She had financial security, a good career, and an ideal family. After 25 years of being an OFW, she has finally found her comfort zone. But she risked it all to go back home to the Philippines and start a business.
Imelda Dagus started working overseas right after college as a flight attendant. She has worked and lived abroad for 25 years – more than half her life, far away from her home in Jolo, Sulu.
Her dream of being an entrepreneur started when she read the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. She was so inspired that she went on to read many other entrepreneurship books and attend business seminars, some of which are organized by Go Negosyo.
“I was so inspired and eager to learn that I even followed Go Negosyo when they went to Bahrain,” she shared.
From what she learned, Imelda said that an entrepreneur becomes one due to the following reasons: Crisis, Chance or Choice. For her, it was a choice. While she had lived a comfortable life overseas, she figured that she couldn’t be an employee and stay within her comfort zone forever. Eventually, she and her husband would have to come home. She asked herself, “What will happen then?” She realized that at some point, she had to take control of her own destiny.
More than her personal reasons, Imelda found it necessary to preserve and scale up an old town cafe, which was established by her grandmother in 1962 in the town of Jolo, Sulu. Imelda finds her passion in this project not only because it is about preserving a legacy handed down to the third generation but also about upholding an age-old coffee culture worth sharing with the rest of the world. Imelda says “it’s not just about coffee, it’s also about culture and legacy”.
Imelda Dagus (3rd from left) joined Go Negosyo as one of the panelists during the 6th OFW Summit (November 2016).
Dennis Coffee Garden
Dennis Coffee Shop was first established in Jolo, Sulu in 1962. The coffee shop, initially called Omar’s Place was among the industry pioneers, and was managed by the family matriarch, Ubbaisa Ahalul. Though without a formal education, it was through her inherent entrepreneurial skills and own brand of business management that the coffee shop grew into the enterprise that it is today.
Imelda spearheaded the project of expanding and taking the business to the next level. She had put together a plan to bring Sulu’s Dennis Coffee to Zamboanga City and this time, as the more upscale Dennis Coffee Garden (DCG). “We want to create something of value, which our community can be proud of.”
DCG is the first of its kind in Zamboanga, it aims to offer not only quality coffee and native delicacies, but also ambiance and space. Aside from a garden and alfresco dining area, there are also function rooms and other facilities for meetings/gatherings that cater to families, social groups and customers from nearby offices, colleges and commercial establishments. Additionally, it is located near the airport to provide travellers the perfect waiting lounge or a place to dine, meet and relax as soon as they arrive in Zamboanga.
Dennis Coffee Garden is truly a depiction of value creation as it promotes cultural heritage, inclusive growth and community development.
An Inspiration to OFWs
Most OFWs are afraid to leave their jobs abroad because of the risk of not finding the same opportunities in the Philippines. In her interview with ABS-CBN News, Imelda said that “OFWs in particular should think of building a business back home instead of coming back and looking for another job, because you will definitely not get the kind of income that you earned overseas back in the Philippines.”
Aside from entrepreneurship, Imelda is also determined about inspiring other OFWs to invest in a business in their home country. She believes that building a business will not only empower them, but also help the country by giving people jobs.
Ms. Imelda Dagus is the epitome of a strong businesswoman. Not only does she provide employment for the local people of Mindanao, she also preserves the culture of her family and the place where she grew up while doing well for herself. If she can make it, why can’t you?
Aspiring Entrepreneurs (Business Idea) Category:
Rachel was an active student leader back in college and held a lot of leadership positions and events. She is a platform engineer from Manila and people who know her best would describe her as outgoing, creative and ambitious. She has always believed that there are many ways to make the world better, but for her, it is through the integration of technology and design. She wants to help enrich the lives of people around her by doing what she loves to do and give back to the community. She is proactive in looking for ways on how to help other people through joining and winning hackathons and ideation programs and volunteering in various social projects and helping various causes.
What is the problem that your business is trying to solve?
The Philippines still struggles with its agricultural sector. The government admits this problem as the agricultural sector has been neglected for two decades. The identified root cause of this agricultural problem is the lack of funding and low productivity for our local farmers which Cropital is able to solve.
What is the best and worst part of being a young entrepreneur?
The worst part is you can’t do it all by yourself and the best part is that you don’t have to. There are a lot of people who are willing to support you, mentor you, give you funding, everything that you can think of. All you have to do is take that step and take the risk. In the end, I believe it’s all worth it.
How did YEDW help improve your business model?
The YEDW program gave way to a lot of opportunities and fast-tracked my business idea to where it is now. We have won numerous competitions like the National Startup Summit, was able to attend fully-funded bootcamp in Amsterdam, Netherlands and personally, I have been included as one of the finalists in the Rice Bowl Startup Awards in ASEAN for the Women in Business Startup award.
From just an idea last July, we have already launched Cropital (beta) last Oct 31 onboarded with farmers from Laguna and we have now gained a significant traction. YEDW introduced me to such great mentors. I have kept in touch with them and they are all very supportive in our social enterprise.
Aside from the skills and learnings I got from YEDW which are all valuable and has greatly contributed to Cropital, for me, the people in YEDW believed and trusted my idea and they knew that it can really improve other people’s lives. YEDW is actually my first workshop on entrepreneurship. They gave me that confidence boost and inspired me to keep moving forward and hustle every day that’s why we were able to launch in just 4 months.
What is your biggest dream for your business?
We want to create a world where farmers are dignified and empowered and no longer living in debt. We aim to give them the life they have always deserved. We aim to scale Cropital such that we can already influence the traditional agricultural practices that can help improve lives of more local farmers. We aim to establish Cropital as a means for scientists to bridge/transfer new researches/technology to the local farmers. We aim to reduce the dependency of farmers to private debt lenders issuing high interest charges.
What do you do for fun?
I travel a lot. I love to meet new people and go to places I’ve never been to. I feel happy when I’m gaining new experiences and insights, and challenging my boundaries. Being in foreign lands, it also continuously forces me to step out of my comfort zone – a great confidence-builder.
What’s the next step for you?
Right now, Cropital beta run is ongoing and we’re working very hard to create a solid pilot run for our pioneers investors and farmers. We’re on boarding more farms in the next few weeks and brewing partnerships with organisations. We’re also raising significant amount of money to be used to scale up operations to meet the growing market demand and tap more local farmers to produce crops with demands from contract growers. We’re also looking for more community of farmers to support, more connections to agricultural trainings and experts, buyers of produce and partnerships that will be helpful to our enterprise and our farmers.
For more information on Cropital, visit: https://www.cropital.com and https://www.facebook.com/cropital
Practicing Entrepreneurs (Existing Business) Category:
Kaye is the Little Miss CEO of SAM Holdings Inc., a company managing 4 brands of beauty and wellness products and services, Macho Mucho Salon For Men, Snoe Beauty Inc (partner operator), Crown and Glory Hairgrower line, and Get Lucky Fragrances. She is a certified industrial engineer and people who know her best would describe her as an obsessive compulsive entrepreneur who finds joy in finding structure out of chaos. She believes that a business is a big picture composed of puzzle pieces where beauty is enhanced when puzzle pieces fit each other. She’s also outgoing and naturally drawn to the outdoors that she surfs once in a while in Mati. She’s an advocate of women empowerment and strives to be an epitome of young women succeeding in business.
What is the problem that your business is trying to solve?
Macho Mucho Salon For Men is a hybrid barbershop salon concept based on an insight that men of today belong in a place where they truly feel comfortable, not in old style barbershop that lacked innovations and not in a unisex salon which lacks elements that affirms a man’s manhood.
We can be flexible to whichever our clients prefer, Barber for the traditional clean cut and Salon for men looking for hairstyles that are modern and edgy. Our shop is designed to be a man’s cave where they can truly feel at home and where wives can leave their husbands. We made it easier for our clients to communicate the cuts they want through our Style Guide. At an affordable pricing point, we’re giving back or clients’ money’s worth with superb service delivery and perks for the Boss such as wifi and free coffee. The shop is curated with classy and industrial, organic design elements that looks more of a place to hang than a salon. More than these, we put customer service on top of our priorities, that they get the cut they’re looking for and the pampering that a man deserves.
We believe these elements orchestrate a sense of connection, a sense of belongingship among our wide target market in the male segment, from little kids to teenagers to adult men.
What is the best and worst part of being a young entrepreneur?
The best part is the autonomy of making decisions, when the direction of your company as the leader is in your terms. We’re young but we call the shots which really gives me and my brother the freedom to express our creativity and decision-making skills. One advantage of a young entrepreneur is a higher regard of the present market’s need and wants since we can relate to the market ourselves. We try our best to be creative, empathic, and authentic in communicating to our target market. And this is the best part, we communicate, market and sell accordingly with so much heart.
Worst part is we had to accept the brutal truth of the numbers, profitability and return of investments. Most people think that entrepreneurs live a colorful, exciting life especially when you’re a young entrepreneur. But with power lies responsibility. We had to do tough decisions even it pains us ourselves. We had to let go of some of the plans that are tempting like disapproving a plan for expansion of a promising location or delaying product development in favor of what’s essential. We’ve learned that holding, delaying and rejecting some plans is also growth. It’s a balance of these things that we’re trying to muster, of managing risks and still being optimistic for the future.
How did YEDW help improve your business model?
YEDW and its mentors guided me to an appreciation of how a business model should adapt to the requirements of the customers and what it should deliver without sacrificing the essence of the idea. A good idea can only be as good based on how it is executed. When you’re young, you’re too idealistic but falls short in action. The mentors asked us the hard questions, questions we ourselves were afraid to ask and find an answer. Concepts were tested and challenged again and again to ensure its viability and sustainability. We got mentors from different industries all with different perspectives which shed interesting ideas on how we can improve and scale our respective businesses. We were challenged to Dream Big, Start Small and Scale Fast!
What is your biggest dream for your business?
One advice our dad told us is that job generation is one essential metric of success. How many lives we’ve touched by giving them employment. Our biggest dream is for a Mindanao brand like ours to go global, to raise our standards so high that it also demands an increase of number of people we’ve given livelihood, directly or indirectly. When we put this human element of job creation as one of our core purpose of being an entrepreneur, we give humanity to what we do. It’s not all about making money, it’s about creating a better world, helping more people because of our talents and skills.
What do you do for fun?
I work. [laughs]I’m practically a boring person. Once a month, I try my best to visit Mati to surf. When you’re having too much fun working, you tend to find it hard to separate work and fun.
What’s the next step for you?
We’re currently finalizing the concept to scale and expand to more areas nationally through franchising. We’re increasing brand awareness that it creates a following of its own which will make it easier for future franchisees.
For more information on Macho Mucho, visit: https://www.facebook.com/machomucho
Go Negosyo and the US Embassy organized the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Workshop (YEDW) in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and Manila to empower young minds with existing businesses or business ideas. Here are some of the promising start-up ventures that we discovered from all over the Philippines and the young entrepreneurs behind them:
Hazel Yap, a promising young entrepreneur from Cagayan de Oro, has recently started an application called Venue Open. This application is a one-stop shop for event organizers that allows the users to book their desired venue in just about 10 minutes—a task which usually takes weeks and even months to accomplish. All the users have to do is pick a venue, location, indicate the expected number of guests and make the payment, just like shopping for clothes online. Venue Open offers real-time price and details on date availability of its partner venues with no added extra fees for the users. For more information about Venue Open, send an email to: [email protected] or visit www.venueopen.com.
For all Filipino men, getting a haircut is always a hassle. There is simply not much choices when it comes to barbershops. Either you go to the local barbershop to get a 50-peso haircut which does not always guarantee quality service, the feminine salon, or a very expensive high-end barbershop that only few can afford. This problem finally has a solution. Kaye Layco is now managing the Macho Mucho in General Santos City, a barbershop and salon specifically designed for men who want good and stylish haircut in a non-traditional yet masculine environment. Macho Mucho, which was started by Kaye’s brother Ralph Layco, provides its customers with a certain guide to their choice of hairstyle and quality service from well-trained “macho” barbers, not to mention the free coffee and wi-fi. Kaye is planning to expand and bring Macho Mucho to Manila. We are quite sure it will be a hit. For franchising inquiries, you may send an email to [email protected] or contact Kaye Layco at 09321651165.
Social media has taken the world by storm. These days, it is one of the most effective ways to advertise a product, or even a certain personality. It’s a good thing the Jayvee Dotimas founded the Dotimas Documentaries—a company that creates short documentary-style video features that highlight the identity, philosophy and trademark of a brand. It’s a perfect opportunity for start-up enterprises especially because Dotimas Documentaries’ videos are tailored to exhibit, market and showcase the brand’s products and/or services, especially in the global online community. It boasts its signature of having the light-hearted documentary treatment in its videos. The entrepreneur or brand ambassador tells the story of the business which will serve as a personal communication of the brand’s vision, mission and values to the public. For inquiries, visit www.dotimas.com.
Visit Tarlac is a product-advocacy of Proudly Tarlac Made Inc. which offers packaged and customized tours of Tarlac. Given the range of possible activities in the province, tours can lean towards cultural, culinary arts, sports, outdoor adventure and may sometimes even include business/local industries. Co-founder and Managing Director Diana Prado shared that before, there was a gap between the destinations in Tarlac and the prospective tourists. In other words, the places and activities are great but there is no one making it easier for people to go there. That is how Visit Tarlac started. The tours come in two varieties: A packaged tour (mix of local food, backyard industries and adventure) and a customized tour (itinerary will depend on the tourist’s preference.) If you are interested to go whitewater kayaking, or see Mt. Bungkol Baka, Timangguyob Falls, and all other beautiful places and adventures in Tarlac, you can visit: https://www.facebook.com/visittarlac.
Ako’y Magsasakang Organiko (AMO)
Erica Midori Acuña is the 22-year old marketing and communications director of Ako’y Magsasakang Organiko or AMO. AMO is a social enterprise that aims to fight hunger and poverty by decreasing the cost of production (by as much as 50%) and increasing the yield and revenues of farmers (by 30 to 100%) thus, making food affordable. Their product is a foliar fertilizer, insect repellant, fungicide, growth enhancer, and soil conditioner all in one. It is non-toxic, environment-friendly, and has no chemical residue on all produce. AMO also provides free trials to prove the efficacy of their product wherein a noticeable improvement on the produce will be seen within 3 days. Backyard gardeners, farmers, agricultural landowners, and fruit and vegetable plantation owners are encouraged to try AMO. For more information visit Ako’y Magsasakang Organiko’s facebook page.
Marivic Quiero with Alice Eduardo of Sta. Elena Construction & Development Corporation.
Hundreds of homes wrecked, trees uprooted, farms destroyed, vessel ships washed ashore, dead bodies strewn and dirt and debris scattered all over. One might think that this is a scene from a disaster movie, but this scenario is far from motion picture. This was the scenario people have seen, heard of and experienced. It was a scene fresh from the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in November 2013.
From an outsider’s point of view, one can sense the need for urgency and help but for those who have experienced the wrath knows that it is more than that. The hope of surviving this tragic event is a dimming light as days pass by.
Faced with one of life’s hardest challenges, Marivic Quiero, a mother of two from Palo, Leyte, knew that the situation will worsen day by day. She knew that the only way to survive the aftermath of destruction: the impulsive looting, the impending famine, and the inevitable despair; is to join the “great escape” of the survivors to Manila.
Despite grieving for their loss of her brother and sister-in-law, they all fled ground zero with the hope of starting anew in the city. The university where her son Paolo studies, welcomed them in their care and provided them with their essential needs.
But Marivic knew that the donations and help that they are getting will not be enough to support their stay in the city. Since they have nothing to begin with, it was a great challenge. Anxiety slowly develops in their hearts and fear slowly shows its signs. But her faith kept her moving forward. She knew well that with God, they can survive the challenge and overcome their fears and anxieties.
March of 2014, months after the typhoon Yolanda, Marivic saw the advertisement of Go Negosyo regarding its 6th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit. Even without the registration fee at hand, she has firmly decided to attend the summit. She shares, “I think this is what I need to stop crying and worrying; to be exposed in an atmosphere of successes, be motivated and be inspired to rise again just by listening to the empowered women entrepreneurs’ journeys.”
And so it happened. It was an answered prayer for Marivic when she attended the Go Negosyo summit. More than being an audience, she was blessed to meet the Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corporation President and CEO, Alice Eduardo who willingly offered help to her. After months of despair, her attendance to the Go Negosyo Filipina Summit has brought answers to their problems.
She was in tears as she shares her story to the crowd of more than 7,000 aspiring entrepreneurs and students. But before the forum ended, her tears have turned into tears of joy. She was full of hope. She was offered with the opportunity to be one of the food suppliers for her workers in the construction sites. Alice Eduardo had given her the capital including kitchen equipment and utensils.
She knew that this is a big opportunity and a blessing for the whole family who wants to move on from the adversities that they faced. She has found a mentor in Alice Eduardo who unselfishly provided them with their needs for the business and some personal matters. Marivic also found mentors in Go Negosyo’s founding trustee, Joey Concepcion and executive director, Ramon Lopez who have also given her advices on how to start their business.
Unfortunately, they have to stop the operation of their food business due to several problems. But Marivic did not give up. Her determination towards having a business has led her to the idea to restore their pharmaceutical business which was destroyed by the typhoon. She sought the guidance of Alice and got a supportive feedback. They travelled back to Tacloban, with all the materials they need which was also donated by Alice. This will be the start of their new life and new beginning.
Today, their pharmaceutical business continues to flourish. They are now distributing to different hospitals in the area and nearby cities.
Looking back at the trials they have faced, Marivic said that if she has just lost her faith and determination, she might have given up early on. But backed up by God’s love and kindness and the guidance of Alice Eduardo and the Go Negosyo team led by Joey Concepcion, she was equipped to embark on the entrepreneurial journey.
Lastly, Marivic shares, “Our story does not end here, there will be more… the best and great things are yet to come, making us more than just survivors but victors of life.”