On May 16, 2018, Go Negosyo sa Radyo host Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla and co-host Senator Bam Aquino were joined by Trade and Investment Promotion Group (TIPG) Undersecretary Nora Terrado as well as East-West Seed Marketing Manager Dexter Difuntorum and Resource Mobilization Manager Dr. Robert Acosta to discuss everything there is to know about the International Food Exhibition.
The International Food Exhibition (IFEX) is an annual event organized by DTI’s Center for International Trade Expositions and Mission co-presented by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service. It features the best products from local markets in the country.
This year’s three-day event will focus on the country’s seafood products or the “best of the seas,” as per Usec. Terrado said. Aside from the wide array of food products, attendees get the chance to see how the food is actually prepared through cooking demos.
Usec. Terrado shared that IFEX is a platform for micro, small, and medium enterprises to match with their target buyers. Small business owners undergo a series of seminars regarding product development, pricing, marketing, packaging, and exporting.
She also mentioned that the industry is heavily influenced by millennials, which, according to her, are socially conscious and sophisticated. She also brought up that they are willing to spend more money as long as it is healthy, safe, and convenient. They are also after the story behind the food. Other food certifications like Halal and Kosher are also being considered.
Proudly Pinoy food products like chocolates and pili nuts are already recognized internationally particularly France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Seafood products such as tuna, processed milk fish, and tuyo are also being exported in other countries.
“Iba na ang labanan ngayon because we are part of ASEAN, we are competing with our neighbors in our very own market kaya kailangan [of high] quality talaga,” Usec. Terrado shared. This is why DTI always partners with small businesses so they could level up their product development and marketing.
East-West Seed is one of the businesses helped by DTI. Since 1982, Dutch Simon Groot has partnered with Filipino Benito Domingo in introducing high-quality vegetable seeds in Southeast Asia. The company is producing seeds such as eggplant, pepper, okra, and kangkong that are tailor-fit for the Philippine topography.
“May mga nagsasabi na ang pagtatanim daw ay [para sa mga] green thumb-holder lang. ‘Yun po ay aking dini-dispute dahil for 15 years ‘yan po ang aking trabaho, pagsasanay sa mga magsasaka. Kung lahat po ay mabigyan ng tamang pagsasanay, lahat po tayo ay magiging green thumb-[holder]. Wala pong hindi green thumb-holder sa atin,” Dr. Robert Acosta explained.
East-West Seed is joining this year’s exhibit for the first time. “It’s an opportunity for us to create awareness about the organization,” Dexter Difontorum said. Having attended previous exhibits, he shared that he learned the latest trends about food, packaging, hotel and restaurant catering scenes and now they are equipped with the adequate knowledge to present their products.
The IFEX 2018 will happen on May 25-27 at the World Trade Center, Pasay City.
On May 9, 2018, Go Negosyo sa Radyo host Senator Bam Aquino and guest host Faith Salaver were joined by Jemina Ty and Edrich Ty, owners of Blackbough Swimwear as well as Michelle Ann Sayat, Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager of DHL Philippines to discuss the bridging of local MSMEs and their consumers through online logistics companies.
Blackbough Swimwear is a local startup company specializing in beachwear for all body types. Without any knowledge in business and fashion industry, Jemina Ty started the online store with Edrich Ty.
Having frequented our tropical islands and being frustrated over her preferences, Jemina realized her fondness of creating her own style of swimwear. “Why not gumawa na lang ako for myself based from what I want,” she said.
She found a dressmaker to bring her vision into a reality and started including them with all her other pre-loved items in her online shop. The overwhelming response of buyers then paved the way for her and Edrich to launch Blackbough’s own website to reach more customers.
The business is widely popular among other countries with the United States as its top client. The Philippines only ranked 4th-5th based on their consumer report. In line with this, the demand for better services is consistently growing.
“Kailangan talaga mag-step up kasi pag nasa international market ka na, matataas talaga ang standards ng mga consumers,” Edrich said. He also highlighted the need to keep up and be on par with all the other businesses especially in the online market.
To address this problem, Blackbough Swimwear has partnered with DHL Philippines, one of the world’s top logistics companies. It links sellers with their clients for a smooth-sailing business transaction. DHL handles the internal arrangements including customs, shipping, and other marketing concerns for the sellers.
Michelle Ann Sayat reported that there is a big number of MSMEs that are hesitant to partner with them because of the said constraints. “The challenge is to encourage them to try,” she mentioned.
She also added that DHL prioritizes local micro, small, and medium enterprises catering to the international market. DHL helps in integrating shipping services to the websites so as not to burden both the client and the seller in calculating their fees.
Through customized solutions, the company helps MSMEs in the Philippines scale up to a global level. This only shows that locally-made products are viewed with high regard and can compete with top brands in the ever-growing industry of e-commerce.
On May 2, 2018, Go Negosyo sa Radyo host Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla and co-host Sen. Bam Aquino were joined by Head of Partnerships of Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm Mia Navarro as well as JP Jose, Jem Awa, and Danilo Ablen to discuss their social enterprises as graduates of the School for Experiential and Entrepreneurial Development (SEED) program.
Gawad Kalinga (GK) is known for building houses for the underprivileged members of the society. But for Mia Navarro, “it is more than that. Building houses is just a start of the journey to really end poverty.” Through the program, they were able to make money and at the same time help out people that is why there is always a social impact through GK’s program.
The SEED program is GK Enchanted Farm’s avenue for entrepreneurs to build their social enterprises. The GK Enchanted Farm the first farm, village, and university in the world located in Angat, Bulacan. Young entrepreneurs undergo a 2-year TESDA accredited program as well as attend workshops and a final interview before launching their own social enterprises.
More than the technical aspects like skills trailing, SEED highlights character building in order to boost their confidence level. The young entrepreneurs have mentors to hone their skills and knowledge and provide emotional support as they move away from their homes to attend the program.
JP Jose, co-founder of Oasis Chips or more commonly known as OChips, shared how he and his friends who are all food lovers started their enterprise. According to him, rootcrops are of low value and often neglected in the country that is why they used taro (gabi), sweet potato (kamote), purple yam (ube), and potato to manufacture chips that are pure and natural.
Faburoots co-founder Jem Awa mentioned that their business which also utilizes rootcrops to produce powders is a way to engage more farmers in their endeavor. Powders made from gabi, kamote, ube, and cassava can be used as an additive or substitute to regular flour in baking desserts. They can also be used for jam and ice cream making. These rootcrops help lower blood sugar level and prevent other cardiovascular diseases.
Meanwhile, co-founder Danilo Ablen told the story of how they came up with OhGK!. Someone from the Enchanted Farm with a respiratory failure was given an Oregano drink and eventually felt better, all thanks to their Nanay Gloria. They then incorporated Honey, Ginger, and Kalamansi to the drink for a new flavor, hence the name. The detoxifying drink enterprise is now eyeing on exploring other indigenous crops to create new drink varieties.
These three young entrepreneurs are scholars of the SEED program who are behind the 15-20 enterprises established every year. Going to SEED, according to them, is hard and not an easy path but with the right passion and mind, they were able to overcome the challenges. “Kahit gaano ka katalino, kahit gaano ka ka-skilled, if you don’t have the heart for it, if hindi ka talaga motivated, then you’re not gonna make it,” Mia said.
When asked about how she got through the hardships, Jem said “iniisip talaga namin kung para kanino yung ginagawa namin.” Danilo recalled how used to dig up a fish pond for seven days during his days in the camp. Through these activities, “nahukay ko din yung halaga ko,” he commented.
“Put integrity first over profit. Whatever you do, you don’t do it for yourself, you do it for the people around you. Kung pwede kang may maitulong, itulong mo.” These lessons mentioned by Mia will always be imbibed and applied by these young minds behind these successful social enterprises.
Go Negosyo sa Radyo host DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla was joined by Lazada Philippines Co-Founder & CEO Inanc Balci as well as Nick Escalante and Jen Silan, Hype Transport System Inc.’s President & CEO and Chief Operating Officer to discuss their experiences in providing fast and guaranteed e-services to the public last April 25, 2018.
Having attended Purdue University, Inanc Balci went to become a mergers & acquisitions and investment banking analyst in Istanbul, Turkey and London, United Kingdom respectively. He then co-founded Lamido and helloPay in the country in 2013 and 2015 which paved the way for the establishment of Lazada Philippines.
Lazada is the number one online shopping and selling destination in Southeast Asia. It was simultaneously launched in 2012 in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The startup was also introduced to Singapore in 2014.
Entrepreneurs can easily sell their products online as they do not need a big initial expenditure capital. They could complement their offline business so they could reach all 65 million users in the country and expand their market.
Lazada pioneered the cash-on-delivery (COD) system in the country. DJ Cheska then asked for the risks and challenges that this feature offers as it could affect the company’s sales. “The aim is not to generate sales but for them to try e-commerce,” Balci said. He then reported that Filipinos are hesitant to put their card details online as around 80% of the users opt COD when shopping. “Yes, it’s very difficult; it’s costly, but it’s the cost of creating a billion-dollar industry in the country,” he continued. He also highlighted the importance of taking risks in pursuing his vision to grow the e-commerce industry in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, the Hype Transport Systems Inc. is a local transport network company (TNC) headed by Nick Escalante. The “Tatak Pinoy” company is a pioneer in offering ride-hailing services outside Metro Manila.
According to Nick Escalante, available ride-hailing apps cannot fully attend to the demand of the public. “May lugar pa kami sa industry,” Escalante said. This is why they expanded their reach, meaning the app will be available not only in central business districts but also in key provinces like Cebu and Davao.
One of Hype’s key features is that users can request for rides even when there is no internet connection through SMS booking. Jen Silan announced that users can select from a wide range of vehicles in booking their trip.
With its recent LTFRB accreditation, the company is already processing the pre-qualifications and pre-accreditations of transportation network vehicle service (TNVS) drivers. The Hype app is set to be available this May.
Lazada and Hype Transport System, Inc. are some of the digital innovations that provide convenience to the public. These digital services are continuously being developed to cater the fast-growing demand of the Filipinos.
On April 18, 2018, Go Negosyo sa Radyo host DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla and co-host Senator Bam Aquino were joined by the Philippines’ very own Tax Whiz and Go Negosyo Mentor Mon Abrea where they discussed the major changes in paying one’s taxes in effect of the newly implemented Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN law.
In celebrating April as Tax Awareness Month, Mr. Abrea reminded all taxpaying professionals to settle and update their Income Tax Return forms. “Sinasabi kong pabiro, ‘What you don’t know won’t hurt you’ [pero] sa tax hindi — ‘What you don’t know will kill you with penalty,’” he bantered. He also said that that they should submit the updated forms for their respective taxpayer categories which are available for download on Bureau of Internal Revenue’s (BIR) official website.
Mr. Abrea also published the “Tax Handbook: TRAIN Edition” earlier this year. The handbook consists of 100 most frequently asked questions on paying taxes in the advent of the TRAIN law. Some of the questions raised include the forms to be filled out, the deadline of submission, and the penalties in the event of late turnover of forms.
With the new scheme, freelancers and professionals can now update their taxpayer’s information including the sworn declaration of gross receipts so the system can adjust their withholding tax. He also said that taxpayers must always be vigilant and diligent in updating their forms.
Major improvements have been made in the filing of taxpayers’ accounts since BIR launched the digitization of their services in 2014. This allowed for a smoother flow of transactions as well as convenience for the taxpayers.
To be of more service to the taxpaying public, the Tax Whiz App is being developed and is set to be available soon on everyone’s smartphones. It is an effort by Mr. Abrea’s Asian Consulting Group (ACG) in partnership with BIR and Bank of the Philippine Islands to lessen the burden in paying their taxes — “para hindi sila maBUWISit,” he shared. The app will provide an easier transaction for the self-employed and professionals. You can sign up on app.acg.ph to get updates on the release of the app.
On March 21, 2018, Go Negosyo sa Radyo host DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla and co-host Senator Bam Aquino were joined by Aya Fernandez, Founder of Project Lily and Harley Dave Beltran, Founder of Handicrafted by Harl’s, the two social-entrepreneurs who employs person with disabilities (PWD) in their businesses.
In this episode a beauty queen and an artist turned social-entrepreneur will share her inspiring story of success.
More than just a pretty face, the 20 year old model and event host Aya Fernandez is a champion of environmental sustainability and empowering PWD’s. In 2015, Aya won the Miss Teen Earth crown and recently she was awarded as one of the Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs in the 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit as an Outstanding Youth for advocating environmental sustainability through their eco-friendly “uling” (eco-uling) made from waterlily, coconut husk, twigs and other agri-forest waste.
The idea of Project Lily started as her high school research project, making fiber glass reinforcement from water hyacinth (waterlily). Her advocacy is to utilize the water hyacinth as source of livelihood and at the same time to contribute in saving the environment. After high school she started Project Lily as bag-making livelihood project for the women of Brgy. Rosario, Pasig City which became her flagship advocacy in winning the Miss Teen Earth, the following year she met a group of PWD’s who makes charcoal from water hyacinth and other agri-forest waste.
When she was nominated as United Nations Ambassador Youth Leader for Sustainable Development, she proposed that the PWD’s would be her beneficiary, but in an unexpected event, she had learned that the eco-uling production had stopped and they were asked to leave the land they use in charcoal production due to ceased operation. To help the PWD’s, Aya used her savings from her modeling and hosting stint to buy machines for eco-uling production. Her first thought is to be an angel investor as she had never thought of personally engaging in the eco-uling production until she had noticed the problems in management and quality control, then this is where she stepped-in to personally handle the social-enterprise.
The second guest is a social-entrepreneur by accident, Harley Dave Beltran is an artist envisioning to be known in the mainstream bag-making industry. According to him it started from a PWD in a wheelchair named Ronald who often passed-by his house during weekends. Out of curiosity, Harley asked the crippled man if he is interested in having a sustainable job in a small business. Soon, Ronald became his first PWD employee.
Later on, one of his neighbor asked him if he can accommodate deaf and mute persons in his small business, Harley simply replied that he can only accept them provided that his neighbor will teach him sign-language. The next day his neighbor brought four deaf and mute persons in his workshop, at first the challenge for them is the communication barrier in their workshop. To solve the problem, Ronald initiated a sign-language lesson to be able to communicate with the PWD’s efficiently and a bible study every week for their spiritual well-being.
Harley wants to change the mindset of the persons with disabilities that instead of asking for alms in the street they can be productive by making premium products, “doon ko natutunan kay Ronald at doon sa iba pa na they are just waiting for a chance, hindi lahat ng nanghihingi sa kalsada ginusto nila yan” he said. Many businessmen were hesitant to hire a differently abled person in their workforce because they see them as a disadvantage to their productivity, but for Harley, deploying PWD’s in his business actually helped their productivity, “nung nagsimula ako magdeploy ng differently abled yung productivity ko mas tumaas” said Harley.
Harley was invited to Germany to showcase their products and the Europeans were amazed of his project for the PWD’s. Senator Bam Aquino asked him what he had learned in Germany and what they have learned from him, Harley said he learned a lot about up-cycling in Germany and on how we thought as waste can actually be turned into a useful product. In return to their generosity, Harley showed them how differently abled persons can be a valuable part of their business.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RECYCLING AND UP-CYCLING
Waste reduction is part of company initiative to help in conserving the environment and at the same time to cut the cost of production, DJ Cheska asked Harley what is the difference between recycling and up-cycling. According to Harley, recycling uses power to destroy the waste materials to turn into raw materials again, while in up-cycling they do not destroy the waste materials instead they just beautified it to make a premium product.
Aya’s dream is to make her company more inclusive for differently abled persons she wanted to create a system in her company that will assess the needs of blind workers as of now they were unable to employ blind workers because of their skill limitation. But Aya will not stop working until she finds a way to make her company suitable for blind workers. Senator Bam asked Aya, in Harley’s case deploying PWD’s in his workforce helped in increasing the company’s productivity if this also works for her, Aya answered by quoting a direct quotation from one of her staff, “hindi hadlang ang kahirapan o anumang kapansanan para makagawa ka ng makabuluhan para sa bayan”. In her observation she had noticed that this differently abled workers have more drive to work compare to a normal abled person because they want to prove themselves to the world.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO OTHER ENTREPRENEURS
Adding PWD’s in your business’ workforce requires change not only to the employers’ perception but also in the overall working environment of the company, Sen. Bam asked the guests what is their advice to other businessmen who wants to engage in employing PWD’s; Harley shared while some of the PWD’s are used to ask for donation in the streets and doesn’t want to work anymore, instead of letting them be, we encourage them to work for us and turn their disabilities to abilities and make the most of that they can be.
For Aya we need to change our perception about these people and embrace their gifts. Some of them are used to begging for alms but not all of them are like that, some wants to prove their self to us and show what they can do with their disabilities.