On May 10, 2017, Go Negosyo Radio hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & DJ Faith Salaver featured Beverly Aquino and Arlene Mabute — two successful negosyantes who started with meager capitals. In hopes of inspiring listeners to not let financial restrictions stop them from starting their entrepreneurial dream, Beverly and Arlene both shared their stories of hard work, perseverance and innovation.
Beverly’s story starts with Php 1,000 and a passion for cooking she inherited from her mother. Beverly, and her husband Sherwin, had the difficult decision of either using the Php1,000 for starting their business or saving it in order to pay their bills. The couple decided to take their chances and start a lugaw business in San Pablo City. Beverly, equipped with her mom’s recipe for lugaw, shared that the Php 1,000 went to a small kiosk and ingredients for the lugaw. She said overtime the recipe developed into the one they use today thanks to her customers suggestions. Also, that small kiosk which only seated four at a time has now turned into the widely successful Lugaw Queen with 25 branches sprawled all over Luzon today.
Beverly Aquino, owner of “Lugaw Queen”. Photo from “My Puhunan” Facebook page.
Arlene’s story starts out with an even smaller capital of Php 300, which her mother gave her. Encouraged by her mother to do something with her spare time, Arlene decided to buy lumpia wrappers and cheese in order to produce and sell cheese sticks. A seemingly simple product, Arlene’s business began to grow when she realized that producing her own lumpia wrappers would greatly decrease her spending for ingredients. Getting the approval of her husband, Arlene purchased the equipment needed to produce her own wrappers through a loan from CARD-MRI. This move allowed her to produce and modify her product according the buyers and customers demands effectively winning over a loyal following in her area of Antipolo.
DJ Faith enthused that it really isn’t impossible to start from virtually nothing based on Beverly and Arlene’s examples. In a true testament to the entrepreneurial spirit, they didn’t rely on money alone to create a thriving business. The two banked on the entrepreneurial spirit of innovation and hard work through being resourceful and creative.
Beverly shared that her lugaw recipe became a hit mainly because they listened to their customer’s feedback on how to improve. This quality of Beverly to eagerly listen, learn and improve is what led to Lugaw Queen’s expansion. Upon learning about how Jollibee got to grow widely through Francorp, Beverly decided to sign her business up for franchising. Today, she’s also a proud member of the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA). By opening up her business to franchising, the threat of copycats running her down was addressed and a system was also created for operations.
Arlene Mabute is one of the Go Negosyo’s Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Awardee – Micro Entrepreneur category for this year (2017).
Arlene on the other hand, shared that she hasn’t been able to attend seminars or join business associations such as Francorp and PFA. However, Arlene shared that she has a solid community through CARD. A regular in center meetings, Arlene is grateful for the push CARD gave to her business and is now on her 10th loan cycle amounting to Php150,000.
The biggest challenge in business, Beverly said, is really starting. She said that in business there will always be hardships but starting is always the hardest. She wants other current and aspiring entrepreneurs to know that they shouldn’t be afraid of difficulties or failing — because most people only know of you when you succeed and don’t know what you had to go through to get there.
Arlene and Beverly imparted words of wisdom to those who are working with little to no capital. Arlene said that it takes a lot of perseverance and determination to make the dream happen. But also, not to be afraid to ask for help from government and financing institutions. Beverly says that genuine care will take your business far — care for your family, your customers, and your business partners. Also, she tells them to take ownership of their business and to start with what they are passionate about.
Ultimately, to take your business farther, it is important to take advantage of the current programs in place to launch your business. Get your businesses registered through Department of Trade and Industry’s negosyo centers, get training from programs like Mentor Me, apply for micro loans from institutions like CARD, register your business for franchising through Francorp or PFA, and even borrow or apply for equipment through the Department of Science and Technology’s program.
Money is truly not the only ingredient in making a successful business — knowledge, hardwork, time and passion will always account for more.