By Madelaine B. Miraflor
Several small and medium entrepreneurs have been recognized by the government and private sector partners as part of the efforts to empower small businesses in the country.
Presidential Adviser on Economic Enterprise Joey Concepcion, who also founded Go Negosyo, said as part of the national selection committee in the nationwide search for the most outstanding Filipino micro-entrepreneurs, he was able to get to know this year’s awardees of the CITI Microentrepreneurship Award (CMA).
CMA is made possible through the joint effort of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Citi Philippines, and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines.
One of the recipients of the special award for agri micro-business is Rosanna Sinapilo, owner of Coco Deli in Candelaria, Quezon. Rosanna and her husband work hard in order to establish their business.
Another micro-entrepreneur, Lucrecia Neri, also displayed the outstanding entrepreneurial skills of Filipinas. She is the owner of Manna’s Alternatives Herbal Products and AtiManna Organic Hub in Midsayap, Cotabato, and was recognized as the regional awardee for Mindanao.
A cancer survivor, Lucrecia resorted to herbal medication after her surgery. With the help of CARD Bank, Inc., she was able to grow her business and also help her employees receive weekly training sessions for their own development.
Restaurateur Eduardo Azores, who owns Ali-Ali Pastil in South Cotabato, won this year’s CMA Microentrepreneur Award. Azores popularized one of the best-loved delicacies of Muslim Filipinos, which is pastil, made from steamed rice with dry shredded beef, chicken, or fish wrapped in banana leaves.
Like Eduardo, Lea Mancera’s handicraft microenterprise has also helped provide livelihood to different sectors: Abaca farmers in Bicol, as well as to over 100 inmates at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa whom she employs as workers.
To increase business production, the loan she received from Kabuhayan sa Ganap na Kasarinlan Savings and Credit Cooperative has been instrumental for Lea, who received the regional award for Luzon.
Visayas regional awardee Merly Domingo was also able to improve the production of her garment business through loans from Taytay sa Kauswagan, Inc. A seamstress, Merly creates her own designs – from PE uniforms, jerseys for athletes, hoodies, and other sports garments.
A former delivery boy in Manila, Romualdo Blanco Jr., used his meager savings to put up his first puto business in his hometown in Batangas. Using a loan from Bangko Kabayan, he sold more products, such as maja blanca, pichi-pichi, and nilupak, which are now being delivered in different stores all throughout Luzon.
Another special awardee for agri micro-business is Rolando Pega, a spring onion farmer who heads the AGAP Farmers Association of Laguna. Pega was one of the farmers tapped by Ahon Sa Hirap, Inc. to supply spring onions for a major fastfood chain. He was able to gather other onion farmers and they are now supplying spring onions directly to three major fastfood chains in the country.
Caroline Jamias, the recipient of the special award for preservation of traditions, began as a seller of native costumes in Kalinga in 2008. I was surprised when she mentioned that she was a graduate of our Kapatid Mentor ME program last year. Now her business continues to supply authentic Kalinga textile designs and handwoven products, contributing also to the preservation of the Kalinga culture.