Rise of the ‘homepreneur’

Published September 21, 2020, 4:57 PM

by John Tria

#MINDANAO

John Tria
John Tria

Of the many things that have risen in the last six months one of the more inspiring is the “homepreneneur,” home-based entrepreneurs who utilize unique skills and local resources to build a livelihood from the safety of the home.

They are often into food-based businesses such as baking and cooking pastries, breads, and dishes that assuage the culinary cravings of local residents.

A good number of them also form part of the so-called gig economy, home-based business process outsourcing individuals who either do virtual assistant work or do online teaching for clients.

Do they form part of the record 68,000 new online businesses that have registered? Looks like it.

Talking to some of them, they relate that they left their jobs to start a new business in order to remain safely at home, especially now that their kids have begun online classes, to be with their children to guide their online learning.The kids and other close relatives living sometimes share in the tasks and take part in the home business.

Do they see themselves expanding? Some of them do, especially after this disruption passes. They look to hiring more people as a result, and seeking new suppliers, often from local businesses and farms.

For them, building a livelihood despite the challenges is a blessing amid these uncertain times. Hats off to them. The resilience and creativity of the homepreneur is an inspiration to many.

The growing appreciation for brown rice

Some have asked whether shifting to brown rice is a healthier option and I say, of course. To begin with, brown rice is not a variety of rice, but unpolished, locally grown rice.

Since the American period, we have been so used to superpolished white rice from mechanized, multipass rice mills which remove the fiber-rich bran, leaving a lot of the starch. This is why it takes more white rice to make you feel fuller.

On the other hand, our ancestors hand pounded the rice, leaving more fiber.

As you guessed it, the higher fiber and protein content of brown rice not only lowers its glycemic index, but makes you consume less volumes of rice. I am hoping that more rice mills can produce brown rice. I also hope the local restaurants can offer brown rice options for their meals.

Coffee and cacao powder plants

As Mindanao pushes coffee and cacao production the next question is how we add value through processing.

Prior to all of these disruptions, the market of choice for producers was always artisanal buyers or higher end specialty buyers, rather than the instant coffee and chocolate segment.

However, as global demand may slump a bit, many consumers may shift to instant coffee and cocoa instead of the pricier variants. To meet this need, this demands that a coffee and cocoa powder plant be built near the source — in Mindanao. Of course, we remain, as a country, to be a net importer of these commodities, and are a big consumer of the instant varieties. It is time we produce more for our own needs.

Perhaps mainstream business organizations and foreign chambers based in Manila can collaborate to find investors or partners to develop these vital downstream industries, which will be a big help to our farmers, and consumers seeking the finished products.

October 1 webinar

In the continuing series of the Mindanao Business Conference events, the next webinar on October 1, at 10 a.m. features Balik Probinsya and the various mixed-use and industrial developments in Mindanao. Log on to www.davaochamber.com for details.

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