Grassroots business ideas 

Published November 24, 2021, 12:02 AM

by Rikki Mathay


Rikki Mathay

Having received several e-mail from our E-Commerce business ideas post-pandemic column, allow me to share a few grassroots business ideas which I saw during my daily distribution of grocery bags or ayudas in the different barangays in District 6, Quezon City.

In a community in Barangay Sangandaan called Campo Dos, I chanced upon a makeshift fast food restaurant which popped up during the pandemic last year. Making use of the spare space available fronting her home, Maricel placed a table and a few chairs, hung some tropical lights atop her front yard, and started selling sandwiches, kwek-kwek, and the local iced dessert called scramble. What I found impressive though is how she thought of creating DIY scramble kits which she started selling online for delivery, naturally becoming a hit especially when delivery services have become the norm.

Still combing through the houses in a so-called “depressed” community, I met a family weaving strips of cloth to make into floor mats and rugs. While Rizal has been known to be the marketplace offering the cheapest source of textile products, I learned that this family is actually the source of a seller in Rizal.

In barangay Tandang Sora, I befriended a solo parent named Mae whose fridge is filled to the brim with beautiful birthday cakes which she bakes on a daily basis as her additional source of income.  I used to buy cakes from commercialized bakeshops, but as a form of support for Mae’s entrepreneurial drive, I started buying birthday cakes from her instead, especially since the taste of Mae’s cakes is at par with those being sold in malls.

Along Tandang Sora Avenue, I met a woman named Via from nearby barangay Pasong Tamo who transformed her family’s motorcycle into a rolling restaurant selling freshly cooked bulalo noodle soup for only ₱35.00 per bowl. She simply had a “sidecar” big enough to accommodate a table to place a stove with gas tank concealed underneath along with her ingredients and ice chest for her sodas on sale, her utensils and even a room for her alcohol  dispenser, and propped an extra large golf umbrella to keep her and her products under the shade.

Unknown to her, I was actually observing how she conducted her business while I was waiting for my car, it was incredible that there was not a minute a customer was not in sight. As it turns out, what started as one rolling store has grown to three branches in different areas in Quezon City (You may watch my feature on her at my Facebook page, Rikki Mathay QC).
There are several more stories of entrepreneurial endeavors which can be found all across the city, but why do I believe the stories of Maricel, Jhonie, Via and Mae are print worthy?
It is a reminder that there are no prerequisites to becoming an entrepreneur and there are successful entrepreneurs from every demographic. However, these mom-and-pop entrepreneurial undertakings must finally be actively supported by  governments as well as NGOs including aid institutions, through the creation of business solutions that support grassroots innovation.

As the past year imposed unforeseen challenges, it has likewise presented the world with opportunities as demonstrated by richly-minded individuals who may not have as many resources to propel their businesses into their full potential.

Able LGUs must now consider not merely offering subsidies and tax reliefs, but provide actual start up capital loans without interest to marginalized individuals and communities who have proven that what they may be bereft of in financial resources, they more than compensate with the richness of their ideas and entrepreneurial drive despite the global crisis, and will eventually lead to the transformation of a more inclusive and sustainable economy and society.