Islands works with small vendors

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Jonathan Jay Aldeguer, chief executive officer and founder of Islands Group, says many of the micro and small entrepreneurs have been longing to have breaks to grow their businesses. Aldeguer says the Pinoy Deli station at the Islands Pasalubong can be a platform where they can expand their business and market reach. (Amper Campana/Sun.Star Cebu)


THE Islands Group is working with small entrepreneurs to supply them with products for sale at its Islands Pasalubong outlets.

The company installed a Pinoy Deli station in its Islands Pasalubong branch on Salinas Drive in Lahug. The station showcases all-time favorite Filipino delicacies prepared by small entrepreneurs in Cebu.

Jonathan Jay Aldeguer, chief executive officer and founder of Islands Group, said many of the micro and small entrepreneurs have been longing to have breaks to grow their businesses. He said the Pinoy Deli station at the Islands Pasalubong can be a platform where they can expand their business and market reach.

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Aldeguer said they embarked on a new business model called Inclusive Business Program to empower small businesses and include them in the supply value chain. He said they will provide support in terms of helping them with strategies, branding and packaging as well as capability building with the help of the Department of Trade and Industry.

“Instead of merely donating, we incorporated our social cause in the business model,” he said.

Filipino delicacies

The Pinoy Deli station sells old-time favorite Filipino delicacies such as bibingka, biko, sapin-sapin, kuchinta and puto’t sikwate.

Since the opening two weeks ago, the deli section has gotten the interest of local costumers as well as foreign tourists who frequent the store.

There are currently six micro-entrepeneurs that supply at least 10 to 15 different homegrown delicacies.

Among the participants of the program are Corazon Bercero, 60, a bibingka vendor in Mandaue and Nora Macachor, 43, who sells puto maya and sikwate.

“What made me say yes to get involved in this program is that it gives us the opportunity to expand the business,” said Macachor who started selling puto in the sidewalk near the public market in Mandaue since 2005.

She said the stall she maintains at the Islands Pasalubong opened a wider market which was previously limited to Mandaue City. “Since we expanded here, sales have been picking up,” she said.

Macachor earns P500 to P600 as profits per day. Her children have also adopted the sense of entrepreneurship and are now involved in the business. The children, who are still studying, take turn in manning the stall depending on their availability.

Bercero, on the other hand, said she was grateful she was given the opportunity to sell there.

“I am happy I was given the chance to succeed more in this venture,” she said. Bercero is well-known in Mandaue for her freshly-cooked bibingka. She has been selling bibingka for more than three decades.

“This livelihood enabled me to send my children to school and I’m proud to say my three kids finished college because of this business,” she said.

Bercero makes hundreds of bibingka daily using the traditional preparation and her own recipe. She earns a combined profit of P3,000 a day from her sales in Mandaue and Cebu cities. “I am grateful I said yes to this offer because my clients grew. Japanese, for instance, are loving my bibingka,” she said.

Bercero and Macachor’s stalls open at 4 a.m., ahead of the Islands Pasalubong store.

Entrepreneurship

“We are not only giving opportunity to small players to sell their products, the aim of this program is to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of every Filipino. I believe in the spirit of entrepreneurship and if Filipinos are given the opportunity, they can really become world-class entrepreneurs,” Aldeguer said.

The Islands Pasalubong on Salinas Drive is the sixth outlet of the company. Aldeguer said they plan to open five more outlets in Cebu this year with an investment of P3.5 million for each outlet.

Aldeguer said the aggressive expansion can be attributed to the fast growth of the food sector and increasing rediscovery of local food items, delicacies and homemade favorites.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 01, 2014.

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