THE lack of business capital and financing has never been a hindrance to the strong entrepreneurial spirit of the Filipino.
Two self-employed micro-entrepreneurs, who recently won in the 7th Mindanao Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs Awards, proved that statement after having demonstrated that thriving and profitable businesses can begin with the smallest of capital.
Armed with an old refrigerator and a killer ice candy recipe, husband and wife Julius and Olie Budiongan started an ice candy business in October 2015 using just P300 in capital for ingredients. They initially offered their ice candy products to the sari-sari stores in their neighborhood in Cagayan de Oro.
By the summer of 2016, the Budiongans were producing and selling 2,000 pieces of ice candy a day on average. In August 2016, to make their business stand out from the competition, the Budiongans relaunched their product as Kendies Ice Cream Bar, or ice cream packaged like ice candy.
Husband and wife Paul and Sally Genabe, tired of eking out a meager living as a furniture shop attendant and a hardware saleslady in Cagayan de Oro, decided to start their own furniture business in 1998.
Starting with just P500 in capital for materials, Paul produced his first wooden cabinet, which Sally eventually sold for P1,200 under their business, Sally Furniture.
Given the initial successes of their businesses, the Budiongans and the Genabes inevitably thought of growing their ventures even further.
“We wanted to secure more funding to improve our production area and to increase our inventories to meet the growing demand for our products,” said Olie Budiongan.
“However, given the scale and the nature of our business, we faced difficulties securing loans from banks.”
Sally Genabe also faced difficulties finding capital to expand their fledgling furniture business. “We needed the additional funding to procure delivery vehicles, and fast-track our production in time for the Christmas rush,” Genabe said.
Sadly, the long list of requirements and the inflexible repayment schemes of some banks discouraged her from applying for that business loan.
Growing the business
This is the harsh reality that most self-employed micro-entrepreneurs (Semes) face in their quest to grow their businesses.
“The reality is, in our country, there remains a huge gap in providing micro-entrepreneurs access to formal lending and business financing,” said Rod Mabiasen, head of micro-enterprise loans for BPI Direct BanKo.
BPI Direct BanKo, Inc. provides financial solutions to Semes, a sector that rarely has access to formal banking and lending services.
“Empowering small businesses through flexible business loans and sound financial advice is the core of BanKo’s business. Through our NegosyoKo Loans, we provide a simple yet more formal lending platform to micro-entrepreneurs so that they can grow their businesses further. Through this, we believe we’re also changing people’s lives through financial inclusion,” said Mabiasen.
“Thanks to BanKo’s NegosyoKo Loans, we were finally able to secure additional capital to grow our business,” said Olie Budiongan of Kendies Ice Cream Bar.
The Budiongans applied for a NegosyoKo Loan in November 2017 and were granted a P100,000. loan to improve their ice cream bar production facility. This, in turn, doubled their production to an average of 4,000 ice cream bars a day.
Thanks to the sustained growth of the business, the Budiongans now offer the Kendies Ice Cream Bar business package to other aspiring entrepreneurs. The business package includes the equipment, utensils, packaging and ingredients needed to start one’s own Kendies Ice Cream Bar business.
“The low interest of the loan and the grace period for the loan repayment allowed me to utilize and enjoy the proceeds of my business,” said Sally Genabe of Sally Furniture.
The Genabes applied for a NegosyoKo Loan in October 2017, and were granted a P150,000 loan to procure four delivery vehicles for the furniture business. This, in turn, helped Sally Furniture meet the high demand for their wooden products just in time for Christmas.
Today, Sally Furniture employs four carpenters, three painters, one delivery person, and one sales representative. Paul, formerly the business’s sole carpenter, and Sally, who used to be the sole sales representative, can now rest easy and focus on sending their four children to school.
The continued success of Kendies Ice Cream Bar and Sally Furniture did not go unnoticed.
The two micro-enterprises recently bagged recognitions at the 7th Mindanao Business Leaders and Entrepreneur Awards, which was held on Oct. 24, 2018, at the Centrio Mall Events Center, Cagayan de Oro City.
Now on its seventh year, the Mindanao Business Leaders and Entrepreneur Awards is held annually to recognize the entrepreneurs who made valuable contributions in fostering economic growth in the Mindanao region. Kendies Ice Cream Bar and Sally Furniture, who are both clients of BPI Direct BanKo in Cagayan de Oro, won in the micro-entrepreneurs category.
“As a member of the business community, we believe that it is part of our responsibility to recognize the achievements of the business leaders and entrepreneurs of Mindanao,” said Dante Sudaria, project chairman.
“Recognizing their achievements will not only foster a greater sense of consciousness and responsibility among the business leaders and entrepreneurs of Mindanao, but also propel Mindanao, as a region, towards full economic growth and sustainable development,” said Sudaria. (PR)