Student group builds juice business

WHILE most students their age worry where to find jobs after they graduate, a group of student entrepreneurs are certain of where their careers are heading—business.

Quenchers, a bottled juice drink gaining popularity in supermarkets, school canteens, and shipping lines, is a product of B.S. Entrepreneurship students Anne Karisse Bacunawa, Justin Ang, Robert Daniel Chua, Johnley Lao, and Chryseis Ling, who are now in their fourth year in the University of San Carlos.

What started out as a school project in their early years in college became an official business in June 2013 under the business name Cebu Quenchers Beverages with a capital of P500,000. The student entrepreneurs were classmates since they were in elementary, but Bacunawa said it was never part of their plan to go to college together and venture into a group business.

“Upon learning that we were classmates, we decided to be in one group,” Bacunawa said, who acts as Quenchers marketing manager.

Entrepreneurship students in USC are required to establish an “actual and legitimate enterprise” per group, said Joyce Natalie Yang, chair of the Business Administration department, in a previous interview.

At present, Cebu Quenchers produces more than 2,000 bottles weekly, ten folds higher from their initial production of 200 bottles in their manufacturing facility in Salvador Extension in Labangon.

“Before, happy na kaayo mi maka produce og 200 to 250 pieces (per week),” Bacunawa, Quenchers marketing officer, told Sun.Star Cebu.

Quenchers comes in two flavors: guyabano and calamansi with two sizes available, 300mL and one liter. A bulk of the production is concentrated to the smaller bottles and are sold at P20 each, but are available for P15 each at wholesale purchase. One liter of Quenchers, meanwhile, are sold at P70, and P50 at wholesale.

“We have seen the need for Guyabano juice in the market. (Most) people now also prefer juice over softdrinks,” Bacunawa said.

The family of Chua, the general manager of the group, is involved in the fruit business, and this influenced their decision to go into juice drinks. The group is getting the raw materials from there.

But the success of Quenchers would not have been realized if the group took another venture.

“We were supposed to sell USBs because we know a supplier from China,” Bacunawa said.

However, the group decided not to push through with the plan, noting the one-time purchase of USBs among buyers, unlike food or drinks, which are being bought frequently.

As entrepreneurship students, their classes are also complementing the demands of the business.

Every Tuesday and Thursday, they go to school for their class on Entrepreneurship
Integration.

“In this class, we are studying entrepreneurs that are already in their peak. This is also in relation to the Asean integration,” Ling said.

After class, the group utilizes its free time by preparing the production materials like bottles and Quencher stickers. During Friday and Saturday, they do the
production. While Monday and Wednesday are schedules for delivery.

Bacunawa said they are targeting to get a return on investment in five to seven years. “We are getting there slowly but surely,” she added.

The group is also eyeing to go nationwide. At present, they have penetrated some school and corporate canteens, food stalls, shipping lines and supermarkets in Cebu, which are carrying the Healthy Living brand.

Bacunawa said they are also planning to export their products in the future.
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