Building Micro-entrepreneurs, Growing Resilient Businesses

 
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Three years after Yolanda, internationally known as Haiyan, the Government of Canada has supported a project to promote resiliency among affected micro-entrepreneurs in Leyte and Samar through the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF), with Center for Agriculture and Rural Development, Inc. (CARD), Hapinoy and Mi-MBA Association of the Philippines, Inc. (RIMANSI) as the implementing organizations. The project, coined as “Bagong Araw Philippines: Rebuilding Through Microinsurance and Women’s Enterprises” or Project PREMIUM, aims to equip 1, 600 micro-entrepreneurs with knowledge, tools and resources through training, access to capital, and microinsurance.

With these interventions, Project PREMIUM encourages these micro-entrepreneurs, who experienced the tremendous consequences of typhoon Yolanda, to not only grow their businesses but also serve their communities especially in times of disasters.

Related: Project Bagong Araw: The dawn of hope for Yolanda-affected Microentrepreneurs

Building a resilient supply chain

Most, if not all, of the Project PREMIUM graduates experienced the wrath of Yolanda. Their houses and stores were down, and like everyone else, they were in dire need of relief and support. But aware of the immediate needs of the community during the aftermath of Yolanda, most decided to open shop again with limited goods to sell.

“So kung walang tindahan sa area, magpapanic ang mga tao kasi mawawalan sila ng supply. So we really need to assure the public that there is supply. We can only do that if the supply chain is still stable”, shared Meilou Macabare, the Provincial Director of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Samar, on the relevance of partnering with sari-sari store owners in establishing a resilient supply chain.

(“So if there is no store around the area, people will panic since supply will be unavailable for them. So we really need to assure the public that there is supply. We can only do that if the supply chain is still stable,” shared Meilou Macabare, the Provincial Director of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Samar, on the relevance of partnering with sari-sari store owners in establishing a resilient supply chain.)

Anchoring on this role of sari-sari stores, Project PREMIUM trained sari-sari store owners with basic knowledge on business management, product diversification, customer segmentation, and most importantly, business continuity planning and disaster preparedness. It also provided access to additional capital and microinsurance. These initiatives aimed to hone and help them to continuously grow their businesses and promote business resiliency.

Aside from these, Project PREMIUM also recognized the importance of connecting the sari-sari store owners to suppliers, distributors, and other partners in creating a resilient supply chain.

“When I attended the Caravan in (Tacloban) Astrodome, when PREMIUM presented their programs and services, sabi ko we can actually come in. Kasi right now we have the disaster management plan tapos meron kami doon kasama to contact our distributors. We need the sari-sari stores to really complete the picture”, shared Dir. Macabare on building partnerships with micro-entrepreneurs.

(“When I attended the Caravan in [Tacloban] Astrodome…, when PREMIUM presented their programs and services, I said we can actually come in. Because right now we have the disaster management plan, including the contact to our distributors. We need the sari-sari stores to really complete the picture”, shared Dir. Macabare on building partnerships with micro-entrepreneurs.)

With all its contribution in equipping sari-sari store owners and initiating the creation of the resilient supply chain in the region, this project aspires to see these micro-entrepreneurs grow and create sustainable and resilient businesses not only for their families, but more importantly to their communities -- and this is the heart of Project PREMIUM.

Related: Back to Business: Rising from the Ruins of Typhoon Yolanda