Of Learnings, Friendships, and Dreams

 
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It has been months since the culmination of Project PREMIUM in Leyte and Samar. But for some Hapinoy Negosyantes, everything has just begun. Their PREMIUM experience sparked more lessons to learn, bonds to strengthen, and dreams to fulfill.  

During the six-month engagement, sari-sari store owners were exposed to different ideas and opportunities and were capacitated with different tools and techniques. The goal was to provide basic knowledge on how to manage small businesses and extend services in the community especially in times of disasters.  

“Nakatulong ‘yong mga natutunan ko sa training. Iyong paglilista ng mga sales, ‘yong cash flow. Natutunan ko rin kung ilan ang kita, ano ‘yong percent margin. At natutunan ko rin kung paano mag-control ng gastos”, said Tita Nimfa Leona when asked about what she learned from PREMIUM. 

(“What I learned from the training has helped me. I learned about sales, cash flow, and percent margin. I also learned how to control my expenses”, said Tita Nimfa Leona when asked about what she learned from PREMIUM.) 

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

From business growth to personal development, the trainings helped shape resilient microbusinesses in the region. “Kung dati ang tindahan ko parang pinababayaan ko, ngayon asikaso ko na dahil may nalalaman na ako sa pagnenegosyo”, shared Tita Elena Pelicano, one of the PREMIUM graduates from District 4, Julita, Leyte. 

(“Unlike before, I now look after my store because I have already learned how to manage my business”, shared Tita Elena Pelicano, one of the PREMIUM graduates from District 4, Julita, Leyte.) 

As sari-sari store owners become equipped to face the challenges of business handling, they are also introduced to different key players in the community that may help in the growth of their businesses. Through PREMIUM, they are linked to organizations and businesses to create a resilient supply chain. But most importantly, they are connected to other sari-sari store owners in order to build a network of microbusinesses in the area.  

Every PREMIUM graduate is plugged in a business cell, a group of sari-sari store owners that may serve as their support. They are encouraged to build relationships beyond the learning sessions. And throughout the period of learning with PREMIUM, they have developed a bond, a connection they aspire to strengthen.  

“Sa tagal-tagal ng mga workshop namin, naging close namin sila. Masaya kasi ‘yong mga nanay na dito na kasama ako sa Hapinoy dito, noong una, nagkakakita-kita lang kami pero hindi kami masyadong ganoon. ‘Yong magchi-chika kasi awkward. Hindi naman kami close. Tapos ngayon, noong nagkasama-sama kami sa workshop, parang bonding na rin sa amin. Tapos napag-uusapan na ‘yong mga bagay na hindi namin napag-uusapan noon”, Tita Geralyn Sabarillo shared.

(“I become close to them since we attended many workshops together. I am delighted to be with other Hapinoy nanays. Before, there was an awkwardness to talk about things. But now that we have developed a good relationship with each other, we bond and share stuff we do not talk about before”, Tita Geralyn Sabarillo shared.) 

Related: My BFF: The Business Cell Concept of Hapinoy

After the PREMIUM graduation, PREMIUM graduates meet once a month for a business cell meeting where they continue to learn from Hapinoy and their business friends.

After the PREMIUM graduation, PREMIUM graduates meet once a month for a business cell meeting where they continue to learn from Hapinoy and their business friends.

Amidst the busyness of juggling business and family life, the time they spend with their business cell is something they look forward to. It is a time for learning, unwinding, and dreaming. “Kasi sa kaming mga nanay, maraming ginagawa, medyo busy, nakakalimutan na ‘yong ibang topics. At least sa business cell na-re-recap yong mga topics at ‘yon minsan nare-refresh kami. At nagkakamerong rason na magkita-kita kami”, Tita Geralyn added. 

(Amidst the busyness of juggling business and family life, the time they spend with their business cell is something they look forward to. It is a time for learning, unwinding, and dreaming. “Since we, mothers, are busy, we tend to forget some topics. At least in business cell, these topics are recapped and we can be refreshed. This becomes our reason to meet”, Tita Geralyn added.) 

Tita Jennifer Soledad, one of the PREMIUM graduates, said that while she maintains the competition, she continues to be friends with her business cell. “When it comes to business, may competition pa rin. Hindi ‘yon matatanggal pero at the end of the day, friends pa rin kayo. Marami ako kasing natutunan. Tapos na-e-enhance din ‘yong knowledge mo about business tapos nagkakaroon ka ng maraming mga friends. Mas nagiging active, mas magiging jolly ka pagdating sa business. Tapos mas nagiging mataas ‘yong goal mo sa ano business mo, ‘yong vision mo”, she added.  

(Tita Jennifer Soledad, one of the PREMIUM graduates, said that while she maintains the competition, she continues to be friends with her business cell. “When it comes to business, there is still a competition, but at the end of the day, we remain friends. I am learning so much from them. It enhances my knowledge about business and at the same time, I gain more friends. They help me dream for more and have a vision for my business”, she added.) 

With all the learnings and friendships, PREMIUM graduates are also inspired to dream big for their businesses and their families. They are encouraged to have a vision of the future they want.  

“Wala na po akong trabaho. Ito lang ‘yong source ko. Ang pangarap ko ma-up and down itong tindahan ko para lumuwag-luwag ito dito. Maliit kasi e. At saka ‘yong pamilya ko maitaguyod ko lang, okay na ‘yon sa akin. Kasi kahit maliit lang ang tindahan mo, nakakaipon-ipon ka malaking bagay na”, shared Tito Jayron Octaviano, a PREMIUM graduate from Tacloban City.  

(“I do not have a job. This is our source of income. I dream to expand my store because currently we have just enough space for everything. It is also my goal to always provide the need of my family. Even though my business is small, it is something that I can save from what I earn here”, shared Tito Jayron Octaviano, a PREMIUM graduate from Tacloban City.) 

Like Tito Jayron, Tita Alma Superada draws income from the gains of her store. Because of this, she grabs every opportunity to grow her business and continue its operations. “Iyong sa akin po, simple lang ‘yong habang may pinapag-aral ako sana po ay hindi bumagsak, hindi mapurdoy kung baga sa aming salita. Iyong hindi siya bumagsak kasi doon ko kinukuha ‘yong pinapaaral ko sa anak ko”, shared Tita Alma.  

(Like Tito Jayron, Tita Alma Superada draws income from the gains of her store. Because of this, she grabs every opportunity to grow her business and continue its operations. “My dream is simple. I want my store to continue its operations until my children graduate from school because this is where we get the expenses for that”, shared Tita Alma. ) 

Through the three-year implementation, PREMIUM witnessed the growth and expansion of many businesses. It saw relationships and networks flourishing. But most importantly, it celebrated microentrepreneurs as they regain esteem and confidence in life and in what they do.  

After months of workshop, sari-sari store owners found new friends with other microentrepreneurs in other areas in Leyte.  Photo by Ruthy Prudenciado

After months of workshop, sari-sari store owners found new friends with other microentrepreneurs in other areas in Leyte. Photo by Ruthy Prudenciado

PREMIUM is a project funded by the Government of Canada and implemented by Hapinoy, CARD and RIMANSI in partnership with the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada. It started in 2016 with the goal of helping microentrepreneurs affected by Typhoon Yolanda.  

Related: Building Micro-entrepreneurs, Growing Resilient Businesses

To know more about Project PREMIUM and Hapinoy, you may visit the Hapinoy Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Hapinoy.