Humble Beginnings

“Nowadays, people do not believe me when I say that I started with nothing. Back when I began my entrepreneurial career in 2005, many mocked me for engaging in a furniture-making business without any technical knowledge,” shared by Mr. Edwin Sampayan.

Edwin was an employee with an income barely enough to support his family from one payday to the next. Despite having no prior knowledge of furniture-making, he took a gamble and started his business with one employee and his G. Melina trees plantation.

It was a hard-uphill climb considering the presence of established players in Ifugao and Isabela. But he was determined to be one of the best in the game. In 2006, he resigned from his day job to master his craft and focus on operating his small business.

How DTI Helped

In 2014, Mr. Edwin was approached by a Department of Trade and Industry Cordillera (DTI-CAR) Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) staff who offered to help him and the members of the Alfonso Lista Furniture Association (ALFA) grow their business.

CARP supervises a package of micro, small, and medium enterprise (MSME) development programs and projects intended to aid CARP beneficiaries. Particularly, it assists cooperatives/associations of farmers, landowners, women, and youths, who are capable of managing MSMEs.

They attended a series of DTI-CARP funded skills training such as the Furniture Finishing Training, which helped them identify the appropriate finishing material for each type of wood and the proper application techniques. They were also beneficiaries of business consultancies, training, and marketing under the CARP Program.

With improved product quality, Mr. Sampayan was given the opportunity to promote his crafts in the IMPAKABSAT Trade Fair, an annual trade fair where the best products of Cordillera are showcased. The DTI-CARP program also helped him on his project proposal to access assistance from other government agencies.

“Because of these support services, the quality of our products upgraded and became competitive. We were able to enter markets that we cannot penetrate before. I would not be able to enter into a contract with Robinsons Malls if I had not received this assistance. Furthermore, DTI-CARP helped us in re-establishing our association and in registering with DOLE,” said Mr. Sampayan, who is currently the President of the ALFA.

To date, Mr. Sampayan was able to expand his plantation of trees to two hectares and acquire three delivery and service vehicles. Looking ahead, he knows the future is bright especially knowing he can count on people like those from DTI who will help him make his dreams a reality. For queries on DTI programs, you can reach us through Facebook at @DTI.CordilleraAdministrativeRegion. ♦

Date of Release: 3 June 2021