Food supplements aren’t the first things one would associate with banana catsup, but such is the unexpectedly beautiful story of Elizabeth Cane. Her story is a classic example of how a major setback can actually open doors to a new kind of success.
Armed with a bachelor’s degree in Commerce, Elizabeth, who was originally from Tarlac, started out as a bookkeeper at a catsup factory. After two years of gaining new skills and experiences, she was hired by a bigger financing company.
After marrying her husband whom she met in a catsup production facility, they settled in Butuan City where they raised their four children.
When her husband’s contract abroad ended in 1996, the couple was faced with the challenge of finding a new source of income and maximizing their savings. They studied the feasibility and profitability of the catsup business.
They saw the potential and promise in their formulated plans which inspired them to go ahead with the banana catsup manufacturing venture in their province.
But the road to success is rarely straight and smooth. They soon found themselves struggling against competitors who had more access to cheaper raw materials. As a result, they were unable to compete against the more affordable prices of their competitors.
But as they say, when one door closes, another opens. Forced to explore another line of business, Elizabeth and her husband ventured into manufacturing food supplements with no direct competitors. They had the specific equipment needed and an abundance of raw materials—lemongrass or tanglad.
This second business grew steadily, and they have now expanded their health products to lemongrass capsules, lemongrass hydrosol, lemongrass essential oils, calamansi concentrate, calamansi juice, and calamansi juice with hydrosol. With positive reviews and encouragements from their customers, Elizabeth believes that they are on the right track.
She credits the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and its programs in helping their business succeed. From training and seminars to various forms of assistance, “DTI has always been there to support us SMEs,” says Elizabeth. Through local, national, and international trade fairs, DTI has also helped in promoting their products.
“Never give up on your dreams. All the more, never give up just because you are a woman,” says Elizabeth. She realizes that being a wife or mother in a family business doesn’t have to mean taking on a secondary, supportive role. She believes that women are born leaders because of their innate creativity, resourcefulness, attention to detail, and resilience.
Above all, Elizabeth believes that leadership is all about making a difference. “Don’t forget to be an outlet of change, in doing business,” she says. “We should not only be after the profit, but we should also consider helping our community and our economy.” It’s a brand of leadership that not only brings joy to one table but to many. ♦
Date of Release: 9 September 2020