Joel and his wife Sarah and their children in front of their water refilling station.

In the year 2021, when Joel and his wife Sarah lost their jobs because of the pandemic, they thought of starting a new business. However, it was very difficult for them to think of one since neither of them is a business-minded person. More so, having a child put Joel and Sarah into a very difficult situation which pressured them to borrow money from one friend to another.

One day, Joel’s parents decided to help them by providing them a start-up capital to start a water refilling station. Joel and Sarah were so happy after hearing this good news, but they did not have any idea how to start and run a business and this was the first challenge they encountered.

In June 2021, Sarah started asking her friends. She was very determined to maximize the start-up capital given to them. This led her to visiting a Negosyo Center of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in Laguna. She asked for assistance regarding business name registration as well as information that could help them start their business. After business counselling and coaching, the couple named the business Agua De Gio Water Refilling Station and registered it with DTI under Joel’s name. In addition to this, the Negosyo Center Business Counsellor linked Joel and Sarah to nearby businesses which could help them with their supplies. Eventually, they were provided and assisted with Barangay Micro Business Enterprise registration.

Afterwards, Joel and Sarah opened the business and completed all the necessary documents in a month. Even by having these documents on hand, Joel and Sarah also experienced the struggles given restrictions set by the Inter-Agency Task Force guidelines due to the ongoing pandemic at that time. They also needed to adjust to the allowed protocols for one business to be able to operate.

Despite the determination to start a business, the couple also underwent financial crisis, and it was hard for Joel and Sarah since they did not have any knowledge on how to cope with the situation. As newcomers in the business world, they were not able to establish a contingency plan for such circumstances. Then again, they visited the Negosyo Center and sought further assistance regarding marketing strategies that could help them expand and sustain their business.

Extension services were then provided to Joel and Sarah, and the Negosyo Center Business Counsellor provided the couple with an overview of the marketing mix which they needed to understand for them to be able to establish the foundation of their business. Moreover, they were given ideas regarding the 5Ps of marketing and how to apply it effectively and efficiently.

With the information and insights that they learned about marketing, little by little, Joel and Sarah’s business sales boosted. The couple associated this progress to the proper execution of strategy regarding the business’ marketing mix. Not only about business information on marketing strategies did the couple seek assistance from the Negosyo Center but also about registration to Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the fourth quarter of 2021, the couple started gathering documents and requirements relative to their application to IPOPHL and SEC guided by the information given to them by the Negosyo Center Business Counsellor.

In 2022, Joel and Sarah’s water refilling station became stable and increases its customer reach throughout the neighboring municipalities. However, when the business was already on its peaking momentum, Joel was diagnosed with leukemia. The couple were shocked, but they managed to push through with the business. Joel continued on the promotional strategies and improvement of the exposure of their business despite his condition. Joel and Sarah never showed any weaknesses and they strived to be more aggressive on widening the market reach of their business to further increase their sales more for Joel’s medical needs.

Unfortunately, Joel was admitted midyear of 2022 due to leukemia and he died because of stroke. Sarah did not know how to stand again but she did not want Joel’s effort to be put into waste. Sarah continued the business and is still in constant communication with the Negosyo Center Business Counsellor. Currently, the business still operates and constantly growing, and Agua De Gio is now a company registered under SEC and located in Ft. San Luis Avenue. Purok 1, Brgy. PuyPuy, Bay, Laguna.

Sarah believed that one day all would fall into its right place by just trusting God’s process. ♦

Date of Release: 10 August 2023