Batangas Coffee, Grains, and Pasalubong Center started on March 26, 2015. My husband and I are partners in growing our new business. I am a Registered Nurse by profession and he comes from one of the families who pioneered the coffee industry here in Lipa, Batangas. However, both of us are new to handling our own business.

As a newbie, I am overwhelmed with ideas. I wanted to do so many things at the same time. I am also astounded with the things I think I cannot do. I used to compare ourselves to other established competitors which added more to my anxiety. For the last 3 years, we have been working very hard, opening the store early and closing it late. I thought that giving the customers quality product and good service is enough. However, there was still this feeling of stagnancy. I wanted more for our business. That is why I was very excited when we were chosen to participate in Kapatid Mentor Me Program of DTI. I thought that it was the right avenue to learn more about business and its ways, especially for me who have zero background in formal education about business and entrepreneurship. And I was right. I have learned so much from our mentors. I have learned that there are tools that could help me plan and focus on my priorities. That it is possible to reach my goals because our government have agencies that are willing to assist us, SMEs. It has streamlined our business. Before I thought that FDA application is far from possible because I did not know where to start, but thankfully there were seminars on the step by step process. I also share the learnings I gained to my husband and to my staff so they too can improve. Now, little by little we are putting our plans into action. We have opened a new store. It is spacious than the previous one and there are more pasalubong items now from my classmates from KMME and other SMEs I have met. We are still improving our new store but now, we have a clear direction where we want to go.

Indeed, there is really fear of the unknown. Had I not opened myself to learning again, I would be forever afraid to grow and there would be no clear direction for our business. I would encourage my fellow SMEs to do their selves a favor and sign up for the KMME Program and other programs of our government.