SuccessStories - 02102020_RSS_MNTR

With her great ambition of owning a business that will not only make her financially independent but also will give her an opportunity to make a difference, Ma. Gina “Heba” A. Aloush is a micro-entrepreneur from Calauan, Laguna who manufactures eco-friendly products such as feminine pads and cotton pads. She has proven that lack of tertiary education is not a hindrance to own a business and to help save the environment.

Being the eldest child, she worked immediately after graduating from high school to help her family. She used to be a call center agent and an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) for roughly nine (9) years in the Middle East and worked as a salesperson, cashier, and administrative clerk. In 2015, she went back to the Philippines, started a family, and stayed for good.

Ms. Heba considers herself as a green advocate. As a child, she contributed in saving the environment through proper waste disposal. She continued her green advocacy even at motherhood. For her babies, she switched from disposable diapers to cloth diapers that have removable inserts—which gave her the idea of making cloth menstrual pads for herself. She pondered, if cloth diapers have removable inserts which allow the inside part to be washed thoroughly, why not apply it as well to menstrual pads which she could not find in the market.

Furthermore, Ms. Heba would also like to inspire and encourage other people to take their part in saving the environment. With her limited resources, she used her crocheting hobby to make washable cotton pads as an eco-friendly alternative to regular cotton balls and sold it online. Eventually, the demand for her eco-friendly cotton pads increased until she could no longer accommodate the orders, as her products were purely hand-crocheted all by herself. Such challenge made her think of something easier and faster way to produce: a machine. Then she thought about her father who is a tailor. Subsequently, she started crafting her green ideas into a real business. Her passion and determination kept her motivated and eager to learn.

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Ms. Heba actively participates in KMME sessions.

Being able to produce and sell her innovated cloth menstrual pads and cotton pads, she became more driven to turn her hobby into a legit business. She registered at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through Negosyo Center (NC) Calauan in Laguna. The NC Business Counselor (BC) advised her to secure business permits from the Business Permit and Licensing Office and Bureau of Internal Revenue. She complied immediately which proved how serious and strong-minded she is in putting up a business and sticking with her green advocacy. In addition, the NCBC assisted her through Small and Medium Enterprises Roving Academy (SMERA) projects. She participated in seminars such as Product Development and Bookkeeping. Moreover, she was informed about the Kapatid Mentor Micro Enterprise (KMME) program and was referred to undergo the screening process. She was enrolled in KMME in 2019 where she became equipped with more knowledge in business management.

She enjoyed the learnings and activities in the 10 KMME Modules. She gets inspired every time she meets a Mentor. But what struck her the most was the sharing of first-hand experiences of their Mentor in Module 3: Product Development and Market Growth and Expansion. She was able to connect immediately to the experiences of their Mentor who is also a mother juggling career (entrepreneurship), family (motherhood), and other personal matters. She got inspired by how their Module 3 Mentor was able to handle her business in spite of obstacles and limited resources. From there, she was also able to visualize her goals in business. She applied to her business what she has learned from KMME. Four months after graduation, her monthly sales increased by 55% on average. Although a start-up a business, she was able to put up her products in some local stores across Metro Manila. She was also able to participate in the KALAKAL CALABARZON Regional Trade Fair organized by DTI – CALABARZON Regional Office. She was able to promote and sold her products. She was also able to gain connections and referrals.

To her, KMME is like a ladder: it helps them in reaching their entrepreneurial dreams through trainings. As a way of expressing gratitude and satisfaction, she recommends the program to other micro-entrepreneurs and urges them to participate. She considers KMME as her alma mater since she was not able to attend college and she also wants KMME to be proud of her. “I am so grateful and honored to be part of it and I want to return the favor by being successful,” she underscores. She was also moved by the message from their Mentor in Module 7: Human Resource and Organizational Management: “You must grow (business), because if not, you fail, KMME fail in you.” Thus, she is very eager to grow her business as she wants to contribute to the growth of the economy not only by providing employment to others but also by offering eco-friendly products to save the environment.

 Date of Release: 10 February 2020