Terence Neil Padrique of The Lemon Co.

A LOCAL entrepreneur is aiming to duplicate what Cebuano businessman Bunny Pages’ fruit shake business, Thirsty, has attained.

Terence Neil Padrique, 38, is the owner of The Lemon Co., a one-year-old business venture he started in May 2015. He now has six stalls in three different malls in Cebu and Mandaue cities, producing and selling fresh, manually-pressed lemonades.

Padrique said he aims to expand his business further by penetrating big universities and business centers in Cebu where his business is sure to thrive.

Padrique was one of the 26 owners of micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) who successfully completed the first Cebu leg of the Kapatid Mentor Me program spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry in Central Visayas (DTI-7), Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and Go Negosyo last December 9.

He said he had greatly benefited from the mentoring program, having had the opportunity to be mentored by Cebuano businessman Pages.

He said having been mentored by Pages himself who is also into the same business venture as him and is successfully operating the fruit shake business, Thirsty, is one of the privileges that the mentorship program had offered him.

“He (Pages) jested about me being his competitor, but I believe his brand is too big to be our competition. I look at Thirsty as our big brother and Pages as my mentor,” Padrique said.

Mentorship Training

Padrique and the other 25 entrepreneurs underwent a 12-week mentorship program under established and successful business owners from Cebu and Manila since October 7.

Majority of the participants are into the food and beverage businesses, with products ranging from processed foods, baked products to healthy drinks and condiments. Most of them are operating in Metro Cebu.

“They started with fear. They lacked the confidence in running their businesses. Others thought they were already equipped with the right knowledge (but while going through the program), they realized they still lacked more,” said CCCI vice president for business development Virgilio Espeleta at the sidelines of the Kapatid Mentor Me program graduation ceremony at the Grand Convention Center of Cebu on Dec. 9, 2016.

Meeting every week during Fridays, the participants had also gone through 13 different learning modules and business interventions aimed at equipping them with the sound mindset and best practices to scale up their businesses.

They were also taught about business taxation and laws, two essential aspects of running a business which most of the participants held little to no knowledge about prior to undergoing the mentorship program, said DTI provincial director Maria Elena Arbon.

“Most of them ran their businesses without knowing all the laws and legal environment that operate around their businesses. Now they are more aware of all these,” Arbon said.

To gather expert advises from the mentors, each participant were given the opportunity to present their business models to a panel of mentors composed of the big businessmen themselves.

DTI-7 also intended the Kapatid Mentor Me program to be an avenue for MSMEs to network with their fellow participants and forge possible business partnerships to help up the revenues and brand health of one another.

DTI-7 also encouraged the big businessmen to tap the fledgling enterprises into their value chains by trading supplies and resources with them.

“We wanted the big ones (established businessmen) to consider the small ones (MSMEs) in their value chains so that the small ones can move from survival to sustainability,” Arbon said.

DTI-7 has long planned to conduct the program regularly to help more MSMEs in the province ramp up their businesses. The second installment of the Kapatid Mentor Me program will begin on February 3. Currently, 14 participants had committed to undergo the program.