Beata’s Delicacies Pinyato and Ampao

“The journey of thousand miles, begins with a single step”, as the saying goes. Every entrepreneur has their own story to tell on how they started their journey. They have their share of ups and downs, struggles and victory, before attaining the sweet success they’ve been battling for.

For Ma. Beata Casiguran, rice and pili nuts has been significant ingredients of her humble success and has been a part of her journey since 1996, the time when she first started her career as an entrepreneur. Raising a family of five children with her husband (who is a farmer) has never been a joke to her who has been working as sales lady in stores or bakeries in Allen, Northern Samar. Realizing that her income is not sufficient to cover up their financial needs, she decided to venture into a business.

The decision to quit her job was one of the decisions she considered to be tough. Going into a business she never experienced before was somewhat uncertain but she took it as a challenge. Banking on her knowledge in making piñato (pop rice) which she acquired when she was still a kid from piñato producers in the neighboring municipality – Rosario, she started her first production with a kilo of rice. That time, 1996, rice grinders were not yet available in their place and they have to pound the rice with large wooden mortar (lusong). Being too laborious, she did not consider making piñato on a larger quantity; her production was only based on orders being made. However, having seen that she was making profit out of piñato production, she decided to increase her production and expanded her market to Calbayog. This venture has been their main source of income since then, where she was able to send her kids to school and augment their daily needs.

In 2005, she joined the Allen Pili Nut Producers Cooperative. Being a member of this DTI-assisted organization, she had the benefit to attend seminars on Marketing, Costing and Pricing, Personal Financial Management, etc., and learned the knowledge of producing pili food products. Likewise, she was exposed to trade fairs and other marketing activities catered by DTI. Unfortunately, the group was dissolved and the members went on their own in producing their products, while others just ceased. For Beata, quitting her production was not an option but rather felt the need to further enhance her product. She used the knowledge she gained from the seminars and continued her production of pili food products with her piñato as well. As a CARP-assisted entrepreneur, she was also given the opportunity to come up with a well-designed packaging and labeling for her piñato and pili food products.

As of now, she has four workers assisting her and her monthly sales averages from 40 to 50 thousand pesos. She has been actively participating in local, provincial, regional, and national trade fairs organized by the local government and by the DTI, the latest of which was the BAHANDI 2015 of region VIII. Her market outlets are the Catarman Airport Pasalubong Center and Linda’s Inn, bus terminal in Calbayog, Samar. Also, as an active member of the Association of Northern Samar Producers (ANSP), she continues to avail the assistance given by the DTI and other assisting agencies to the group.

With her experiences, she learned that persistence and determination are equally important for a business to survive, and an aspiring entrepreneur has to take advantage of every opportunity that comes along the way.

Chesmae Peanuts

Emilda Engo of Catarman, Northern Samar, a wife of a seaman and a mother of three, had the bitter taste of life when she lost her eldest son to a drowning accident in year 2009. Getting over it is never easy. The pain of her loss is perpetuating especially when she is left alone. To divert her attention, this Boholana resorted to business as a means to cope with her grief. She started making peanut butter and offered it around. Introducing her product was difficult at first as she lacks network. Later on she realized there is opportunity in this business when all the 6 bottles she delivered to a grocery store were bought within the day. Emilda decided to take this pastime seriously when customers encouraged her to produce more.

To make her business official, she got her business name registered with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in 2010. Having her product registered further increased customers’ confidence. Emilda keeps on asking and using feedback to continually improve the product quality. Gradually she is gaining more patrons, as positive response from customers further fueled her enthusiasm.

In 2010, DTI called her up requesting her to visit their office. At that time, Emilda who is a high school graduate, have intimidation with government institutions. Her first thoughts turned out unfounded when DTI offered their assistance for the improvement of her product instead, an offer she agreed in great delight. DTI improved her label design by hiring a professional designer and had its Nutritional contents analyzed. She was also enlisted in several Entrepreneurship Development Seminars and marketing assistance extended by the department. She then became a member of the Association of Northern Samar Producers, a pool of entrepreneurs assisted by DTI.

With newly improved product label, the marketability of her peanut butter was boosted. Sales significantly increased and her outlets swollen in numbers. Sales of P18,000 per month puffed into P200 K to P250 K monthly. Her keen sense on marketing was even further acuminated by attending seminars through DTI’s SME Roving Academy. Exposure to Regional Trade Fairs also further enhanced her marketing competence. She joined Bahandi Trade Fairs on Years 2012 and 2015. From a single outlet in Catarman, it grew into 12 including supermarkets and bakeshops. Through customer demand she started reaching out other towns, and now have another 4 outlets in the towns of San Roque, San Jose and Mondragon. Now her product is also available at big supermarkets in Catarman including Gaisano Super Mall. As a result of trade fair participation, invitations to make her product available outside the province is also coming. Starting as the owner/worker/marketing manager herself, she now employs 2 permanent workers and 1 part time worker in her business. Emilda is also preparing for the expansion of her production center in the near future to cater for the growing demand.

For her, monetary benefit is not the prime motivation why she is thriving in this field. She maintained optimum product quality, keeps her costs at lowest, and is contented with minimal return. Emilda is fascinated by the fact that she is not only helping herself cope with the loss of her son but is partaking in a meaningful contribution to the community. Emilda now serves as an exemplary entrepreneur to her fellow ANSP members. She likewise gives the credit to DTI for their package of assistance that contributed much in the growth in her business.