Meet Myrna and Melvin Rojo. A husband and wife team who only wanted to provide for their family’s needs. Both teachers by profession, they lived a simple life in Iloilo City, making sure that their three children are safe and sound. Melvin left his family in 2002 to work in an International School in Brunei Darussalam. It was not an easy choice but he had to do it. After five years, Myrna followed her husband and stayed in Brunei as well.
Having finished a degree in Home Economics, Myrna has her baking skills intact. While she stayed at home, she baked goodies and cakes for Melvin’s co-workers at school. Shortly after, she made customized cakes for fellow Filipinos and foreigners in Brunei. Her cakes sold very well during weddings, birthdays and anniversaries. It was, then, that the couple saw a good opportunity in baking. They thought of doing the same thing -- only now, it will be done back home. And so, Myrna and Melvin went back to the Philippines in 2014 to start their own cake business.
They formalized their operations, and Myrnz Creation Cakes and Pastries was registered in DTI in July 2014. Their baking activities were done in their home in Mandurriao, Iloilo City with some help from their children.
Being former OFWs, they were encouraged by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to pursue the OFW Reintegration Program, a special loan program in partnership with government banks such as the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and the Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) to support enterprise development among OFWs and their families.
For this reason, they attended the Entrepreneurship Seminar at Negosyo Center Iloilo City in February 2015, which as required by OWWA and LBP. It introduced the couple to the basics of putting up a business and the groundwork needed by start-up entrepreneurs like them.
Within a month after the seminar, the couple worked closely with an NC business counsellor to package their business plan and submit all other documents to LBP. While waiting for the result, the couple underwent trainings at Negosyo Center such as Food Safety and Financing Forum. They also enrolled in the Labelling Consultancy for the Processed Food Sector under DTI’s SME Roving Academy. Label designs for their cake boxes and packaging were provided.
Their hard work paid off when LBP approved their business loan for Php 500,000.00 on September 2015. They further honed their entrepreneurial competencies by attending more trainings at Negosyo Center such as Effective Selling and Negotiation Skills, Marketing Fundamentals, Tax Education, Introduction to the Internet, and Manufacturing Management.
Now, Myrna and Melvin have opened their store where they could expand their market. From home-based baking to putting in place their production facilities in their new store, the Negosyo Center journeyed with them every step of the way.
It is interesting how their network of customers and partners widened because of the trainings, events and programs they have joined. They have met “special” people and accommodated learning visits from different agencies and companies fascinated by their story. They have also shared their story in a huge crowd during the 1st Negosyo Center Convention in Manila last December 2015. Melvin shared that the best thing that the Negosyo Center gave them is the chance to be back home with the family and be able to provide food for the table and send the children to school. Myrnz Creation Cakes and Pastries and Negosyo Center made it possible for them.