in photo: Ms. Ana Arsolacia, owner of Ohlet's sari-sari store

Ms. Ana Arsolacia, a 58-year-old woman, had once been a dedicated factory worker and a manager in a well-known local brand for a decade. However, driven by a desire for more independence and to create her own path, she decided to leave her corporate job and venture into entrepreneurship.

In 2014, Ana returned to her hometown in Majayjay, Laguna, where she decided to put down roots. With the financial resources accumulated from her prior employment and her personal savings, she started her entrepreneurial journey by selling popular street snacks such as fishballs, kikiams, and shakes. With an initial capital of only Php1,000.00, she started this venture, initially aimed at generating some income.

However, Ana’s entrepreneurial spirit did not stop there. In the same year, leveraging the earnings from her small snack business, she opened a sari-sari store right in front of their house and named it OHLET SARI-SARI STORE. In the beginning, her store offered only a limited range of products, but as time went on, her business acumen and dedication led to steady growth. She incrementally expanded her product offerings, leading to a significant boost in her sales and a loyal customer base.

Then, in 2020, an unforeseen challenge struck the world in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing widespread disruptions to businesses worldwide including hers. Government-imposed restrictions, including enhanced community quarantine and total lockdowns, forced her to temporarily close her business. Despite this setback, Ana remained undeterred. She explored innovative ways to reach her customers, such as offering and selling her products online to keep her business alive.

Fast forward to September 2022, Ana received a ray of hope when she was selected as one of the beneficiaries of the Livelihood Seeding Program – Negosyo Serbisyo sa Barangay, an initiative spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry. This program specifically targeted micro, small, and medium enterprises that had been significantly impacted by the pandemic by providing entrepreneurial seminar and financial assistance in the form of goods. Through this program, she received a livelihood kit amounting to Php5,000.00 which she could use as additional inventory for her business. She was very grateful for the assistance and learnings she received from the said program that will surely help in pursuing her business goals.

“Kapag nag-negosyo ka, dapat focus, may faith kay God, matiyaga, and syempre huwag matakot na mag take ng risk. Iwasan din na mag isip ng mga negative thoughts dahil makakaapekto ito sa iyong pag nenegosyo”, shared Ana.

Currently, her business operates daily with sales of Php7,000 per day. She also offers e-money services like GCash, PayMaya, and Konek2card (card bank mobile banking) in her sari-sari store. She then now opens her new business which is an apartment located at the same barangay.

Ana’s journey from being an employee to a striving entrepreneur serves as a testament to her unwavering determination, adaptability, and the importance of community support during challenging times. Her story will surely inspire many, demonstrating that with, hard work and resilience, one can overcome adversity and build a successful enterprise, even in the face of unprecedented challenges. ♦

Date of Release: 3 October 2023