Let’s Keep Inspiring

Manny Pacquiao’s win comes at the right time making more people proud to be Filipinos.  Monique Lhuillier’s fashion show elicited the same response.  Manila’s high society was proud to have a Filipina making it in high fashion. 

This is exactly what this country needs, Filipinos being proud of their own country and being able to see that we do have a role in the future. Moreover, the developments of Atong Ang being brought to justice and Honasan’s capture resulted in a different tone and outlook for the Philippines.

The same positive atmosphere can be seen in the entrepreneurship community.  We too have our own share of notable winners.  About three weeks ago Liza Gokongwei’s Entrepreneur Magazine awarded the 10 Small and Medium Entrepreneurs for the year 2006 at the RCBC Plaza. This year’s winners were Ricardo Andres (Candy Corner), Oscar Chan (San Jose Kitchen Cabinets), Nikki Ng (Banana Peel), Happy Ongpauco (World Topps), Marshall Ongteco and Jun Ongteco (WishCraft), Ardy and Tingting Roberto (Salt and Light Ventures ), Kamela Seen  (Plato Wraps), Glenn Anthony Soco (Coffee Dream ), Teddy Sy  (Comic Alley Corporation ) and Richard Yang (Catalytx Advertising, Inc.). 

Witnessing an event like this is so heart warming especially upon seeing Ardy Roberto, son of marketing guru Ned Roberto, win with his business Salt and Light Ventures.  Ardy’s business is a very successful events company which promotes a lot of leadership series seminars.  I am sure his father is very proud of him.

Aside from Ardy was Bubu of Candy Corner.  This business is a husband and wife team of Ricardo and Rosemarie “Bubu” Andres.   Ricky received the award and I am sure his wife is very proud since she is also the creative person behind Candy Corner.  Again it is very critical in one’s success aside from the having the right character is the mentorship support they get from their parents, spouses and professionals. This is also what the online mentoring program of gonegosyo.org is trying to achieve when you visit the site.

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It was worth sitting down during the screening process because you can also get inspired while watching the stories of these microentreps.  Again most of the nominees were women.  In fact almost all the winners were women and only one male entrep made it. I am glad more banks are pursuing an awareness campaign for the need to support microentreps since these people have a very high repayment rate.  It was clear that MFI’s and rural banks were the ones lending to microentreps due to the size of the loans.  We hope more banks would help microentreps either by supporting existing MFI’s or by creating their own MFI’s.

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I had to fly to Cebu yesterday to support the super energetic Undersecretary Carrisa Cruz’s “One Town One Product” project.   OTOP Philippines is an adoption of Japan’s successful “One Village, One Product” project for regional development.  OTOP in the Philippines is a priority program of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to promote entrepreneurship and to create jobs at the local level through the development of products and services that are considered a competitive advantage. We took part in the event by hosting a Go Negosyo Goes OTOP forum featuring Julie Gandionco of Julie’s Bakeshop, Jay Aldeguer of Island Souvenirs, Justine Uy of Profoods, and other successful OTOP entreps from the Visayan region.

The concept behind OTOP is to develop a skill that when you think of a town you will immediately think of its product.  For example when you think of Marikina, what comes to your mind is “shoes”. When you think of Baguio I am sure many will think of walis and Good Shepherd strawberry jam.  Paete is another example because they are really known for their wooden carvings. 

OTOP is really about getting each province to develop their core competencies or the products they are strong in, which will eventually result in a more focused approach for entrepreneurs and more focused support program from government.  Many entrepreneurs who have achieved success is because of focus.  For example the Sy’s expanded malls because that was the area they really excelled in and now they have become the best at it. 

The people that I have mentioned here are only part of a huge pool of brilliant individuals who have made the country proud.  Let’s draw inspiration from all the positive things happening in the country.  The time is now for the Philippines to shine.  I am sending my congratulations again to super featherweight champion Manny Pacquiao and World Pool Champion Ronnie Alcano.  I hope those around you will not convince you to run for office.  Your roles are best performed when you do what you do best and that inspires our countrymen to be proud they are Filipinos.

What you are doing contribute not only to the economy but also to the optimism for the Philippines.  Congratulations to world-class designer Monique Lhuillier, Tina Ansaldo-Ocampo who recently got her bags accepted in prestigious stores, to Myla Villanueva for being the first woman in Asia to head the Mobile Innovation Forum at the 3GSM World Congress 2007 in Barcelona,  to Entrepreneur Magazine’s 10 Small and Medium Entrepreneurs of the Year and Citibank’s Microentrepreneurs of the Year.  May you all continue to inspire Filipinos.  Congratulations to you all. Year 2007 here we come!

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This question was addressed to Mr. Francisco Buencamino and Mr. Anthony Innocencio:

Good day sir. I’m presently working as a tech support for one of the call center company here in Ortigas.  I’m writing to you to seek some advise regarding starting up a business. I’m planning to invest a certain percentage of my savings for the business which I think would help increase my profit. Basically, I’m just a newbie in terms of business transactions. 

I plan to be a chicken supplier here on our place and I already started contacting distributors for Mandaluyong and Pasig.  However, they are also getting supply directly from a large distribution company.  What I’m planning to do is to go directly to them or perhaps to tap in their farms.

I really want to start the business but I’m quite afraid of the consequences I may get from it.  I know it’s part of it but I just like to have some idea of how the “ball is being played”

By the way, I also planned on investing on mutual funds or insurance for a certain number of years. Do you have any preferred or ideal insurance company and company that offers good return of investment should I pursue such project?

Thank you and hoping for your reply.

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Dear Chris,

Thank you for seeking advice.

Going into the chicken business can be considered an “overcrowded opportunity”. If you are entering into this interest for the first time, and you have no economical source of chicken like a farm supplier or a processor, you may find yourself very far forward into the totem pole of costs because there will be many dealers already. You found this out yourself.

It may be best to re-visit your opportunities of doing something else with the chicken. One activity that you may want to get into with chicken is to put out a “value-added” product. There are many approaches: process the fresh chicken into parts (usually in cuts of 8 to 9 pieces) as this is an activity that restaurants find laborious to do. You would then be selling a convenience product. Another example is to process these cut-ups into breaded chicken using your own recipe that is uniquely tasty.

Or, you may even think of deboning chicken meat for sandwich purposes, pack them frozen, and sell them as boneless chicken meat to restaurants, canteens, cafeterias, and other institutional users.

The value you would add, therefore, to the fresh chicken is the labor of converting it to some usable product to save time and wasted parts that kitchens/processors lose in the process.

Investment in mutual funds and insurance instruments are “games” for big boys who use excess funds that are not in use. If your source of money is your savings, you will need something that will yield you very quick returns on high turnover, even if the unit yields are lower. You will find mutual funds very slow growing in an economy that is bearish at this time.

Do not forget that the success of your venture will depend on your intended market. You must first establish your target market and build up the confidence that you can tap into this chosen market. Finding a demand which nobody has yet seen is a true opportunity. If you decide that you want to grab hold of the chicken market, then discover what that niche demand is and then invade it.

An example of this opportunity is our exports of yakatori chicken. We have chicken, we have low cost labor, and we have the bamboo or wooden sticks to make the barbeque chicken (yakatori). The opportunity to export frozen chicken yakatori sticks therefore opened up as a demand in Japan, and now China. This has become big business.

If this sounds too big for you, it may be so. So, lower your sights and targets to what you can do for the domestic scene.

I hope I have helped you somewhat in creating an approach to your intended venture. The rest of what you do will depend on your own creativity and resourcefulness.

Good luck, and do not hesitate to contact me again.


(Mr. Buencamino is the current Executive Director of the Tuna Canners Association of the Philippines and the Phil. Association of Meat Processors, Inc.)

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Dear Chris,

It’s good that you are looking at other opportunities to increase your income.  Trading especially on basic commodities is a good entry point.  I presume that you have checked your market for the chickens; what volume, weights, how regular is the requirements, purchasing price by your clients, how do they want it-fresh chilled or frozen etc. If you already have these information, tingnan mo if it’s worth the effort. 

Pag-aralan mong mabuti ang market mo; friends, neighbors, canteens, restaurants and or institutions such as hotels, hospitals, etc. Trading in frozen products may be cumbersome and messy. 

You may be able to do the trading and distribution on your day-off.  You may be able to earn about P10 – P15 pesos per bird (for white chickens) and about P50 per bird for free-range poultry, so if you could trade a hundred birds or so a week, it may be worth your while. With P10T to P20T capital, you can start with the trading.  Check the suppliers of the goods, you may have to work with area distributors until you can establish your volume.

Going straight to the farm source may not be the most cost-effective move for a highly traded commodity such as chickens.  Matrabaho ang processing and you might not be as efficient in doing it.

After college, trading with Baguio vegetables and chickens was one of the first ventures we went into.  Maliit ang puhunan and matrabaho but you learn a lot about the rudiments of the trade that will never be taught in school.  You have to overcome your fear; ang maaari mong mawala o malugi may be your calculated part of your savings, but the experience and the nuisance of the business would all be worth it. 

If you do make good at it, like a lot of people we know, who did, malaking negosyo ito.  May isang kaibigan tayo na dati owner jeep ang gamit nya to trade dressed chickens sa mga kaibigan at clients, ngayon dalawang refrigerated vans na ang gamit trading as much as 1000 pcs a day.  Sipag at Tiyaga and a lot of determination ang kailangan.

Best Regards,

(Mr.Inocencio is the owner of AP Inocencio farms which is primarily engaged in livestock and poultry production such as free-range chickens.)