All except one of the 10 entrepreneurs comprising Batch 2 of the KMME-MME online business mentoring program this year are in their early twenties, with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) targeting the youth sector this time.
Last Sept. 1, 2022, the participants – four from Virac and one each from Viga, Caramoran, San Andres, Bato, Baras and Bagamanoc – attended the online multi-sectoral launching of the program for the Bicol region in a face-to-face event at the ARDCI Corporate Inn II function hall.
The other participants in the region – eight per province – participated in the program via Zoom. DTI Catanduanes requested two extra participants for the batch.
More than a hundred entrepreneurs from the island have graduated from the program since 2017.
Only two failed to finish the course: one who had to move to Manila after her husband got assigned there and the other whose busy schedule prevented him from completing the 10-week sessions.
In his message, DTI OIC-Assistant Regional Director Heginio Baldano said the free course would allow the young business owners to scale up their operations using lessons imparted by experienced mentors.
He urged them to develop a keen sense of direction, do what they love to do, commit to excellence, dedicate themselves to a lifetime of learning, learn every detail, be absolutely honest with themselves and their clients, and take care of their personal welfare.
DTI Undersecretary for Regional Operations Group Blesila Lantayona said the DTI-PCE partnership essentially gives the participants a free mini-MBA with a special session on digitalization, with the latter’s counterpart only their time and dedication to complete the sessions.
On the other hand, Go Negosyo mentor Renea Tan, who is the chief financial officer of Konverge Builders, Inc., disclosed that the program’s targets for 2022 are: 2000 graduates of the KMME-MME Online, 200 graduates able to access credit from banks and financial institutions, and 10 percent of them able to adopt innovative strategies and attain sustainability.
The results should include their forming a community of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), expansion of their products, business linkages and achieving an active and confident outlook as entrepreneurs, she added.
The Batch 2 Youth Sector participants from Catanduanes are Gary P. Clavo of Puting Baybay, San Andres (CF’s FooDelicious Processed Food Manufacturing); Mark Joshua Sarmiento of Francia, Virac (OTWE’s Empanada Food Corner); Franklin S. Oclarino of Virac (Bestea X- Efren Fries Milktea Shop); Monique C. Rabino of Tilis, Bato (Island Crafts Souvenir and Gift Shop); Jessamae France B. Monjardin of Lanao, Virac (Virac Marketplace); Jonalyn Toledo of Calatagan, Virac (VT View Tique); Dessa Dominique T. Vargas of Paniquihan, Baras (Niks Waves Clothing Boutique); Amelito T. Pantaleon of Tinago, Viga (Lito’s Bakeshop); Jay M. Condeno of Dariao, Caramoran (Daday Art Kuak Arts and Crafts Manufacturing); and Sherwin Bonifacio of Virac (Catanduanes Pasalubong Shop).
Majority of participants are single, with only one of whom 30 years of age. Most of them started their businesses in 2021, with half of them engaged in food and pasalubong trade.
Clavo, who has a degree in entrepreneurship, is producing kangkong chips while up-and-coming painter Condeno, who graduated with a diploma in Bachelor of Fine Arts, Architecture and Design, uses abaca handmade paper he himself makes as his canvass.
A Miriam College graduate in BS Biology (Major in Microbiology), the 28-year-old Monjardin had to quit her job at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and now manages the Virac Marketplace.
Her grocery store has expanded to include Merkanto, Oona Zone and House of Hops.
On the other hand, Rabino, 27, is a licensed architect and master plumber and juggles her contract-of-service job as engineering assistant at the DPWH Catanduanes District Engineering Office with her business.
At her Island Crafts Souvenir and Gift Shop, almost all of the products are handmade and customized, crafted from resin.