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One store, two businesses and 46 dreams

In a street in the town proper of Agdangan, a store is open from 6AM to 6PM daily. At least four women spend the day manning up the establishment just like every typical business in the area.

 

However, something is different in this establishment.

 

It houses two businesses—a grocery and a feeds supply store.

 

Their coming together in one establishment holds a story of an effort to converge new businesswomen to help their respective businesses grow and ensure a better direction for their respective families.

In August 2016, the two stores opened after a tedious set of tasks from the planning, training and securing necessary permits to the actual setting up of the store.

 

These two businesses were opened through the seed capital assistance provided to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program under another program of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), which is the Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

 

The grocery store is owned by 25 Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries from Brgy. Poblacion 1 while the feeds supply store is owned by 21 beneficiaries from Brgy. Poblacion 2 in Agdangan town in Quezon Province.

 

Starting a business together

The Pantawid Pamilya is a human capital development program of the national government that provides conditional cash grants to qualified poor families in support to the needs on health and education of zero to 18 years old children.

 

In the CALABARZON Region, there are 316,033 household-beneficiaries of this program.

 

In line with the DSWD’s goal of uplifting the lives of these beneficiaries and ensuring that they can stand on their own even when they no longer are supported by the Pantawid Pamilya program, these beneficiaries are prioritized in the SLP.

 

The SLP provides capacity building to partner-beneficiaries to help increase their economic sufficiency through employment facilitation or micro-enterprise development.

 

In February 2016, the two groups of Pantawid Pamilya beneficiaries in Agdangan were organized and subjected to capacity building to prepare them for opening up their respective businesses.

 

“Napagkaisahan naming mga miyembro na magtayo ng isang grocery store para maging tulong hindi lang sa aming 25 miyembro kundi sa iba pang mga benepisyaryo ng Pantawid Pamilya dito sa aming lugar. Sa aming tindahan, mas makakabili sila ng murang produkto para sa kanilang pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan,” said Janet Panopio, 40, the president of the Kabalikat sa Kaunlaran SLP Association.

 

On the other hand, Liza Bay, 43, the treasurer of the Mapayapang Poblacion 2 SLP Association, shared that they opted to start a feeds supply business because they see good demand for this business.

 

“Marami dito sa aming bayan ang nagnenegosyo ng pag-aalaga ng hayop kaya ito na rin ang naisipan naming negosyo,” shared Liza.

 

To ensure that there is no duplication of businesses and that proper businesses are started, the DSWD field workers for both Pantawid Pamilya and SLP plan together with the beneficiaries.

 

“Gina-guide namin sila sa pagpili ng mga nararapat na negosyo ayon sa kanilang kakayahan at sa pangangailangan sa lugar,” Darold Jopson, Pantawid Pamilya Municipal Link (ML) assigned in Agdangan, shared.

 

Further, with discussions and planning, strategies are employed for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

 

“Dahil iisa naman ang target na customers ng dalawang grupo, humanap kami ng isang pwesto na maaari nilang paghatian. Sa renta nila kada buwan, naghahati ang dalawang grupo kaya nakakabawas sila sa gastusin,” added Jopson.

 

Besides sharing a shop, the two stores also schedule their buying of supplies in the neighboring town so that they can both save on transportation expenses.

 

Businesses for the poor

The business owners, being all from poor families, understand that they are not just operating their businesses for their own advantage.

 

“Karamihan sa amin dito ay lingguhan ang kita o minsan pa ay wala, kaya nakakatulong ang tindahan para sa pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan. Nakakakuha sila dito ng produkto na babayaran na lang makalipas ang tatlong araw,” shared Melany Mesa, 42, a member of the Kabalikat sa Kaunlaran SLP Association.

 

Liza, on the other hand, says that they ensure that their prices for the feeds supplies are cheaper than their competitors. This way, their customers, mostly are beneficiaries with hograising business, can earn more for their businesses, too.

 

“Sa ganitong paraan, nakakatulong rin kami sa aming kapwa mahihirap habang tinutulungan nila kaming palaguin ang aming negosyo,” said Liza.

 

Further, Jopson added that he advises other beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilya program to approach the Pantawid Pamilya office in emergency cases such as the need for food.

 

“May mga pagkakataong walang-wala talaga ang isang pamilya kaya maaari silang lumapit sa aming opisina. Nagbibigay kami ng sulat sa grocery store na ito na maaari munang pahiramin ng pagkain ang miyembro at babayaran sa payout,” explained Jopson.

 

While doing their businesses, all mothers become more positive for the future of their children.

 

“Kami ay dating mga nasa bahay lang o kumikita pero maliit lang para sa aming pamilya. Malaking tulong ang SLP dahil nabigyan kami ng ideya sa pagnenegosyo,” shared Ma. Luningning Alvarez, 30, also a beneficiary.

 

With these, most of their members have started their own sari-sari store or hog raising businesses at home. They help increase the income of the stores as they become owners and customers of the store at the same time.

 

Today, their businesses have become a source of inspiration for all of them and for these, all of them commit towards ensuring their businesses’ sustainability.

 

Every day, customers find different faces of women manning the stores. Every member has a schedule of volunteer work doing all chores in managing the operation of the grocery and feeds supply store.

 

In every hour they spend managing their businesses, these women see the achievement of dreams of 46 families and, more importantly, their respective communities.xxx

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