Our impact, their voices

Women entrepreneurs reboot their businesses

A programme delivered by GREAT Women in partnership with the ILO’s Rebuilding Better Project and J.P. Morgan Philippines offered women entrepreneurs an opportunity to revisit and innovate their business models as they resumed operations post-pandemic.

Feature | Manila, Philippines | 15 July 2022
Young mom Chicho Rodriguez is the co-owner of Caravan Black Coffee Company. Her dream for Caravan Black Coffee is to create a coffee brand every working Filipino would love. During the pandemic, they introduced bottled espresso-based coffee which was a huge hit for those working from home.
MANILA, Philippines - More than 30 women entrepreneurs from across the Philippines have seen their businesses recover after taking part in FLIP YOUR BIZ programme delivered by GREAT Women in partnership with the ILO’s Rebuilding Better Project and J.P. Morgan Philippines.

The programme provided a unique opportunity for women entrepreneurs to revisit their business model after the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure its relevance in the new normal.

Women entrepreneurs selected to join identified what key areas on entrepreneurship they wanted to focus on. Based on their inputs, GREAT Women developed the syllabus and involved partners who could provide relevant assistance. Through this approach, the programme was able to offer tailored support to seasoned women entrepreneurs who needed to reboot their businesses after the pandemic.

Former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Marilyn Seradon used to work as a manager in a fast food restaurant in Canada before becoming an entrepreneur. In 2019, she opened her hardware store together with her husband in Pangil, Laguna. According to Marilyn, during the pandemic the number of their customers increased due to the increase of people working from home and renovating their homes.
Marilyn Seradon, owner of LVMCC Hardware Trading & Services, located in Pangil, Laguna, said “I was just so happy I was one of those chosen to participate because the programme made us focus on what we really needed, in my case, exert more effort in understanding my finances.”

Throughout the programme, women entrepreneurs benefited from technical and peer sessions as well as continuous mentoring support. In technical financial sessions, facilitated by employees from J.P. Morgan Philippines through their Goodworks volunteer programme, participants were able to analyse the financial health of their businesses. Each participant also benefited from one-on-one mentoring with a J.P. Morgan expert.

Chicho Rodriguez, owner of Caravan Coffee, a specialty coffee shop in the BGC area, said that she will never forget what her mentor shared with her, “Your financial statements are your business’ way of talking to you, and this conversation should not be scary.”

Participants joining the programme worked intensely for four months to revisit reasons for their business to operate and its relevance on the marketplace. The approach was a highly personal one, allowing each individual to ask themselves key questions related to their business and their life as an entrepreneur.

Susan Olarte, (right) Chief Executive Officer of Vino Arsan, and her husband Arthur Olarte, Chief Winemaker of Vino Arsan (left) have been making fruit wines since 2009. They have used local fruits such as calamansi, mango, dragonfruit, lipote and gugnay berries in their wines. Susan is one of 30 women entrepreneurs of the ILO-Great Women Flip your Biz Women Entrepreneurship Programme.
Susan Olarte, owner of Vino Arsan, already having received international awards for her 100 per cent hand-crafted Filipino wines and spirits said, “The fellowship programme helped me set a new direction. I learned to put more focus on customer satisfaction. I loved the open discussion and wish I learned all this earlier on.”

This sentiment was echoed by Cathy Turvill, who is set to launch her latest venture, the fresh juice business Amadeo Nurture Farmacy Inc. “I really wish I learned what I learnt from this programme way before so I would have lessened mistakes along the way. Aside from all the eye openers for finance and to think things through. I also took home the main message to be very clear with myself.
Flip your Biz women entrepreneur Catherine Brillantes-Turvill, is the President of Nurture Wellness Village in Amadeo, Cavite. In 2020, Nurture Wellness Village was hit by two disasters, first the Taal Volcano eruption and the COVID-19 pandemic. The huge impact of the disasters to her businesses, challenged her to rethink and flip her business, and also how she can help other women entrepreneurs.
How far I want to take my business, how big or small do I want it to be? How much will I sacrifice?"

Marketing leaders from the GREAT Women network provided participants operational advice as well as brand and marketing insights. Beyond technical sessions, the FLIP YOUR BIZ programme provided the women entrepreneurs a community to grow with and encouraged them to leverage their new business network. Participants were also encouraged to “be each other’s market” and to seek opportunities to collaborate or extend business opportunities through partnerships for reselling and re-distribution.

The FLIP YOUR BIZ programme will launch its second programme starting on 20 July 2022. Women entrepreneurs interested to join the programme can apply by sending their resume by email.

After taking part in the FLIP YOUR BIZ programme, which was run by GREAT Women, the ILO's Rebuilding Better Project, and J.P. Morgan Philippines, over 30 women entrepreneurs in the Philippines saw their businesses improve.

For further information please contact:

Ms Linartes Viloria
National Project Coordinator, ILO Rebuilding Better Project