Marites Miranda of Bacacay, Albay is a multi-tasking entrepreneur which suits her multiple businesses. Her main business is a sari-sari (variety goods) store which sells all kinds of goods that customers may need for the household and for backyard enterprises such as feeds for hog and poultry raising. She is also into the rental business comprising of 4 tricycle units, 12 pedicabs, videoke machines, and a 5-door apartment. All these came about from an initial capital of Five Thousand Pesos (PhP5,000) and years of hard work. “I keep my hands busy and do not waste time. When there are no customers to serve, I arrange garlic and pepper corns into affordable packs or make ice candies to sell.I learned to drive a tricycle so I can go on my own to the market to buy stocks. My husband, Jose, stays at home to watch over the store while I’m away,” shares Marites.

“There are not many good jobs available for a high school graduate like me. I once worked as a sales staff of a grocery chain. Salary was small and what goes into the family pot is even smaller as I had to pay salary for a helper who takes care of my child when I am at work. I decided to resign, go into the trading business to earn while based at home to take care of my child,” adds Marites.

In need of additional capital for the store, she joined SEDP in 2008. Her first loan was only Three Thousand Pesos (PhP3,000) and required attendance to weekly center meetings. While at these meetings, she participates in the activities while her hands are busy repacking garlic and pepper corns. Hard work matched by perseverance and responsibility entitled Marites to avail higher loan amounts at SEDP. As soon as a loan is fully paid, she borrows another loan. She used these loans to expand the store and to go into other businesses. “Sustained access to business loans from SEDP gave me and my husband the confidence to test other business ideas. The ones that show good income potentials are nurtured through infusion of additional capital, again sourced from SEDP. I am thankful that SEDP is here to stay in Bacacay,“ says Marites.

The diversified family business brings an average gross sales of Ten Thousand Pesos (PhP10,000) a day. Even with four children to care for now, there is enough income to spare. Other families in the community also benefit from income opportunities presented by the 16 tricycle units (motorcycle with passenger cab) and pedicabs (bicycle with passenger cab) for rent at PhP80/day and PhP35/day, respectively. A stay-in helper is also employed to assist in deliveries.

Indeed, there are numerous benefits that a successful business can bring to the entrepreneur, her family and community. Marites remarks, “going into business was just a means to support my family. I want my children to have what poverty denied me— college education. While not one of my children is old enough to enter college, they are assured of the opportunity to pursue college degrees when the time comes. It makes me doubly happy to also be in a position to help other families pursue the dream of good education for their children.”

Courtesy of  Ma. Elane J. Sarte student of Bicol University and Ms. Jesila Ledesma of Media Inc.