San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has ramped up its micro-entrepreneurship program for former residents of Barangay Taliptip in Bulakan, Bulacan, with 11 cooperative groups set to start their own SMC community reseller stores in different areas of the province.
The beneficiaries, some 53 former settlers at the project site for SMC’s Manila International Airport project in Bulacan, recently graduated from an intensive entrepreneurship training course provided by SMC, to prepare them to manage their own businesses and become partners of the company.
To give them a headstart, SMC provided them with their initial inventories consisting of Magnolia Chicken and Purefoods branded products, along with refrigeration equipment.
The livelihood training and assistance is on top of financial and housing assistance and various skills training programs previously given to them by the company. “Even if we have already helped former Taliptip settlers build their new, better, and safer homes in areas of their choice, we have not left them. We are invested in their future, that is why we continue to monitor their progress and implement programs like this,” said SMC president Ramon S. Ang.
“Our community reseller program has been a success, especially this past year, as quarantine restrictions have necessitated new and innovative ways to distribute products. With consumers looking for convenience and safety, we have been able to give additional livelihood to so many enterprising Filipinos nationwide who have joined this program. We hope to replicate that among our Taliptip beneficiaries,” he added.
Ang emphasized the importance of training the beneficiaries properly on managing a small business, as this will help increase their chances of success not just as community resellers but as entrepreneurs in their own right.
“We are confident that our graduates will succeed in their businesses. We made sure of that as our experienced business mentors provided them with key entrepreneurial skills that include preparing their business plan, knowledge about financial literacy, including bookkeeping and accounting, and marketing strategies,” he said.
“With their knowledge and skills now, and the experience they will gain, they can run and grow their business and provide for their families sustainably throughout this pandemic and beyond,” Ang added.
The pilot community store of Taliptip settlers was opened in January this year by former residents of Sitio Kinse, Taliptip, in Barangay Bambang, where their new housing community is built. Behind the success of this first community store are the families of former Sitio Kinse residents Teodoro Bacon, Rodel Alvarez, Primitivo Canceran, Roberto Bantigue, and Jose Roger Requinto.
Since then, the company said that some 180 relocatees have signified their interest to join the community reseller program.SMC plans to conduct training for two more batches of 50 individuals each by May, depending on existing local quarantine protocols.
“We continue to receive inquiries from our relocatees on when the next batch of entrepreneurship training will start. We want to accommodate them all at once so they can start their businesses sooner, but we have to adhere to existing quarantine regulations and health protocols so we can help prevent spread of Covid-19,” Ang said.
“We are always in touch with local government officials, including barangay officials, on the safest and most effective way to deliver entrepreneurship training and other community-based training courses to our relocatees,” he added.
The initial graduates of the entrepreneurship program were from the 277 families who received financial assistance from SMC and were able to build concrete houses or purchase house and lot units in other areas in Bulacan and neighboring provinces.Owners of non-concrete houses or shanties were given P250,000 each, while owners of concrete houses were given the appraised value of their homes, multiplied by two, plus P100,000.
“We are committed to providing them opportunities to help them break the cycle of poverty. So apart from housing, we have provided them skills training with the help of TESDA, community-based training programs through Barangay Taliptip, and now, training and capital under the community reselling program,” Ang said adding that “We constantly talk to our relocatees so we can devise livelihood programs, employment and job opportunities for them even as we prepare for the airport project, where we believe we can further unlock their potential to participate in, and contribute to, growth.”