ILOILO CITY, Iloilo — A local pastry shops in Iloilo City may soon find its goods at Bo’s Coffee shops nationwide with the help of government policies and the private sector, Senator Bam Aquino said Friday.
During the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Small and Medium Enterprises Ministers-CEO Dialogue, the senator shared the story of how a family of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) from Brunei started its own business that has grown to become a local favorite.
The shop sells cakes, cupcakes, and other pastries.
According to Aquino, the OFW family heard about how the Negosyo Center, a product of Republic Act 10644, or the Go Negosyo Act, can help ordinary Filipinos establish their own businesses.
Upon arriving in Manila, the family went to the local business center in Iloilo City of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to inquire about the support they can get from the government.
After the initial registration, they were able to get the proper training needed to start a small business through a loan from the OFW facility of the Land Bank of the Philippines.
The family started selling its products through an online shop on the social media site Facebook. But with the loan it got from Landbank, it is now starting to expand by buying more equipment and trying to improve its products.
LandBank has an OFW Reintegration Program to provide an opportunity for OFWs to engage in businesses, instead of finding employment abroad. The program offers financing for working capital and fixed asset acquisition.
Aquino said that after improving its facilities and products, Bo’s Coffee, a homegrown Filipino coffee shop, is now “checking out” its cakes to see if it could bring them to its stores located around the country.
Aquino said the story showed “how a family can go from being unemployed OFWs to actually having a business they can be proud of.”
It also showed how the government and the private sector came in to help a local family hone its talent and becomes successful in its endeavor.
“Now, can we find their cupcakes in your economy? How can that simple family find their products in your economy?” Aquino asked.
“Hopefully, with the dialogue today, we can come up with ideas all our economies can benefit from,” he said.
Although the Philippines has been enjoying “tremendous economic growth,” the government wants it to be inclusive, and learning from APEC economies will help the Philippines craft its own policies to help the MSMEs industry, Aquino added.