PBSP | Assisting industrious women entrepreneurs in the Philippines

Guest post by PBSP, Partner of the Women in Business Challenge

Some claim that starting a business can be affected by several elements: economic performance and trends, consideration of rivals, and social factors like gender ratio, to name a few.

In the Philippines, women have equal opportunity as men when it comes to education, political leadership, employment, and entrepreneurship. Women entrepreneurship is not only encouraged but is given needed support by the government and private groups, in fact, 51% of entrepreneurs are female.

It could be said that women entrepreneurs have indeed made their mark in the business industry. Notable female frontrunners like Cora D. Ong, founder of CDO Foodsphere, Inc., a thriving food product manufacturing company, boldly declared that “I never saw a difference between men and women. Women are very much involved now and many are very successful in their own fields.” Mariels Almeda Winhoffer, IBM Philippines’ first female country manager, came back to serve her country even after having lived in the United States for a long time. These women are just a couple of examples that prove this statement true.

The accessibility of support for individuals who want to put up their own business is widely available with organizations willing to provide assistance for promising enterprises. Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) and the Business in Development (BiD) Network through their Women in Business (WiB) Challenge imparts the fitting platform to aspiring businesswomen.

Recently, the challenge has produced two Filipina grand prize winners, namely Marianne Olano for her business plan titled Baycrafts, which features accessories made from natural materials, and Nathalie Arsonillo, who developed a Mobile Cassava Processing Unit that also increases farmer earnings and productivity.

Other notable examples of businesses pioneered by BiD Network women entrepreneurs are: Rags2Riches, which gives an opportunity to a community of women supplying handmade rags to undergo training and use the same materials to manufacture stylish bags and purses; ECHOstore, an acronym for Environment & Community Hope Organization store, which promotes sustainable lifestyle and sells merchandise  from other social enterprises; and Jacinto & Lirio, which innovated the plant leather from water hyacinth and revamps them into utilitarian bags.

In organizing the Business in Development Challenge in the Philippines, PBSP tirelessly identifies and guides entrepreneurs with viable and sustainable business proposals, advocating BiD Network’s endeavors that aim to inspire, motivate, and assist these industrious entrepreneurs. As Nathalie Arsonillo said “with BiD, the future of my business is limitless, the competition is one of the best avenues to help us achieve the progress we want for ourselves and for the marginalized sector”.

This partnership with the BiD Network is part of PBSP’s larger program under its Platform for Collective Engagements (PlaCEs) in the area of Livelihood and Enterprise Development. The projects under this strategy are designed towards the achievement of collective impact through workforce development, value chain upgrading, corporate-community partnerships, innovative financing, and social entrepreneurship.