Young Filipino entrepreneurs show passion and determination amid pandemic

MANILA, Philippines – Studies have shown that the greatest motivation for millennials is to find purpose and a sense of responsibility in their jobs. Being more comfortable with technology has also helped them find innovative solutions to reach their market despite community quarantine restrictions.

Three young entrepreneurs Victoria Kristina C. Pariña from Likha Studio; Emmanuel Caguimbal of XPERTO and Yuki Higson of Style Cat have found ways to help their businesses thrive during the pandemic while helping fellow Filipinos overcome its effects.

Sustainable initiatives for living spaces

Likha Studio is an architecture and interior design agency specializing in sustainability. The inspiration behind Likha was to create data-driven design with true sustainability in our homes, workplaces, neighborhoods and cities.

Victoria Pariña and her business partner Arch. Butch Nera officially launched his startup in May 2020, at the height of the pandemic, with the aim of helping clients find sustainable and ecological solutions for their spaces. “With the limited movements, the unforeseen blockages and the uncertainty of the future, it was a big risk. We also weren’t sure if we were going to get enough projects during the pandemic. But I guess since most people work from home, they’ve found the perfect time to finally rearrange their spaces, ”she says.

While there were times when construction and site visits had to be suspended due to blockages, she says they were able to rely on technology to get the job done. The 28-year-old says: “Our suppliers have also turned to online product presentations and online communication. I guess what really saved us were our customers. Their confidence in us and their positive reactions after the project reversals is a very humbling experience. It gives us the impression that we are on the right track.

They started with small projects like several bathroom renovations until they were referred to larger companies. “We are grateful to have worked with the local Taguig government to design their telemedicine office and lounge at Taguig Pateros District Hospital to meet the needs of their local residents during the pandemic.” They have also previously worked with Kutis 2000, a face and skin clinic in Quezon City, for the renovation of their clinic. They have ongoing residential projects and they are also the LEED contractor support for the JP Morgan Chase office project in Taguig and Arthaland for their ongoing Sevina Park Villas project in Laguna.

Encourage lifelong learning

XPERTO is a digital solutions provider focused on helping professional companies thrive in the digital world and empowering professionals as lifelong learners. They have developed a web-based platform that hosts virtual events for professionals and students, with the addition of end-to-end services including registration, collection of payments, platform configuration of virtual events and certification.

For his startup, Emmanuel Caguimbal, 34, draws inspiration from his own frustrating experiences attending conferences that started late or were delayed due to registration issues, technical issues or a lack of staff. . “Instead of having a pleasant time where I could have gained additional knowledge or continued my professional growth, I was instead left with the memory of an unwanted experience that I would rather soon forget. It occurred to me that these problems arise because planning and managing professional development events, like seminars and conferences, becomes a challenge for professional societies due to limited manpower and lack of of technology. And these limitations prevent them from effectively managing programs and events that require a lot of administrative work. “

They thrived during the pandemic, as lockdowns and other health protocols forced companies and professional organizations to go virtual and use video conferencing apps for meetings and conferences. The number of organizations encouraged to embrace digital transformation has increased, which has made XPERTO successful. He reveals that despite their previous financial challenges, they’ve built their customer base and proven the viability of their business which has garnered support from startup incubators and won a number of grants along the way.

Its core team of five members, consisting of Sam Beljon Catapusan, John Bibal III, Ginwene Rueda and Czarina Vijulet Jusi, primarily target companies and professional organizations, in particular organizations of professions regulated by the Regulatory Commission of the Philippines, such as the various engineering organizations in The Philippines.

Create jobs and help new businesses

Style Cat exports stylish bags and accessories to various countries while The Sewing Room is a local clothing factory for ready-to-wear, swimwear and loungewear.

Creative entrepreneur Yuki Higson started his business in 2009, making handmade accessories for sale to his college mates. When the pandemic started, she founded The Sewing Room, which employs highly skilled sewers who have been made redundant. The 29-year-old says her company not only provides jobs for her 10 seamstresses, but also helps other MSMEs as their low minimum order quantity offers locally made clothing for online businesses and brands. local.

She reveals, “At first it was difficult to build our customer base as we started our business in a rush to make a living, but we are happy to have built up a pool of repeat customers, mostly online brands that have also started during this pandemic. We have helped our clients comfortably grow their home business. Our team of seamstresses can provide them with quality clothing, ranging from swimsuits to ready-to-wear. “

Resilience to increase

The three millennial entrepreneurs are harnessing their strengths and building on their resilience to grow their businesses. They also say that strong networking skills have allowed them to market their products and services. Parina and Caguimbal are members of BNI Philippines, which helps them connect with like-minded people during their regular meetings.

Caguimbal shares these tips for those looking to embark on their entrepreneurial journey. “Don’t be afraid to take risks, but at the same time, before you do, make sure you have all the information you need to make informed decisions. Plus, continue to engage in a culture of learning. A perfect plan is useless if no one executes it. Higson adds, “Go for it! Never let other opinions weaken your mind.

For her part, Pariña says, “Do it and trust yourself. At first I had doubts and hesitation when my partner encouraged me to start our own business. But I think sometimes being afraid is a good thing. These fears are good to have because they push you around and they make you evaluate yourself and your actions. You wouldn’t know what you are capable of unless you try.


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