April 13, 2024

Small businesses that opened right before the Covid-19 pandemic have high hopes for better opportunities, especially with the capacity building training from the Department of Trade and Industry.

Guil Ocampo, a young entrepreneur in his mid-30s who is operating a coffee shop along Session Road in Baguio City, is hopeful of good prospects for another year after seeing good signs in recent months and after undergoing management and financial preparation training from DTI’s “Kapatid Mentor Me” (KMM) program.

He said the KMM training “was a big change in the set-up (of my business)” since it allowed him “how to view the daily sales for a long-term situation.”

“Knowing how to make the financial report and interpret it and how to properly run the business without encountering problems with government regulatory offices are also important factors. More importantly, having the confidence that I know what I am doing in managing the business is a big boost,” he said.

Ocampo joined the KMM program in 2022, when he nearly lost everything and realized the need to be equipped with additional knowledge.

“I was unemployed after resigning from work to start a business and my life’s savings were drained from opening the cafe and moving to another location along Session Road,” he said.

Ocampo and his friends opened their business in February 2020 in a hotel near Wright Park after seeing the potential of a coffee-related business while doing documentaries as a government media practitioner.

Around a month later, a nationwide lockdown was declared due to the pandemic, prompting the immediate closure of the establishment.

Ocampo tried to continue operating by adopting a delivery service as there were no dine-in clients.

He said the pandemic taught him a lesson – to cooperate and collaborate with other businesses.

The current location of his coffee shop was used as a drop-off area for cosplay items.

To date, the venue houses not just a coffee shop that allows its customers to play board games but also a place where cosplayers can display and sell their costumes and other items.

Similarly, Florence Aquino, 45, and her sister opened a mini grocery in 2021 at the ground floor of their family residence in Irisan.

Like Ocampo, she and her sister first opened a small milk tea and fruit shop at the university belt in January 2020, but which also became a casualty of the pandemic.

Aquino was forced to attend the KMM training in 2022 since her sister cannot attend because she was working as a nurse at the local health office.

“The mentoring program of your specific venture was very helpful. It will allow you to take a glimpse at the future while standing in the present,” she said.

DTI-Cordillera Assistant Director Samuel Gallardo earlier said the KMM is a regular program of the agency implemented with the help of stakeholders from the private sector who serve as mentors.

“This is a good opportunity to be trained as an entrepreneur since this allows the business to flourish. Everything that will make a person well-rounded in knowing how to start, run the business, and improve it are provided free to trainees,” he said. – PNA