Restaurateur Eduardo Azores, owner of Ali-Ali Pastil in South Cotabato, is this year’s national winner of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) held at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) central office in Manila.
BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno told attendees that the CMA honors entrepreneurs who were able to showcase the power of microfinance as a poverty alleviation tool.
“Nag-umpisa ako sa negosyong ito na laway (ang puhunan) (I started business with basically very little investment),” shared Azores after receiving his trophy and a PHP200,000 cash prize.
He said he used to borrow money in the morning, and promise to pay it in the afternoon.
Azores started with just three employees. Now, he employs around 45 workers, majority of them are senior citizens.
He started his business in 2013, and was not spared from dealing with financial and emotional problems. Currently, Ali-Ali Pastil’s annual sales reach PHP13.4 million.
Pastil is a Muslim dish composed of steamed rice, and shredded meat wrapped in banana leaves. He now offers various flavors of this dish.
He now owns a convenience store and a catering service.
Among the things he learned in running a business was respect.
“Respect. If you borrow, you must return it complete. It’s also important not to get tempted in material things,” he said, adding that it would be good if one would learn to invest his or her earnings.
Now on its 17th edition, the CMA is the signature initiative of the Citi Foundation, in partnership with the BSP and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines. The award aims to strengthen enterprise development in the country.
Regional winners and special awardees, meanwhile, received PHP100,000 each.
The other winners were Lea Mancera (Luzon) for her Daniel’s Handicraft Weaving and Metal Frame; Merly Domingo (Visayas) for her Ebina Garment Manufacturing; and Lucrecia Neri for Manna’s Alternatives Herbal Products and AtiManna Organic Hub.
Special awards were given to Romualdo Blanco Jr. (Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year) for PK Maja’s Special; Rolando Pega, a spring onion farmer (Agri Micro Business); Rosanna Sinapilo (Agri Micro Business) for her Coco Deli; and Caroline Jamias (Special Award for Preservation of Traditions) for her Carol Line’s Ethnic and Fashion. (PNA)