By Fedora Kwok
As an all-times food-lover, I have always (secretly) hoped to be assigned working with a business that is food-related, better with mangoes (evil grin). And there I was, assigned to a food production company that I felt more than enthusiastic about – McNester, one of the the top mango food production brands on Guimaras!
I still remembered how excited I was stepping inside the food production plant at McNester, San Isidro, Buenavista where 10+ food products were displayed, e.g dried mangoes, mango jam, mango & calamansi concentrate, mango Yema, mango empanaditas, mango playa, basically everything were made of MANGOES!!! Hardly could I resist my excitements! I was about to work with a business who’s selling Phillipine food for the rest of the weeks at Guimaras!
As we approach the end of our second week of consultation, we have concretely covered most areas through business investigation, collective efforts of research, as well as repetitive consultation with the founder and owner of the business, Rebecca.
Rebecca, as a graduate majoring in chemistry at college, Rebecca stood out as a resourceful individual, an Agri-entrepreneur who started her business tough with limited capital and much personal burden who was fiercely criticised as being a single-mother.
Conquering the fear and hardships, she founded McNester in 2003 with the names of her two sons, MacMac and Ralph Nester. It was when she started her first product, the Calamansi Concentrate, the local lime of the Phillipines which allowed her to make good use of raw materials that were immediately available. Strong and bold, Rebecca went inventing new products every month when eventually over 20 of her products were sold to the market. Her bestsellers were no doubt, the Mango Ketchup (the unique product on the island) and dried mango. We felt lucky to be trying Rebecca’s products everytime we visited her business for consultation and were told her stories that were able to inspire many.
Rebecca’s success in her business not only reflected her ability in generating appealing products that raised brand awareness domestically and internationally, but also her passion-driven stories that have surely inspired and motivated many people.
‘Humble Begginings’ was what a journal article titled about Rebecca’s stories. It’s noteworthy that Rebecca was one who not only put business success her only mission, but was also willing to devote herself in the industry, to develop and invest in science and technologies and to share her findings and to educate the general public.
What’s more, Rebecca’s mission of being socially responsible was also reflected in her commitment to practise fair trade and industrial methods that generate efficiencies with zero-wastage. In addition, Rebecca was willing to buy rejected mangoes from farmers, meanwhile practising fair trade with them through negotiating fair price and taking their travel expenses into account. We were well inspired by her spirits, passion and devotion to the society through generating positivities out of her business that benefit the public.
Looking deeply into such well developed micro agri-business with numerous recognitions & awards; articles featuring the business, we have soon came up with a thorough analysis of strength-weakness-opportunities-threat that very much gave us clearer objectives of what we could work on to improve the business in our terms of stay.
We also gauged the viability and feasibility of the long term expansion strategies of McNester through investigating the condition of labour, technology and facilities as well as examining more external opportunities and potential collaborations with other resorts, travel agencies further down the road.
In terms of the bookkeeping systems of the business, Rebecca well admitted that the lack of accounting records was her failure of operation. She further revealed that keeping the books updated only worked in the beggining of the year yet faded out very soon. In view of that, we helped Rebecca set up a spreadsheet, a simple accounting system to input numbers onto the excel and we will be further examining and refining the computing system next week.
Besides, we further learnt about Rebecca’s future plans of McNester. For instance, expanding outside Guimaras Island and obtaining a Pig farm that could support her long term goal to be environmentally friendly e.g turning her wasted raw materials to LPG gas (bio-fuel) used at pig farms. We felt rewarding to be absorbing lots of chemistry ideas and the spirit behind on running a business that was environmentally conscious and responsible.
Working closely with Rebecca for the past two weeks was very rewarding. We followed Rebecca to Iloilo to do her deliveries and to San Migale to observe potential pig farm which gave us more personal time to stay together. Rebecca was a mother-like and warm-hearted person. The strongest feeling of that came when she held my hands tightly crossing the roads. I felt deeply grateful and contented for the experince, to have the chance to meet with Rebecca, a humble business owner that was thoughtful and passionate. May I hereby express my heartfelt blessings to Rebecca and her family. (With lots of love and kisses)