The big stories in the small town

By Ho Chung Lam, Willie

Life is full of challenge. During the 3 weeks time, three of my teammates (Charles, Charlie and Cindy) and I was assigned with a demanding and challenging mission, to assist in the development of 10 different businesses simultaneously. The commodity they offered, channeling strategies, commitment (reason of foundation), necessary skills and raw material for production of each businesses are quite a contrast to one another. With such degree of disparity, we need to tailor-made different marketing proposal to address each individual firms under the tightly packed schedule.


In this tropical city with so much fertile land, most micro-businesses usually prefer entering the food production market due to the abundance of the agricultural resource. To survive under the fierce competition in the industry, cost minimization is prioritized and thus they usually construct the factory of production on the sloped mountain distant from the populated area or any selling hub (because of its relatively lower rentals). Some location could only be reached by riding the motorbike! Thanks for the friendly help offered by Anna Ria Baja Araneta from the local government unit of Jagna, we could reach the business with her altruistic assistance finally (and we even got the “privilege” to get on the police car she borrowed ^o^).


The conversation with the ten business owners is really fruitful. All of ten interviews commenced with the warm greeting from business partners. In our compendious but constructive discussion, I am already deeply impressed by their strong passion, ambition  of their own product development. As most of our customers are food manufacturers (including the Ubi powder as food additives, longiniza which is a kind of sausage, corn coffee and etc.), they spend quite some time to develop the product from scrap, like changing the the supplier of ingredient, cooking recipe and etc. Treating their product as considerable as their own son, they have strong intention to further improve it regardless of how many resource and time need to spend on that. Despite their high ambition, they still need to overcome many barriers before expanding their business successfully (including the lack of the enough skilled labor, supply of high-quality product and etc.)


They also share their own story of adventure with us as well. One of our business partners who worked as a domestic helper in Hong Kong before establishing the business. During the time in Hong Kong, she was inspired by Hong Kong’s egg noodles, amazed by Chinese obsession with noodles and finally found a noodle-manufacturing company by investing the capital she earned in Hong Kong. At the beginning, she was just working on her own with little assistance. The inexperienced lady needed to take care the whole manufacturing chain (She even had to repair the drying machine for the noodle on her own). Moreover, the noodles would spoil quickly (as the lady insist not adding any preservatives) in the rain due to their susceptibility to weather change. In spite of the huge risk of suffering from tremendous loss caused by the rain, she never succumbs. She failed a lot and keep learning persistently from every mistake by fine-tuning the manufacturing processes to tackle the corresponding issue. With her consistent effort and dedication, the issues are tackled one by one and her business expanded satisfactorily.


Some of the micro-enterprises are run by the organization called “Jagna women”, with most of the member to be housewives. Despite being busy with their housework, the “Jagna Women” kept dedicating themselves for the work. After the long day of housework, taking care of their children, they are already exhausted. However, they are still eager to dedicate their leisure time and their capital for the training fee for their own business (even up to now most of them are not receiving any salaries and they are providing help voluntarily). You could consider them as not privileged as the citizen in modern developed countries. However, in terms of spiritual satisfaction and aspiration, I could undeniably tell you they do not lag behind. The women even claims proudly that “When they are working, they feel that they are the most beautiful lady in the world. I know that after several years of work, I would be proud of my identity of being a working woman before”. They are busy of doing work, but they enjoy, love it and are always with the smile on their face.


Let’s come back to the business. After the visit, we recognize their accounting record system is not quite well-developed while the record could play a significant role when conducting business analysis and preparing the development plan. Therefore, we decide to hold a mini-lecture for them. The class was actually conducted in the white noble building, the municipal house. Frankly speaking, this is the first time I ever gave a class to teach such a large number of people. Besides, as the stuff are really newfangled to them, it really took some time for them to get accustomed to the new accounting template. Thanks for the detail elaboration of my dear fellows on how to fill the accounting template, they owners finally get used to the stuff and even could finish it by their own. Credit to my dear friends and the teamwork! ^o^

lecture time.jpg

(Accounting lecture time)




“No pay, No gain”. Although it’s still the preamble of the story and there are still days to go, I have already sweated a lot and I definitely gain a lot.








(Cookies making)



(The factory to make Calamai)


candles making.jpg

(Candle-making enterprise)


corn coffee.jpg

(The pleasurable tea time with fruitful discussion in the corn coffee factory area)



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