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CARD clients take semi-finalist spot for 18th CiTi Microentrepreneurship Awards

April 8, 2021

SAN PABLO CITY – Two (2) microentrepreneur clients from CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI) were among the 50 semi-finalists who will compete for the 18th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) 2021 which will be virtually held in June 2021.

The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) is a nationwide search for outstanding microentrepreneurs in the country and founded by Citi Foundation in partnership with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Citi Philippines, and Microfinance Council of the Philippines Inc. (MCPI). This aims to give recognition to microentrepreneurs and to showcase their significant contribution to the country’s economic growth.

This year’s objective is to give incentives to microentrepreneur clients who stepped up and embraced the change brought about by COVID-19 pandemic. These microentrepreneurs have an important role in rebuilding local communities during this pandemic.

The CARD clients

Among the selected microentrepreneur clients are Renalyn Brondial from CARD SME Bank and Rosalyn Espenorio from CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO).

Renalyn Brondial from Nagbalayong Morong, Bataan and her husband Willy used to own a sari-sari store. After several years of trying their luck and knowing that their community was abundant in cashew, they decided to venture into selling cashew nuts. The couple started to make roasted cashew nuts and packed them and displayed their products along their house. “Many tourists who pass by our barangay buy our products for pasalubong to their families and friends.”

In 2012, the couple officially started their own cashew nut business, “We used our little savings as capital so that we can purchase materials for the business. Later on, we decided to borrow funds from sharks and some friends.” But the couple realized that they needed to find a financial partner that could help them in sustaining their business, then they met CARD SME Bank in 2017.

Their business grew and started to expand in their province. “Since cashew is not really popular in the market, we highlighted its health benefits and made it as our marketing strategy to have a wider network.”

But COVID-19 pandemic unexpectedly happened in 2020. Due to threats of the virus, the couple decided to temporarily close their stores and shift to online selling. Despite these challenges, they continued their business and started to use online platforms such as Facebook to market their products. They were able to generate employment with their community.

On the other hand, Rosalyn Espenorio is a microentrepreneur from Antipas, North Cotabato and a client for more than a decade of CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO).

In order to provide the needs of her family, Rosalyn started her own bakery, fish and vegetable business, and fish cracker factory in 2004. "I grew up in a simple family and we we're raised by our parents to work hard for us to live a life comfortably."

After several years, her business grew and was able to employ a total of fifteen (15) workers from their community. "They helped me to expand my business. With their loyalty and respect, we built a great bond with each other. In return, I also treat them like family."

But when the government started to implement the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and total lockdowns in the country, Rosalyn was forced to temporarily close her business. Since food is one of the most important necessity, she decided to create a small talipapa. "During the ECQ, I sold fish and vegetables, and other household goods to our neighbors. It's one way for me also to help them in maximizing their time and securing their safety of being infected by the virus."

Also, Rosalyn provided relief goods to her employees to help them in their daily needs. She also donated bread and coffee in the barangay for the frontliners. Aside from that, she also volunteered in the distribution of relief goods to households.

When the Local Government Unit lifted the ECQ, she immediately opened her factory and bakery to allow her employees to resume their work.

Because of her humility, generosity, and good leadership, many people admire her. Driven to reach her dreams, Rosalyn wants to expand her business and plans to put up a car wash business and buy additional equipment for her factory. Ultimately, she dreams of creating more employment in her community.

Empowering the microentrepreneurs

Said CARD MRI Managing Director Flordeliza L. Sarmiento, "I'm really proud that two of our clients were chosen as semi-finalists for the CMA 2021. These clients both admirably showed measurable results in terms of making income generating activities in their respective communities despite the pandemic."

She added that they embody the capacity of every CARD client, "Since we started CARD in 1986, our main goal is to empower and give ownership to these women. Through our capacity building programs, our activities about entrepreneurship have contributed a lot in their growth."

Sarmiento is looking forward for the success of these microentrepreneur clients and concluded that many CARD clients will be known in the business in the future.