MANILA – When Angelita Dagoc advises aspiring entrepreneurs to “work hard and persevere,” the Visayas winner of the 14th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) knows exactly whereof she speaks.
Her current success was born out of failure. The family’s business retailing construction materials collapsed. Dagoc was looking for a way to dispose of unsold lumber when her husband Ferdinand, a third generation guitar maker, decided to use his expertise to “make lemonade out of lemons”, or in this case, transform the lumber into the stringed musical instrument.
After the failed business, the idea might have seemed like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. Lapu-lapu City in the province of Cebu, after all, is the unofficial guitar-making capital of the Philippines. Competition was already stiff among existing guitar makers.
But Dagoc and her husband, through their Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafter, proved that there would always be room for quality. The Ferangeli handcrafted instrument has become arguably the best guitar in Cebu and is now getting a name for itself in Fiji, Tahiti and the American state of Hawaii.
It also brought Dagoc the honor of being named the 2016 CMA Regional Awardee for Visayas.
Angelita receives her award from University of the Philippines Chancellor Dr. Michael L. Tan (left). She is joined by TSKI Account Officer Mr. Ivan Vincent Mata (2nd from right) and TSKI Area Manager Mr. Michael Sullano (far right).
The annual CMA is a partnership among Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Citi Philippines and Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI). Each year, these partners lead a nationwide search for the most outstanding micro business owners. CMA seeks to recognize outstanding entrepreneurs with assets of P3 million or less, who have achieved remarkable growth as indicated by employment generation, profits and sales turnover, and have contributed to community development. Entrepreneurs should also have maintained healthy repayment records on loans even as they build their savings.
Funded by Citi Foundation, CMA was launched in 2002 to celebrate Citi’s centennial in Asia and in the Philippines. The award has since recognized more than 100 winners across the country and was embraced as a global program now implemented in more than 30 countries by Citi Foundation.
The Dagocs have since added other stringed musical instruments to their products, as well as handcrafted souvenir items that they sell to both local and foreign tourists. They now have 22 regular workers, including their eldest daughter after whom the business was named, and 10 who are on call when needed.
Angelita hires unemployed people in her neighborhood as part of her commitment to uplift the lives of the people from her community.
In 2003, she received government support through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which invited them to participate in a nine-day training on product development and business management under a GoNegosyo program. The training helped the Dagocs diversify their product designs. DTI even provided them design ideas that proved popular with buyers, both local and foreign. The designs from DTI, Dagoc says, included shell inlay and tribal elements.
“My husband says the DTI designs are very good and (appealed) to foreigners,” Dagoc says. DTI also helped to link them with buyers in and out of Cebu, cementing her product’s reputation as the “Best Guitar” in Cebu. She reports her business sales to DTI monthly.
The product development and linkage opportunities provided by the DTI attracted more markets for Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafter outside of Cebu province. To reach a bigger market, the Dagocs developed their own website (ferangeliguitar.com) and now ship their products locally and internationally.
To continue enjoying the support of DTI, Dagoc makes sure she has all the necessary permits, licenses and other government requirements, including those from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
Financial support to expand her business came from Dagoc’s microfinance partner institution, Taytay sa Kauswagan, Inc. Dagoc, who became a member of Taytay sa Kauswagan in 2011, started with a loan of P20,000. She is now on her 11th loan cycle with the amount of P50,000.
Dagoc says her current loan will be used as capital to expand her business and fund their short workshops for customers, particularly foreign tourists, who want to learn the basics of guitar-making. Her earnings have enabled her to buy a 400-square meter property that has become the production area. Dagoc wants to have a bigger place for conducting their workshops
Dagoc and her family try to be role models in their community. Aside from being active members of their church, they support activities for community building and ensure they provide part-time jobs to unemployed people in her neighborhood.
With their flourishing business, the Dagocs’ lives have improved significantly and they have been able to support their children’s education.
This is the third in a series of profiles we are running on successful microentrepreneurs, recently recognized by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Citi Philippines and Microfinance Council of the Philippines as part of the annual Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards. Watch this space for five more highly inspiring stories of triumph against poverty.