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CSCCI’S 7th Food, Beverage Expo showcases GrOW Negosyo entreps

By Jeremy Medrano, Angeline Benito,

and Missy Añonuevo (BS Entrepreneurship, BISCAST)


THE Camarines Sur Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (CSCCI), in collaboration with the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur, successfully held its 7th Food and Beverage Expo at Robinson’s Place Naga from June 27-30, 2024.


This year’s event, themed “Driving Competitive Advantage through Cultivating Adaptability, Resilience, and Leadership Excellence,” featured a wide array of businesses from various organizations.


The Naga GrOW Negosyo (Growing Opportunities for Wealth), a livelihood initiative of the city government of Naga, played a significant role by providing financial assistance to its beneficiaries for participation in the expo. Notable participants included Orange Country, MariaE Food Products, Sare’s Pilinut, and the new member, R & Y Mushroom Food Products.


Strong customer-entrepreneur bond


Larry Leeong, the owner of Orange Country, was among the participants representing the Naga Grow Negosyo Association. Leeong, a member since 2017 and president since 2019, emphasized the importance of quality products and strong customer relationships for business success. “Quality products and good relationships with customers are what make our business successful,” he stated.


Established in 2016, Orange Country Enterprise has aimed to become a leading source of real honey. Over the years, the business has expanded its offerings to include flavored honey, honey-based foods, and personal care products.


Recently, they launched a new line of bottled food items and vegan versions of traditional Bicolano ready-to-eat foods. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Orange Country has thrived, growing from a single colony to nearly 50 colonies of stingless and European honeybees and partnering with eight honey hunters trained in sustainable harvesting practices.


Orange Country Enterprise has transitioned from a beneficiary of the Naga Grow Negosyo Association to a social entrepreneurship venture that provides sustainable employment for local bee honey hunters. These community stakeholders support the business by supplying essential raw materials, contributing to the enterprise’s growth and sustainability.


Leeong encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to “do what you like, do what your heart feels, shine your own passion, and treat your customers as fellow friends to make them feel valued.”


From Grief to Growth


The entrepreneurial journey of Emilda Del Rosario is an evidence to the power of passion and perseverance. Emilda began her business, MariaE Food Products, in 2018, driven by the memory of her late mother. Her drive started with a simple act of making chocolates, a poignant reminder of her mother, which unexpectedly led to the creation of a delicious product.


Encouraged by an organization to turn her newfound talent into a business, Emilda launched her entrepreneurial venture with a modest capital of not more than 2,000 pesos. Over the past six years, MariaE Food Products has grown and diversified, expanding its product line to include Energy Bars, Crispy Pili Nuts, and Kinalas Noodle Soups.


Emilda attributes her success to her commitment to quality and uniqueness. “Quality product and unique,” she says, highlighting the marketing strategy that has garnered widespread support for her business.


As a member of the Naga Grow Negosyo Association, MariaE Food Products benefits from free promotion, sponsorship, and exposure at the 7th Food and Beverage Expo, courtesy of the association.


Emilda’s story is a blend of personal inspiration, strategic decision-making, and proactive engagement with support networks. As MariaE Food Products continues to evolve, it stands as a admirable example of the potential for growth and success that awaits those who embark on the path of entrepreneurship.


A legacy of quality, innovation


Sare’s Pilinut, a beloved brand known for its exquisite pili nut delicacies, has become a staple pasalubong choice in Naga City. Established in 1995 by the Sare family, the business has been a mainstay in the industry for over 29 years.


“Our business was started by my parents, and later on, they passed it on to us siblings. It was hard for me to take over, but with all my hard work, I managed to keep the business thriving,” said Nenet, who now leads the family business.


Starting with a modest capital of 5,000 pesos, Nenet has maintained and strengthened Sare’s Pilinut’s market presence. Today, it stands as one of the prominent pasalubong enterprises in Naga City.


“With this inherited business and my passion for it, I’ve been able to provide for my family, send my children to school, and employ people who need jobs,” Nenet said. She attributes the business’s resilience to constant innovation and experimenting with new products, as well as actively promoting her offerings through various strategies.


A member of the Naga Grow Negosyo Association for over a decade, Nenet regularly participates in seminars and trade fairs to promote her business. “Grow Negosyo has a lot to offer to us business owners. They invite us to free seminars and trade fairs, which greatly help in promoting our businesses,” she added.


Nenet encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to dive into the world of business with dedication and thoughtfulness. “Involve yourself in business, and make time to think about what it entails,” she advises.


Sare’s Pilinut continues to thrive, embodying a legacy of quality, innovation, and community support in Naga City.


Thriving amid challenges


R & Y Mushroom Food Products, owned by Ramon L. Espiritu Jr., has quickly made a name for itself in the local market since its inception in August 2021. Inspired by the difficulties and challenges of life, Mr. Espiritu ventured into the business world with a focus on Mushroom Chicharon.


“The challenges and difficulties of life motivated me to do business,” Mr. Espiritu shared, highlighting the personal drive behind his entrepreneurial journey. With an initial capital of 50,000 pesos, he found success with his Mushroom Chicharon, enabling him to build a home for his family. He prudently manages his earnings, splitting them equally between household expenses and reinvestment in the business.


To reach a broader audience, Mr. Espiritu leverages social media platforms to market and showcase his products. This strategy has been instrumental in growing the visibility and customer base of R & Y Mushroom Food Products.


As a member of the Naga Grow Negosyo Association for two years, Mr. Espiritu has received valuable assistance and livelihood kits, which have significantly contributed to the improvement and expansion of his business.


Espiritu advises aspiring entrepreneurs to seek support from relevant departments and agencies. “Don’t forget to go to the departments and agencies that can help your business because they are willing to help. Include associations like the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture, and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) that can help your business,” he recommended.


R & Y Mushroom Food Products stands as a witness to the resilience and resourcefulness of its owner, continually thriving and evolving in the competitive business landscape.

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