Great Women Brand Launched With Media

Event Snapshots of the Great Women Brand Media Launch. (1) Philippine Commission on Women Chairperson Remmy Rikken talks about the GREAT Women Project experience in advocating women’s economic empowerment; (2) Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines Christopher Thornley responds on the creation of the Great Women Brand; (3) ECHOStore Foundation President Pacita Juan provides an overview of women in Philippine entrepreneurship while ECHOsi Foundation President Jeannie Javelosa, PCW Executive Director Emmeline Verzosa and CIDA Head of Cooperation Luke Myers listen; (4) WMEs Ronavelle Amen, Teodora Aquino and Vivencia Mamites; (5) Women microentrepreneurs, GREAT Women Project officers and ECHOStore team members; (6) MNDC woman microentrepreneur Teodora Aquino relates product improvements resulting from Great Women Brand involvement, with GREAT Women Project Manager Luvy Villanueva, and PCW Chair Remmy Rikken in the panel.

The Philippine Commission on Women-GREAT Women Project and the ECHOsi Foundation jointly introduced the Great Women Brand and its product line to national media. The Great Women Brand Media Launch, held last February 21 at Milky Way Café in Makati City, presented the Brand which is a distinct line of upscaled food products, lifestyle goods and homeopathic care products manufactured by women microentrepreneurs throughout the country.

The Great Women Brand is also a concept brand that taps local designers and leading women entrepreneurs to gather community products, upscale and link these quality products with local and exports markets through social entrepreneurship channels.

Through the launch of the GREAT Women brand with media this February 21 and with target consumers on March 19, specialty products made by local community women will now land the shelves of leading concept stores, mall outlets and labels of renowned Philippine designers.

Great Women Brand products are seen to directly create employment and income opportunities for women and their communities, who form the brand’s supply chains. Women and the community will additionally benefit by being able to sell products at fair trade prices.

More than 40 print, radio and television media, as well as lifestyle bloggers, participated in the GREAT Women Brand Media Launch. Participating media were requested to explore content the Great Women brand and on women and entrepreneurship, from value chains and women microentrepreneurs, to retailers and designers. The Media Launch also sought to influence news and other media to cover gender quality and women’s empowerment issues on a more regular basis.

The Great Women Brand

The Great Women brand is the result of the partnership among the Philippine Commission on Women-Gender Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women (GREAT Women) Project, the Enabling Communities with Hope and Opportunities Sustainable Initiatives (ECHOsi) Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes products of local enterprise groups and the convergence of national and local government agencies to introduce product development and market opportunities to economically empower women. With technical and funding assistance from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the partnership guided women microentrepreneurs to develop community products throughout a five-tiered Intensive Design Clinic Series and develop a product line for the Great Women Brand.

Chairperson Remmy Rikken related that PCW engaged in women’s economic empowerment gain experience to train and work with national and local government partners actualize WEE through their own mandates. She cited the creation of the Great Women brand to be one of many GREAT Women Project results.

“Working with the GREAT Women Project for many years now, we have been able to make ‘real investments in WEE’ that have allowed women to improve economic situations for their families, their communities and their country,” Canadian Ambassador Christopher Thornley lauded the project.

Intensive Design Clinic Series

The GREAT Women Project, together with ECHOsi Foundation and partner designer experts, ran an Intensive Design Clinic Series 2012 throughout GREAT Women Project sites of Quezon, Metro Naga, Bohol, Iloilo, Leyte, Davao del Sur and PALMA+PB Alliance in North Cotabato. This series enabled women microentrepreneurs to develop, pre-test and commercially produce market-suitable variants of food and non-food products for the brand.

“With the GREAT Women Project, we were able to create 2 variants for our crab paste: garlic and spicy, which really gained market recognition. We also learned about gender equality and women empowerment,” WME Teodora Aquino from Gainza, Metro Naga in Camarines Sur said.

“Through the GREAT Women Project, my sweet and salty peanut snacks and peanut butter spreads now have a formal label which is Nating’s Home Made Peanut Butter. The peanut butter now comes in unsweetened and sweetened variants,” e­­­­nterprise owner Ronavelle Amen from Iloilo said.

“My dream is to become a successful business woman like those who have mentored us at the Intensive Design Clinics. By attending the Intensive Design Clinics, I was able to develop new patterns and try new color variants through improved dyeing processes,” indigenous woman weaver Vivencia Mamites from Bansalan, Davao del Sur shares.

The Intensive Design Clinics Series saw over 2,000 WME products in 47 LGUs and more than 38 products pre-qualified for the Great Women Brand. Through the Intensive Design Clinic Series, women microentrepreneurs received technical advice and mentoring on the value-adding for products, developing new product variants and designs, managing the microenterprise, strengthening production capacities, proper packaging and labeling, and assistance with food and nutrition requirements and technologies.

Among leading women entrepreneurs and design experts that helped developed the Great Women Brand product line are ECHOstore co-founder and ECHO Sustainable Initiatives (ECHOsi) Foundation president Jeannie Javelosa, ECHOstore Director for Operations Reena Francisco, indigenous textile expert Rambie Lim, international designer and creator of the Banago Bags Renee Patron, Filip and Inna couture designer Len Cabili, architect-designer Dan Lichauco, Philippines’ Knit Queen Lulu Tan-Gan, paper artist Tes Pasola and Mindanao Trade Expo Foundation president Anne Pamintuan. Outlet chains of ECHOstore and Tesoro’s will initially retail Great Women brand products.