Woman microentrepreneur shares enabling mechanisms proven to start and grow microenterprises

Woman microentrepreneur Teodora Aquino, President of the Cagbunga Crabpaste Producers Association of Gainza, shared her 12-year experience in starting up and developing a semi-processed crab paste enterprise, and the enabling mechanisms that have helped her grow her business. In 1997, Aquino learned crab paste manufacturing from a man who later became her supplier, then later joined an informal group of crab-paste manufacturers. With the rise of juvenile youth workers who went into crab-paste making in 2003, the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Department of Labor and Employment helped organize parents and youth workers into informal crab-paste manufacture and enabled the organization to pool together P70,000 sum for rolling capital.

By 2005, Aquino registered her business with the DTI and started her own label, and later gained access to training seminars, assemblies, and trade fairs. By 2007, Gainza became a GREAT Women Project partner. Crab-paste makers who could not ordinarily get Bureau of Food and Drug (BFAD) approval for lack of proper facilities, have now been encouraged with the proposed set-up of common service facilities that can satisfy a requirement for a Bureau of Food and Drug license. Her LGU’s participation in the Project also allowed her to participate in Trade Fairs and trainings on product development and gender sensitivity.

Aquino counts among a number of women microentrepreneurs, who are target beneficiaries of the neabling environment being developed by national and local government in partnership with the GREAT Women Project.

The GREAT Women Project is a five-year (2007-2012) capacity development and governance project for women’s economic empowerment (WEE) supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The GREAT Women Project supports the development of an enabling environment for women’s economic empowerment (WEE), particularly supporting women microentrepreneurs and women workers in enterprises. The Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), the national machinery for the advancement of women, is the lead implementing agency of the Gender-Responsive Economic Actions for the Transformation of Women (GREAT Women) Project.