Three noted businesswomen team up to help microentrepreneurs
Monday, July 27, 2009
The dynamic troika of Chit Juan, Jeannie Javelosa and Reena Francisco has given a new definition to social enterprise, which is a response to the current conditions. The Environment and Community Hope Organization—or Echo—Store is a business enterprise operating for a profit “but with a social cause,” said Juan, who heads the marketing component of Echo Store.
Founded six months ago, the Echo Store has become the hub of products made by various microentrepreneurs around the country. Furthermore, Echo Store is proving that there can be business at the bottom of the pyramid.
Juan, who is known for her marketing expertise, credits Javelosa and Francisco for their various skills in operating Echo Store.
Being an effective communicator, Javelosa handles the communication aspects of Echo Store. “You can’t just look at the numbers. The old way of doing business has to be looked at. What’s obviously emerging is a new trend where you have to reevaluate the way you do business and the way you look at profits,” Javelosa said.
“We’re fortunate enough that we are in this trend. Whatever you do is a way of helping. It also helps you make money by coming all together, make money together and profit together. But in the end, all that it brings helps the environment, helps other people’s livelihood,” Javelosa added.
Meanwhile, Francisco has the huge task of tackling the backroom operations of Echo Store. She is also responsible for handling the day-to-day operations of the store located in Serendra, Fort Bonifacio. Juan describes Francisco as the woman who keeps them “grounded,” or the one giving them the reality check in running the business.
“Jeannie and I are the dreamers, while Reena is the grounded person. We’ve learned in the last five months on how friends go into business. The beauty is that this is a social enterprise. You have to have a different perspective,” said Juan.
To become sustainable, a social enterprise must be profitable. For Echo Store, Juan said it must sell products that have high quality. To be able for communities to sell their products at Echo Store, Javelosa and Francisco evaluate the details of a certain product to determine if it can be sold at the store.