Edna Duhaylungsod, an ALS learner from Zamboanga del Norte, started her own business with 70 pesos. Through an online training she participated in, Edna was equipped with new business strategies to grow her business.

Aiming to capacitate ALS learners to start their own businesses, a training entitled “Maayong Pagnegosyo (MAPA): Youth Empowerment Through Entrepreneurship Program” was conducted from June 8 to July 2, 2021.

A total of 126 ALS learners from Zamboanga del Norte participated in the 4-day training of the MAPA Program. The program aims to improve the income-generation capacity of the participants by equipping them with entrepreneurial and financial skills.

Furthermore, it aims to increase the learners’ knowledge in business and entrepreneurial competencies for them to be able to increase their income by starting their own businesses with the resources they already have without the need for any upfront capital.

The program is part of the Power for Youth Project of ING and UNICEF, in partnership with People Systems Consultancy, Zamboanga del Norte Youth Development Alliance, and Ateneo de Zamboanga University’s The SUGPAT Program. 

Entrepreneurship and financial strategies for ALS learners

The online training was conducted in five batches with 30, 28, 24, 25, and 19 participants accordingly. 

The participants undergo modules covering topics on goal setting, strengths profiling, SWOT analysis, value creation, market leadership, customer focused branding, financial management, and making a business pitch.

Edna Duhaylungsod, one of the batch 2 participants of the program, shared that the most memorable topic for her was about Unique Selling Proposition. “Dapat naiiba ka sa ibang negosyante. Dapat mas i-improve mo pa yung mga technique mo sa pagbebenta (You should be unique with other businesspersons. You should always improve your techniques in selling.).”

People Systems Consultancy Philippines Project Executive Karleen Zambas said that one of the highlights of the training is the fact that it was wholly done online. “Despite all the happenings around us brought around by the pandemic like travel restrictions and health risks, we still managed to push through the training sessions for our ALS learners,” she continued, “Learning at the comfort of our homes safe from any risks, is the new normal. In MAPA, we were able to prove that it’s possible and effective!”

Dedication and perseverance despite challenges

The MAPA participants were not exempted from experiencing connection issues in the run of the training, however, it did not stop them from fully participating in the training. 

Jefrey Barreta, one of the participants from batch 4, goes the extra mile to attend the sessions. He said, “Malaking opportunity ang training na ito sa amin kaya kahit umakyat pa ako ng bundok, lalo na sa panahon ito [para magkaroon ng signal]. Kahit paano maaring po kaming mag start ng maliit na negsoyo (This training is a big opportunity for us, even though I have to look for a better signal in the mountains in this bad weather just to attend the sessions. Through this, we may now start our small business.).”

“I must say that having very dynamic, energetic and committed participants, the ALS learners of Zamboanga del Norte, makes a world of difference. More than us teaching them about the topics from each session, they allowed us to remind ourselves that no one can hinder one’s determination to continuously learn, not even this pandemic,” Zambas said. 

What’s next for MAPA Program 

After the first phase of the program which was the training, the second phase will kick start on the last week of July. 

For the second phase, the training team identified 60% of the participants who will be joining the 2-month online mentoring and personalized phone coaching. In the mentoring and coaching sessions, the participants will have monthly sessions on business strategies and have access to a personal business coach who will guide them in their journey of starting their businesses or expand what they already have. 

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