The University of the Philippines Open University’s (UPOU) Open Talk 14 is part two of the episode about Entrepreneurship amidst the Pandemic. This episode also featured the resource persons from the first part, namely, Mr. Emilio B. Climaco, CHEFerd’s Farm Owner and a published author; Ms. Heidi Ricca Cruz-Del Rosario, Business Owner of Half the Price (HTP) Hub Women’s Clothing Store; and Mr. Joseph Erwin Frances R. Mituda, Owner of Frances Rapirap Mituda Review and Tutorial Center. All of them are former Continuing Education Program (CEP) students and local entrepreneurs.  Ms. Jelaine Bagos, Research Assistant of the  Faculty of Management and Development Studies (FMDS) served as the host while  Mr. Bryan Amante Belen and Mr. Ramon Manuel “RM” Nisperos, CEP Course Coordinators, were the moderators.

Ms. Jelaine Bagos (Host) and Mr. Bryan Belen (Moderator)

Ms. Jelaine Bagos (Host) and Mr. Bryan Belen (Moderator)

In this episode, one of the highlights of the discussion was about adapting to changes. Ms. Cruz-Del Rosario, owner of HTP Clothing said that customers are now wiser as they lean on the essentials more during the pandemic, choosing comfort over aesthetics and fashion. Mr. Climaco shared that on the agriculture side, customers have been understanding the availability of the products especially during the onset of the pandemic.

Ms. Heidi Ricca Cruz-Del Rosario, Owner, HTP Clothing

Ms. Heidi Ricca Cruz-Del Rosario, Owner, HTP Clothing

Ms. Cruz-Del Rosario shared that benchmarking on competitors was also an important undertaking, not to compare their performance to your business but more on to check the things you need to improve on or innovate that can suit customers better. Mr. Mituda, on the other hand, shared how he explored innovating the method of learning to a flexible learning style to blend with the current need of the learners in the new normal.

 On the agriculture side, Mr. Climaco said that a lot has changed in terms of operations based on his customers’ feedback – bigger product offerings, long-lasting product options, even product presentation.

The pandemic mandatorily shifted businesses online. While this is essential, the offline component of a business is also essential to sustain it. Ms. Cruz-Del Rosario shared that she resorted to implementing new guidelines in the office operations without negatively affecting the business by strictly following health protocols to ensure the safety of the employees.

Mr. Mituda, on the other hand, shared that while his review services are originally an online offering, what he did is to strengthen his strategies—to shift to flexible learning.

Businesses must also adjust and protect themselves. Ms. Cruz-Del Rosario shared an incident she encountered in her business when a client edited the proof of payment and changed the amount as a viable transaction to transact with her. Mr. Climaco shared that while the payment-first basis of online businesses may be an advantage to the enterprise, customers might have a hard time trusting the seller. So, it was essential to offer other payment options like Cash-On-Delivery (COD) to protect both the seller and the buyer.

“We were all once beginners,” shared Mr. Belen, also an entrepreneur. To start a business amidst the pandemic, these were tips given by the resource persons: (1) protect your business and your customers; (2) start even before you are ready; and (3) changing and strengthening your mindset, productive habits, read and keep a journal. 

The resource speakers and moderators shared the following as their biggest lessons learned in their respective businesses in the midst of the public health crisis:  

  1. It is not enough that you love what you do or just passionate about it. It is also important that you are knowledgeable to make your business fly.
  2. Legitimize your business to help it grow.
  3. Start small. Start right.
  4. Failure is not the opposite of success; it is just a stepping stone.
  5. The success that we really desire comes from within.
  6. In any type of business, you must always put your customers first.
  7. Focus only on the things that you can control.
  8. Entrepreneurship is a calling.

Open Talk 14: Pagnenegosyo sa Gitna ng Pandemya was held on 6 October 2021, Wednesday, from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM streamed live via UPOU Networks Facebook Page

OPEN Talk is a one-hour public service program to be broadcasted real-time over the UPOU Networks website and UPOU Networks Facebook page. Episode 8 was jointly organized by the UPOU Multimedia Center and FMDS. 

Written and screen captures by Alessa Shainne Hostalero

Edited by Joane V. Serrano and Anna Cañas-Llamas

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