Mandaue Chamber of Commerce project finalist in Italy world congress

caption: Editha Bonghanoy found P600 among trash at the Umapad dumpsite in Mandaue City. The amount enabled her to start a food business.

by Maria Eleanor E. Valeros, #CebuBloggingCommunity

CEBU CITY, PHILIPPINES — Women in Need, Now Entrepreneurs and Rolemodels or WINNERS made it as a finalist to the 9th World Chambers Congress in Torino, Italy picked from 79 applications of 39 countries.

In an electronic correspondence, Alexandra Jercaianu, project officer of International Chambers of Commerce – World Chambers Federation in Paris, France congratulated the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry as WINNERS has been “selected as a finalist in the Best Non-Conventional Project category.”

A record number of 79 applications from 39 countries were received for the 2015 World Chambers Competition and that the full list of finalists in the said category are: Stavanger Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Norway), Chamber of Commerce of Zaragoza (Spain), Calgary Chamber of Commerce (Canada), and Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Philippines).

According to WINNERS project chairperson Ms. Carmel de Pio-Salvador, the chamber will be joining other finalists in front of WCF’s panel of international judges for a live presentation at the 9th World Chambers Congress from June 10 to 12, 2015 whereby a Q&A session will tackle the innovative nature of the project, the impact of the project on the chamber and or the business community; measurable outcomes (financial, business and job creation, participation rates, membership recruitment, people involvement); the relevance of the program in the target category, as well as potential for the project to be successfully adopted by other chambers of commerce throughout the world.

The “Search for WINNERS” was launched on July 26, 2011 at the Benedicto College Campus in Mandaue City. Now on its fifth season, the project is MCCI’s quest for model women micro-entrepreneurs from Mandaue City who are supporting their families and are struggling to rise from abject poverty through their business ventures. Their stories of perseverance and creativity, integrity and strength of character are to inspire other women to be empowered, says de Pio-Salvador.

Community development leaders validate the competence of these micro-entrepreneurs to represent barangays of Mandaue City. The finalists go through Basic Entrepreneurial Skills Training, Basic Banking, Formulation or Structuring of Business Plans, Personality Development, as well as Sponsors Tour wherein they gather more insights and perspectives in other traders’ business ventures.

“It is our goal to make the program a national advocacy. Women entrepreneurs today make up more than 50 percent of the country’s micro, small and medium enterprises, thus they should be given a place in national development,” de Pio-Salvador shared.

Editha Bonghanoy, for example, is scavenger turned entrepreneur.

Bonghanoy, a vendor from Barangay Umapad, lives near the city’s dumpsite. She used to survive on segregating trash that can be sold at junkshops, a way of life she, sort of, inherited from her mother. One day, while performing the backbreaking task of scavenging, she pulled out of the dump an envelop containing P600 (six hundred pesos) or roughly 14 US dollars (based on US$1 = P43 exchange), as of this writing.

Bonghanoy decided to leave scavenging behind by investing the money in a startup business. She started frying chicken parts like neck and feet which became a hit in the neighborhood. The crispy chicken business provided for her family decent meals, an opportunity to send her grandchildren to school, thereby nurturing hope that the blessing breaks the cycle of poverty in her family.###

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