Starting a business at age 54

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz April 27,2019 - 02:08 PM

Jerry Gloria, owner of Mabolo Bam-i House, now offers other food products aside from her famous Bam-i. /CDN File Photo

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Jerry Gloria was already 54-years-old when she thought of pursuing her dream of becoming an entrepreneur nine years ago.

She was working for an insurance company then.

But she did not let her age and lack of entrepreneurship training become a hindrance in reaching for her dream.

Then, she heard about an entrepreneurship training project offered by a Cebu university. The University of San Carlos-Kapamilya Negosyo Na (USC-KNN) is an accredited co-partner of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the implementation of the agency’s livelihood or kabuhayan program.

This is one of the two components of the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Programs (DILEEP). The USC-KNN organizes skills training for start-up entrepreneurs.

Gloria decided to join the training so she could be equipped with the skills she needed to succeed in her business.

At the time, Gloria thought of going into a handicrafts business.

She had been selling fashion accessories on the side, while working full time with an insurance company.

She realized, however, that a food-related business would more likely succeed. Since family and friends like her bam-i (a noodle dish popular in the Visayas), Gloria decided to offer this dish to start off her food business.

However, she knew that putting up a restaurant would require a huge investment so she decided to sell bam-i for pick-up by or delivery to customers. Thus, Mabolo Bam-i House was set up. She then attended the USC-KNN trainings and was fortunate to have been chosen as one of the beneficiaries of DOLE’s livelihood program.

Gloria received a grant of P25,000 from DOLE, which she used to start her business. She spent part of this grant in acquiring government permits.

“I wanted to do it the right way,” she told Cebu Daily News Digital.

While completing her requirements for the issuance of a permit, she also did product development to perfect her dish. And when she started her business, she was the doing almost everything.

“Before, I deliver, I cook, I buy the ingredients. I basically did everything. I had no other help except my family,” she recalls.

Now, she has two employees although she still does the cooking. At first, she faced difficulties in selling her product. But she did not give up.

“I joined fairs offering free sample of my bam-i,” Gloria says.

Her efforts paid off as she received more and more orders for her bam-i. Also, the social media presence of Mabolo Bam-i House helped her a lot.

They now accept orders from customers through their Facebook page. And they delivered the orders using application-based delivery service such as Grab.

Even as her business was performing well, Gloria decided to take on free culinary courses offered by government.

“I could not afford going to culinary schools since the tuition is quite high,” she says.

Her products now include various food items such as fresh lumpia, empanada, chicken lollipop and pastries. She now plans to expand her production area located at the first floor of the family’s three-story building. Mabolo Bam-i House has been given recognition as a recipient of the Q Asia’s National Product Quality Excellence Award.

Looking back, Gloria says she’s grateful for the assistance she received from the USC-KNN and DOLE.

She adds that she is the only one among her classmates in the training whose business has survived. Her determination, patience and willingness to take risk helped her achieve success./dcb

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TAGS: DOLE, House, livelihood, Mabolo, program

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