Ready to Recover: How these entrepreneurs are coping with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic

Ready to Recover: How these entrepreneurs are coping with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic

Entrepreneurship

Airamae Guerrero

Airamae Guerrero

28 Jul 2020, 13:00 — 5 min read

Micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are facing unprecedented challenges due to the impact brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Among the hardest hit industry is the tourism sector where revenue is mostly dependent on travelers. But with the strict travel restrictions and social distancing measures to prevent the spread of the virus, traveling has become much more difficult and is unlikely to happen any time sooner.


With no signs of tourists visiting the Queen City of the South - Cebu City, Audrey Regis of Audrey’s Confectioneries was greatly affected.


“At the beginning (of the pandemic), I was really at lost. I felt depressed,” Regis confessed during the ‘DTI-R2R: Ready to Recover’ webinar hosted by the Department of Trade and Industry Region 7 (DTI-7) in celebration of National MSME week.


But just like any business owners facing the pandemic, Regis decided to pivot and created products that are essential in this challenging time.


“I have to gather all my creative juices because my products are directly connected with tourism. I have to create a new product that is needed and could give me back the sales that I used to have before,” she explained.


With her entrepreneurial spirit, Audrey was able to develop a new product, a frozen food product, to be able to soften the blow of the pandemic.

 

MSMEs need to spot opportunities amid the pandemic. DTI is here to help them adapt to change and connect them with our partners like UnionBank GlobalLinker.


Audrey’s story resonated with Crispina Singh of Crissander Enterprises that sells fashion accessories.


“Our product is also directed to tourism. When the tourists stopped coming in, our sales went down and almost totally turned to zero,” she shared. Because of this, Singh had to find ways to prevent her business from closing.


Since her business is already exporting products in the US, Singh reached out to her buyers and asked what products they need as of the moment. She then pivoted to creating essential items needed during the pandemic.

See offer: Get 10% off on export services!


“We now produce face masks and face shields that are needed during this time,” she said.


Supporting other businesses during this challenging time, Singh also partnered with other local businesses in Bohol to produce more face masks that will be exported in the US. “We’re now producing 100,000 face masks to be sent in the US.”
 

Going digital to survive and thrive

Aside from creating products that are essential during the pandemic, Regis and Singh also stressed the importance of online channels to promote and sell your products.

“We need to be in the e-commerce space for us to survive,” Singh said. She also mentioned how she was able to create her own e-commerce store for free on UnionBank GlobalLinker.


Also read: How to start digitizing your business


“Good thing with UnionBank Globallinker is that it’s very easy to use. Once you are used to the page. It’s just like you are managing a Facebook page and it’s very secured,” she recommended.


Regis also expressed the same sentiment.  She shared her gratitude with UnionBank GlobalLinker for introducing and promoting her products not just in the Philippines but also globally.


“I’ve been part of UnionBank GlobalLinker for two years now. It’s a platform where members are all business owners. You can actually learn from each other. If something is troubling you, you can message them on the platform. It’s like a mentorship available 24/7,” she assured.


Also read: From being a delegate to becoming a TradeConnect speaker: The story of Audrey Regis

 

Spotting opportunities and adapting to change

Meanwhile, Assistant Regional Director of DTI-R7 Maria Elena Arbon encouraged MSMEs to spot opportunities amid the pandemic as this is “part of being an entrepreneur.”


“DTI is here to help them adapt to change and connect them with our partners like UnionBank GlobalLinker,” she expressed.


With the DTI-7’s partnership with UnionBank GlobalLinker, MSMEs in region 7 are given the support and mentorship to create and have their own online store through the LINKER.store.


Nonetheless, Arbon was quick to remind MSMEs that having an online store is just the first step of the long process of digital transformation.


“You need to promote it, connect to your buyers, and show them. (Having an online store) shows that you’re a legitimate business,” she concluded.


Image source: Shutterstock 


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Disclaimer: This article is based solely on the inputs shared by the featured members. GlobalLinker does not necessarily endorse the views, opinions & facts stated by the members

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Airamae Algentera Guerrero

I shine the spotlight on business owners who are doing exciting and innovative work by featuring them as part of our 'SME Inspirations' series. Connect with me and share...

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