This social enterprise is creating positive change to the lives of coconut farmers

This social enterprise is creating positive change to the lives of coconut farmers

SME Inspirations

GlobalLinker Staff

GlobalLinker Staff

15 May 2020, 17:30 — 8 min read

Enterprise: Cocodeli Coconut Products
Founder: Rodel Sinapilo
Industry: Food & Beverage
Year it was founded: 2009
Location: Candelaria, Philippines


Despite being primarily an agricultural country, farmers in the Philippines continue to live in poverty.


The lack of training, capital, and the high cost of farming inputs have prevented farmers from fully realizing their potential.


To tackle these underlying issues, Rodel Sinapilo, along with his parents, established Cocodeli Coconut Products with small capital. Not only are they producing coconut sap products, but they are also making sure that their coconut farmers are continuing to improve their quality of life.


Aside from providing quality products, they make sure that coconut farmers and their families are well taken care of – providing housing and even founding Coco Sap Producers Association to look after the welfare of coco sap farmers in Candelaria, Quezon.


In conversation with GlobalLinker (GL), Rodel Sinapilo (RS) shared his business journey on why he decided to move back to the Philippines from working overseas to manage and grow their family business that not only promotes local products but also uplifts and empowers coconut farmers.

 

GL: Tell us a little bit about your business journey. What motivated and excited you to start it?

RS: The business was started by my parents using an initial capital of P20,000.  In 2008, we started selling lambanog (coconut wine) using a small scale and native distillery equipment.  In 2014, we expanded by producing coco sugar, coco vinegar and coco honey syrup. 


I was an IT professional in Singapore at that time and I saw the potential of this business because it is an emerging product with a potential to make it big in the international market.  It is also organic with a lot of health benefits and people are starting to become conscious of what they intake.  Aside from that, I thought that it can also be a social enterprise - an opportunity to help coconut farmers. That made me excited and motivated and I quickly moved back to Philippines to focus on growing the business.


GL:
 What has been the most effective way of raising awareness about your business?

RS: We realized that participating in trade fairs help us grow our connections.  We received a lot of queries on our Facebook page usually from people who have seen us in the trade events and people that have tried a sample of our products. 


Social Media also plays a vital role in raising awareness as well as leveraging on influencers and partnerships with organic stores and coffee shops help drove sales for us.


Start now/young as there are a lot of opportunities out there! Do not be afraid to venture out into new things. Risk more!


GL:
What is the USP of your business?

RS: Every product you buy helps provide sustainable livelihood and improve the quality of life of our dear coconut farmers. Our products are all-natural, organic and FDA approved.


GL: How’s it working with the farmers? Can you share some impact stories you’ve had working with them?

RS: We hired 15 farmers and provided housing for their families. We also established a Coco Sap Producers Association that looks after the welfare of coco sap farmers in Candelaria, Quezon. We also opened the farm to the community and provided training and hands-on sessions to those who are interested to learn how coconut sap farming works. We conducted a series of seminars to teach them how to make coco sap products. We are being tapped by local government units to conduct such training in their respective municipalities especially now that we are experiencing problems in selling copras. They really need alternative products in order for the coconut industry to survive.  


Also read: 
This engineer turned social entrepreneur co-creates social impact with the indigenous people of Ayta Magbukun in Bataan


GL:
What are the challenges for your business to grow bigger, better and faster from here? What are you doing to tackle them?

RS: For now, it would have to be the location of our production house.  Since our farm is based in Quezon Province, it is a bit challenging to transport goods and deliver to Manila-based clients on a regular basis as it entails shipment cost which we need to bear. We are currently partnering with organic stores in order to have our products available in Manila as we also work on having a satellite office in Manila to house our products to cater to our clients’ needs.


I highly recommend UnionBank GlobalLinker to other SMEs as it will help streamline things and it’s a great partner to help you grow your own business.


GL: How has UnionBank GlobalLinker helped you so far? And why should other SMEs use it too?

RS: It helps us find new clients, source out production needs, find suppliers, do networking and use the online ecommerce tool like Linker.store.  I highly recommend this site to other SMEs as it will help streamline things and it’s a great partner to help you grow your own business.

Also read: How to start digitizing your business 

GL: What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur setting up their first business?

RS: Start now/young as there are a lot of opportunities out there! Do not be afraid to venture out into new things. Risk more! I just finished watching Itaewon Class with my wife and this Kdrama resonates well with us especially the part of growing your business.  Hence, I’m gonna take this advice from them – ‘You can overcome anything as long as you are alive.’’

GL: What is the next big thing on your business agenda?

RS: Go global!

GL: So far, what are the milestones of your business?

RS:  Since 2016, Coco Deli has collaborated with the government through trainings focused on coco sap harvesting and manufacturing process. In 2017, Rosana Sinapilo, co-owner, received the Provincial and Regional Gawad Saka Award given by the Office of the Provincial Agriculture and Department of Agriculture. In 2019, we received a special award for agriculture on Citi’s Microentrepreneurship event

GL: We would love to know the person behind the entrepreneur.

RS:

  • Every day I wake up at - 8 in the morning.
  • The first thing I do when I wake up – Pray and do devotion
  • Three things I do to unwind/ relax are – Eat the delicious food my wife prepares, read books, watch documentaries
  • When I face a big challenge - I face the situation with determination and grit.
  • The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given – ‘’In a world where businesses maximize what they can get from consumers, we believe in maximizing what we can give to consumers’’
     

To explore business opportunities, link with Rodel Sinapilo by clicking on the 'Connect' button on his profile.


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

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