Due to life’s circumstances, 32-year-old Emely Gabo from San Andres, Romblon recalled putting her dream of becoming an entrepreneur in the backseat for several years.
In College, instead of taking up a business course, she studied computer programming as this came with a less expensive tuition fee. Still burning with a passion for entrepreneurship, she started reselling products, such as slippers, sandals, and even vegetables from nearby provinces. This supported her own needs and provided for her family as well while she was a college student.
Unlike other graduates, she never considered becoming an employee. She wanted to start her own business, but it was never easy. Life was so hard that she even considered working overseas to find more opportunities.
After three years, Emely went back to the country to finally pursue her long-time dream of starting a business. Fortunately, she was introduced to CARD, Inc. (A Microfinance NGO), a social development institution that provides business loans and became a client.
With her initial Small Business Loan of PHP 20,000 from the microfinance NGO, she rented a hectare of land to crop corn and started farming in 2019. It all went well until her land contract ended and the pandemic in 2020 hit the country and affected everyone. Despite the crisis, Emely found herself with more business ideas.
“I started online selling and pasa-buy during the lockdowns rather than being unproductive. There are ways to earn money at home, so why waste time?” she said.
Instead of being affected by the lockdown protocols, she expanded her business. Her firm persistence and optimism paved the way for her to see opportunities during those dark times.
Currently, Emely owns a growing piggery, still with the support of CARD, Inc. and still manages her sari-sari store and farm on the side.
From a computer programmer to an entrepreneur, Emely took her first bold step on a different path that led her to success. “Just follow your intuition and it will lead you to your dreams. It is absolutely fine if no one believes in you as long as you believe in yourself,” she said.
“Hold on to your dreams. Have the courage to walk on paths where your heart leads you,” she added.