Aboitiz-assisted cooperatives boost earnings despite the ‘new normal’
Two multi-purpose cooperatives (MPCs) have been addressing and overcoming the economic impact of the current health crisis, even boosting their earnings, thanks to continuous training, financial, and business start-up support from the Aboitiz Foundation.
“We, in the Aboitiz Foundation, are revisiting our social development programs to adjust to the needs of the times. Together with business units of Aboitiz Group and our partners, we commit to provide much-needed and long-term support to help cooperatives, especially those gravely affected economically by COVID-19, quickly recover, rehabilitate and eventually grow,” said Maribeth L. Marasigan, Aboitiz Foundation President and Chief Operating Officer.
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic forced cooperatives nationwide to adjust, innovate, and scale up to keep up with the changing consumer behavior.
Prior to the pandemic, the Aboitiz Foundation has already been helping partner-cooperatives improve their business operations by providing various organizational strengthening and skills training programs, technical assistance, small business starter kits, and even market and entrepreneurial support. These initiatives have empowered the foundation’s assisted cooperatives to navigate through COVID-19.
For instance, Tabla MPC in Barangay Tabla in Liloan, Cebu received training sessions and technical assistance on bread production, bakery management, and organizational development.
The Aboitiz Foundation, together with Aboitiz food unit Pilmico and other partners helped the cooperative set up and manage its bakery business through a bakery starter kit donation, and obtain capital funds through loans from partner microfinance institutions. Today, despite the pandemic, Tabla MPC sees an increase in bread and baked goods sales, being the sole bakery in their barangay and nearby communities.
In Tuba, Benguet, Aboitiz Foundation expanded its support to the province through Thanksgiving MPC (which the Foundation has been assisting since 2004) to include financial assistance and capability building and technical skills training programs to develop the members’ skills, enabling them to be productive members of their communities.
“Malaki ang naitulong ng bakery business sa aming kooperatiba ngayong panahon ng pandemic. There is a tremendous increase of 117% in terms of bakery sales in March and April, compared to January and February. The bakery provides enough bread supply to our community and nearby barangays,” said Emma Golocan, General Manager of Thanksgiving MPC.
Aside from helping its cooperative members, Thanksgiving MPC also takes pride in being able to help other community residents and suppliers.
Cooperatives helping communities
“With the high demand for supply and the increase of orders from store owners, we added part-time employees. Our coop bakery also supplies the needs of the consumers as to flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, and other bakery products, increasing the purchase of raw materials from various suppliers,” said Emma Golocan, Thanksgiving MPC General Manager.
Also trained on cooperative governance, financial management, and marketing by the Aboitiz Foundation, Hedcor, and Pilmico, Thanksgiving MPC leverages its gained knowledge in managing other businesses.
“Despite the restrictions on the purchase of supplies of goods, our cooperative grocery store still manages and incurs an increase of 50% on sales since the pandemic started. As to our money transfer business, there is an increase in transactions. Dumami ang nagpapadala at nag rereceive ng pera which means there is also an increase in the commission thus, make a higher income for the cooperative.
“We are very grateful to the Aboitiz Foundation, Hedcor, and Pilmico for choosing our cooperative to be one among your partners. The skills in dressmaking and bread and pastry production, and the starter kit donations help our coop’s products and services stay very much in demand in this time of pandemic,” Golocan shared.
Moving forward, the Aboitiz Foundation, through its Enterprise Development program, will continuously focus on helping partner-cooperatives and social enterprises become self-reliant and resilient. The Foundation is finalizing its Cooperative Digital Transformation program, which aims to promote e-commerce and the use of modern knowledge transfer tools for the cooperatives.
The Aboitiz Group continues to contribute to the country’s COVID-19 response efforts. To date, the Aboitiz Group has contributed P1.85 billion for its COVID-19 response efforts. This excludes various payments waived, reduced, extended, or restructured to help customers cope with the impact of COVID-19.