Citi Microenterprise Development Center toasts 50th batch of scholars – Marks six years of nurturing micro businesses to become small and medium enterprises

Manila — The Citi Microenterprise Development Center (CMDC), a partnership between Citi Philippines and the Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Development, Inc., recently held the graduation rites for its 50th batch of micro entrepreneur-scholars.


The CMDC scholars spent 9-days under the Grassroots Entrepreneurship and Management (GEM) course to learn the different facets of enterprise management including self-mastery, situation mastery, and enterprise mastery. The lectures were facilitated by experts who clearly understand the unique business operations and workings of a microenterprise.


Funded by Citi Foundation, CMDC was launched as a pilot program in 2011 and has since served as a training haven for micro economic heroes.


Citi Philippines Public Affairs and Corporate Citizenship Director Aneth Lim was present to congratulate the graduates, just as she encouraged them to take full advantage of this life-changing opportunity by making a real difference not only in their families but also in their communities. “The future of this nation lies in your hardworking hands,” Aneth said. “We hope you value the investment we have made in you, and pay it forward by growing your businesses, sharing your knowledge smd skills and serve as mentors, and continuing to fuel your success with your courage and determination.”



After graduation, CMDC will continue to support the scholars as they are transitioned to the Citi-Small Business Advisory and Coaching Services (Citi-SBACS) where they are provided with one-on-one business coaching and mentoring on issues such as marketing, finance, human resources, operations, and regulatory requirements.


Bayan Academy’s Chairman & President, Dr. Eduardo A. Morato, Jr., thanked Citi Foundation and Citi Philippines for bringing to life their organization’s entrepreneurship education advocacy throughout the entire Philippines. He also acknowledged more than 250 microfinance institutions, cooperatives and other likeminded institutions in 36 municipalities and cities all over the country for believing in the power of educating micro entrepreneurs on self mastery and enterprise development.
“Through the Citi Microenterprise Development Center, we will continue to empower more Filipino entrepreneurs and other enablers by responding to their needs to create a new entrepreneurial culture in the Philippines,” he added.


The graduates are enthusiastic in their desire to avail of, and benefit from, the programs offered by CMDC—activities that aim to empower and equip them through intensive knowledge and technology transfers.


Foremost among the participants were two winners of the 2015 Citi Microenterpreneurship Awards (CMA): Ester Sheila Vitto of Bahag Footwear and Repair Shop in Oriental Mindoro, who was the Regional Awardee from Luzon; and Special Agri Micro-Business Awardee Victoria Bantilan of Edna’s Fresh Mushrooms in Negros. The CMA is a partnership among Citi Philippines, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and Microfinance Council of the Philippines that honors outstanding Filipino microentrepreneurs through an awards program. Winners of the CMA are awarded scholarships to CMDC.


Since receiving their respective awards last year, which also included generous cash grants that they’ve reinvested into their businesses, these two successful microentrepreneurs have begun reaping the benefits of the recognition gained.


Ester shared that she is in the process of completing a new manufacturing site slated to open this year, which was partly financed from the proceeds of her cash prize. Through this facility, Vitto’s Bahag Footwear and Repair Shop can now increase production and take in more orders of their slippers and sandals, all made from recycled rubber. She is also more confident in her ability to expand beyond Oriental Mindoro, and is looking into franchising as a means to help other micro-business owners.


Meanwhile, Victoria, together with her husband Roberto, have just added a half-hectare lot for organic red and brown rice production, which they grow in addition to mushrooms. Apart from this, they are also looking into expanding their mushroom harvest by way of constructing a new growing house, again using the proceeds from the money that she won.


Even with these achievements, these two enterpreneurs refuse to rest on their laurels, and still find the need for further learnings and knowledge, particularly in the areas of entrepreneurship and business management.


“Even though I already earned a degree in accounting, I realized that by participating in CMDC’s training session, there are still so many things I have to learn,“ shared Victoria. “Apart from that, I was also able to expand my network by meeting like-minded people.”


For Bantilan, such trainings are a boon to those like her who received little formal education. “Even at our age, the training we received will be very beneficial as it opened our minds on how to further grow our business,” she enthused.

CMDC has trained nearly 3,000 microentrepeneurs. More than half have experienced an increase of 10% in their income and almost 4,000 new jobs have been created by the scholars and their businesses. CMDC was formed as a response to the expressed needs of the majority of microentrepreneurs to go back to the learning table and address their knowledge and skills gap in developing and growing their micro businesses.




Citi Philippines Public Affairs and Corporate Citizenship Director Aneth Lim (leftmost) wished the graduates success in their entrepreneurial journey as microbusinesses towards small and medium enterprises in the future. She is joined by (from left): Ester Sheila Vitto and Victoria Bantilan, who were recently named among the winners of the 2015 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, and Bayan Academy Executive Director Philip Felipe.


CMDC Graduation 2016 - photo with article

CMDC is a recipient of the Social Empowerment award at the 2013 Asia Responsible Entrepreneurship Awards (AREA) for its impact on improving and scaling-up microfinance clients’ businesses.


Year 2014, Class 28, July 2-4, 2014

Name MFI Name of the Enterprise Products and Services
Adia, Cerma C. Bayan Academy Cecordia Travel and Tours Ticketing service
Amado, Erlinda CARD Bank Manufacturing of Peanut Butter Peanut Butter
Angcana. Dorma P. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Direct Selling Boardwalk products
Anyayahan, Socorro D. BLFFM Cooperative Corvic’s Aqua Farming Figgerlings grown-out
Aquino, Loretta CARD Bank Buy and Sell Pineapple Jam
Arenas, Oliver O. Couples for Christ Cooperative Solar Zone Marketing Solar Panel Equipment
Asia, Melinda S. Sorsoro Ibaba Development Cooperative Leaf Asia/Piggery Pigs/Dry goods
Avila, Wedelma Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Ermie’s Tailoring Tailoring service
Balboa, Sonny O. Buklod Cooperative Shine Nature’s Garden Herbal Plants
Bayubay, Ninia Sorsoro Ibaba Development Cooperative Computer Shop Computer Service
Belen, Fermina CARD Bank Fruit Stand Fruits
Biglete, Gene P. CARD Bank Fruit Stand Fruits
Bilo, Nestor M. CARD Bank 3D Lucky Toys Balloons Cakes/Balloons
Blanca, Shanifer B. CARD Bank Jollibatot (Canteen) Food
Brul, Lilian J. CARD Bank Lilian J. Brul Sari-sari Store Dry Goods
Bulahan, Lolita CARD Bank Buy and Sell Fruits
Calingasan, Ma. Nenen Tulay sa Pag-unlad, Inc. Samot-sari Handicraft Coconut Shell Products
Capulong, Gorgonia M. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Buy and Sell Fish
Castillo, Merlinda A. CARD Bank Fruit Stand Fruits
Castillo, Lolita CARD Bank Fruit Stand Fruits
Chua, Pacita M. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Anzet Buko Coconut
Da , Christine G. Sorsoro Ibaba Development Cooperative Tintenet Internet Shop Computer Service
Dalit , Melody CARD Bank Carinderia Food
Danes, Merry Rose F. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Danes Perfume Perfurmes
Del Mundo, Ruth L. Rural Bank of Alaminos Nora’s Buy and Sell Accessories/RTW/Shoes/Bags
Dela Cruz, Lilia P. ASA Foundation Carinderia Food
Dela Cueva, Imelda A. CARD Bank Mel’s Sari-sari Store Dry Goods/Loading station/Smart padala
Delos Reyes , Melanie L. CARD Bank Lanie’s Sari-sari Store/Buy and Sell Dry goods/Coconut/Brooms
Empemano, Ernesto H. Philippine National Bank Ernesto Enterprise Processed and Raw mct for bottled sweets
Escobido, Cristine C. CARD Bank Cris Pots and Plants Pots and Plants
Fadallan, Eunice M. CARD Bank Direct Selling Living Power International Corporation Products
Fernandez, Myrna M. CARD Bank Myrna’s Store Dry Goods
Flores, Violeta M. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Fruits and Vegetable Stand Fruits and Vegetables
Granada, Ronald E. CARD Bank Scrapt For Less Paper Bags
Guanzon, Elenita B. CARD Bank Sari-sari Store Dry Goods
Hernandez, Liberty P. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. AIM Global Alliance Food Supplements
Lajara, Elizabeth S. CARD Bank Home-made Pastillas and Peanut Butter Pastillas and Peanut Butter
Javier, Rose  D. CARD Bank Rose Eatery Food
Jordan, Josephine T. ASA Foundation Direct Selling Personal Collection Products
Laco, Jose O. R.L. Lending Laco’s Farm and Spices Chili, Ginger and Pepper
Lajara, Arnel F. CARD Bank Buy and Sell/Tricycle Operator Tricycle service
Maguiañana, Josephine CARD Bank Buy and Sell Scrap materials
Manalo, Julie M. CARD Bank Sari-sari Store Dry goods
Manalo, Ruth G. ASA Foundation CRJ RTW RTW
Manipol, Josefina O. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Lloyd’s Radiance Salon Salon Services
Marasigan, Marita A. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Marita’s Eatery Meat
Marcaida, Angely D. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Buy and Sell Cold-cuts
Mendoza, Liberty H. CAFFMACO Lee Ann Jin Trading Motorcyle parts
Mina, Julita E. CARD Bank JMC Sari-sari Store Dry Goods
Montilla, Aurea ASA Foundation Buy and Sell Scrap materials
Musico, Gina G. CARD Bank Tricycle operator Tricycle service
Obarco, Trinidad P. CARD Bank Buy and Sell Coconut and peanuts
Obien, Antonio Couples for Christ Cooperative TPM Services Sales of Kitchen Equipments and Maintenance
Oliva, Mercedes B. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Oliva’s Store Condiments/Cleaning agents
Palma, Marlyn R. CARD Bank Buy and Sell Banana and Coconut
Peñas , Aileen C. Sorsoro Ibaba Development Cooperative Blessed Pau Online Shoppe Garments/School Supplies/Shoes/Bags/Bedsheets/Curtains
Piñana, Imelda S. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Hog Raising Hogs
Quezon, Wilfred B. CAFFMACO Lee Ann Jin Trading Motorcyle parts
Quinto, Rubelyn S. Sorsoro Ibaba Development Cooperative Sari-sari Store Dry goods
Ramos, Dario I. CARD Bank Bakery Breads
Rojas, Roselda D. ASA Foundation Manufacturing of Peanut Butter Peanut Butter
Rojas, Christoper R. Sorsoro Ibaba Development Cooperative AIM Global Alliance/Manufacturing of Peanut Butter and Ube Food Supplements/Peanut Butter/Ube
Rosales, Annaliza A. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Sari-sari Store Dry Goods
Saavedra, Josephine A. Tulay sa Pag-unlad, Inc. Dave’s Enterprises Herbal Products/Organic Cosmetics/Apparels and RTW
Salian, Lina M. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Jen & Jerick Enterprise Dry Goods
Saliva, Ediza B. CARD Bank Waters Philippines/Jobas Enterprises Distributor of Water Purifier and Alkaline Maker
Sikat, Letecia M. CARD Bank Manufacturing of Peanut Butter and Embutido Peanut Butter/Embutido
Silos, Lourdes M. CARD Bank Lulu and Gene’s Bag Bags
Suñega, Elizabeth F. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Manufacturing of dishwashing liquid and fabric conditioner Dishwashing liquid and fabric conditioner
Susi, Nova C. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Buy and Sell Vegetables
Tablason, Elpidia K. Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Ely Garments Garments
Tolentino, Gina Kabalikat Para sa Maunlad na Buhay Inc. Gina Floating Fish Cage Fish ponds
Vidal, Diana A. Sorsoro Ibaba Development Cooperative Loading Station Cellphone Load
Villagarcia, Liza Bayan Academy Pink Sisters Enterprise Printing and Internet Services

Citi Microenterprise Development Center Set to Train Over 600 Aspiring Microentrepreneurs

Citi Philippines and Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Development Inc. joined hands anew in launching Year Five of the Citi Microenterprise Development Center (CMDC).  Funded by Citi Foundation, CMDC provides hundreds of high potential yet low-income micro business owners access to training, coaching and business advisory services on enterprise management, to aid them in growing and expanding their businesses.

Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed recognized the achievements of the microentrepreneurs that enrolled at the Citi Microenterprise Development Center. Nearly 2,000 of them have proven their ability to expand their businesses and create new jobs along the way.


Aftab Ahmed, CEO of Citi Philippines led the opening ceremony and commended the microentrepreneurs’ hunger to excel and do well in their micro businesses.  In his speech, he said: “I admire each of you for having the conviction to make your dreams a reality.  Each of you has successfully created businesses from the ground up, and started an income stream not just for yourselves but also opened job opportunities for the community.”


With four decades of banking experience in 11 countries, Ahmed generously shared his insights and advised the microentrepreneurs not to be afraid to take risks and have the willingness to fail in order to make their businesses grow.


Established in 2011 after a successful pilot in 2010, CMDC has trained and mentored over 1,700 microentrepreneurs nationwide. CMDC was borne as a response to the expressed needs of the majority of microentrepreneurs to go back to the learning table and address their knowledge and skills gap in developing and growing their micro businesses.


Ma. Wilma Ruiz, a 2013 CMDC scholar, attended the opening to inspire the incoming batch of “students”. She shared how the entrepreneurial management courses of CMDC gave her the courage and ability to create a new micro business of selling her own line of perfumes.  From a buy and sell business, she has become a producer and built Gemfrali Collection into a viable microenterprise.  Today, she carries a growing selection of perfumes and earns more than twice her monthly income compared to when she first started her business.


From 2010, CMDC scholars have steadily experienced an increase in income by at least 10% and have generated over 3,500 jobs.  This impact on the lives of the beneficiaries was further validated by a study conducted by the University of the Philippines  College of Social Work and Community Development’s Sikhay Kilos Foundation  in 2013 from a pool of CMDC scholars from 2010-2011. The study noted that majority of the scholars have obtained positive net worth along with other notable changes in their micro businesses’ such as improvement and/or expansion of product lines, increase in inventories, engagement in other forms of businesses and creation of additional jobs.


Dr. Eduardo A. Morato, Jr., Chairman and President of Bayan Academy thanked Citi Foundation and Citi Philippines for their continued partnership, and pioneering the program that believes in the power of Filipino entrepreneurs. Through CMDC, Bayan Academy is able to share its intellectual capital to the clients of microfinance institutions and at the same time, build a strong social capital that would move the country to its greatest heights in the years to come through enterprise development.


Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed (3rd from right) commends the students of the Citi Microenterprise Development Center for growing their micro businesses into profitable income streams that generate jobs for their communities.


Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed sat in on the lectures during the launch of Year 5 of the Citi Microenterprise Development Center (CMDC) program. Funded by Citi Foundation, CMDC offers training and mentoring services to high potential micro business owners.

On its 5th year, CMDC is set to train over 600 microentrepreneurs and loan officers on entrepreneurship, including topics on self-mastery, personal finance, marketing, operations, human resources, and finance.   Upon graduation, the scholars are entitled to receive Citi Small Business Advisory and Coaching Services from experts that include volunteers from Citi Philippines.


“CMDC is more than just a training and coaching facility – it has become a hub that brings together aspiring micro business owners, business coaches and mentors that include Citi volunteers, as we all work together to build our nation from below,” said Dr. Morato.


With Citi’s commitment in growing grassroots enterprises, the CMDC was recognized as the Social Empowerment Awardee in the 2013 Asia Responsible Most Outstanding Awards given by Enterprise Asia.

Beyond Checkbook Philanthropy – The Citi Volunteers Way


unnamed-1For four years now, we at Bayan Academy have welcomed Citi volunteers year-round to serve as trainers and mentors to high potential microentrepreneurs in the Philippines.


This year, as Citi marks 10 years of its Global Community Day, our doors continue to be wide open to the increasing number of Citi volunteer-business mentors who never fail to give their all when coaching our “student” microentrepreneurs.


Our partnership with Citi Philippines began in 2011 when Citi Foundation agreed to pilot our proposal to address the knowledge and skills gap faced by low-income microentrepreneurs who wished to scale up.


We established the Citi Microenterprise Development Center (CDMC) and through a Grassroots Entrepreneurship and Management program, we began providing quality and intensive enterprise development training programs in Metro Manila.


We also knew that our students would need more than formal training so we introduced Small Business Advisory and Coaching Services to mentor our microentrepreneurs as they sought to build bigger and better businesses.


What we didn’t know, however, was just how much support Citi Philippines would provide. We quickly learned that the bank was so much more than checkbook philanthropy. It has and continues to be committed to tapping its people as agents for positive change.


Throughout these years and across our various initiatives, Citi volunteers have guided our microentrepreneurs by providing their expertise on a range of relevant business topics – finance, marketing, operations, law, and leadership, amongst many others.


We at Bayan Academy have been privileged spectators, seeing for ourselves the efforts put in by Citi volunteers to really make an impact in the lives of our beneficiaries.


Our students share the same experience: they continue to be amazed at the deep involvement of Citi volunteers from CCO visits to roundtable discussions and having Legal officers orient them on the laws governing their businesses.


This Global Community Day, aside from classroom mentoring, Citi volunteers will be going one step further. They will be visiting the business premises and employees of our microentrepreneurs, providing them with deeper insight on what they can improve and further develop.


These sessions will further continue post-Global Community Day so that Citi volunteers can monitor the actual implementation of their suggestions and recalibrate if and when necessary.


The entire Bayan Academy community is glad to see Citi volunteers actively engaged; their generosity has become a powerful tool to capacitate the microentrepreneurs towards continuous growth.


The contributions of Citi Foundation, Citi Philippines and the Citi volunteers is more than corporate social responsibility; it is in fact impact investing that has created a model of microenterprise development here in the Philippines.


To date, with support from Citi, Bayan Academy has nurtured almost 2,000 micro business owners keen to take that next big step. Our programs have also gone beyond Metro Manila, to include Visayas and Mindanao.


I look forward to yet another successful Global Community Day with Citi Philippines and to the further development of our strong partnership.




Weaving Dreams and Fulfilling Wishes


Rosemarie Eroles displays her fashionable bayong during a recent exhibit at the Citi Microenterprise Development Center.

Bayan Academy and Citi Foundation partners to help micro-entrepreneurs upgrade their business potentials



Remember the timeless adage, “Behind the success of a man is a woman?” In the case of Rosemarie Eroles and Catherine del Monte, it was the other way around.  Rosemarie’s husband Alex and Catherine’s husband Richard, have always been the ever-supportive partner to these aspiring businesswomen.


For 10 years, Rosemarie and Alex have been at the helm of a 12-year-old enterprise selling native handicrafts, which in turn is helping plain housewives and young women in Lucban, Quezon who weave buri and pandan leaves into fashionable bags.  Their business Marilex Handicrafts was the offshoot of Rosemarie’s training with Bayan Academy’s Citi-Bayan Entrep Eskwela program, where she was part of Batch 3 in 2012.



On the Del Monte couple’s side, their one-stop cellphone repair and accessories shop in Sta. Lucia mall bloomed through the years that their business now occupies an entire block in the mall’s floor and they have even expanded into various cellphone-related businesses. They started in just a small corner a few years ago with people discouraging them to get that small area as it is not usually noticed by mall goers, but through their persistence and hard-work, their efforts paid off.


Improving products

“I have been selling bags and handicrafts made from buri and pandan, which I learned from my parents who have been doing it since 1978,” explains Rosemarie while in her shop at a mall in Quezon City.  “But when I attended the classes at Bayan Academy, I got to learn more about improving and marketing the products. I learned that I could turn the bayong, which is usually something you would only bring to the market, into something fashionable and classy.”


She then put up Marilex Handicrafts, an offshoot of their husband-and-wife business Eroles Collections, which turns the woven bags that they buy from their hometown in Lucban into artsy accessories in their house in Luzon Avenue.  From selling their products in bazaars and tiangges, people started noticing the quality and style of their bayongs which paved the way for them to supply for the likes of SM and The House of Tesoro.  She proudly says that they have become a hit with balikbayans who buy many pieces and in turn, become “exporters” of her products.


However, this has not stopped her from pursuing other things.  Now, she is also selling ladies’ accessories like bracelets, necklaces and earrings; and homemade food like yema cake, Lucban longganisa, and pancit habhab from her hometown.  These items now help augment income to the already thriving sales of her bags.  She has also been a regular fixture in community bazaars, tiangges and trade shows.  In short, the once plain housewife is now a full-time businesswoman.


One-stop shop

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Husband and wife Richard and Catherine Del Monte recently opened their newest branch of Trich and Trish Telecom Marketing located along Marcos Highway, Cainta, Rizal.

“When we started, we were the only one who does repairs and service for cellphones. We started really small but we saw the opportunity to provide cellphone accessories and sell more units. Customers came in because we were a one-stop shop for all their cellphone needs. Soon, we were being emulated by other tenants in the mall,” says Richard.  ”With the income we have set aside, we expanded our space and got other spaces too so that we can reach out to more customers.”


The Del Monte couple are unfazed with the competition. In fact, they relish it as they discover more opportunities for income-generating activities. “Right now, we have opened a pawnshop for gadgets… as we found this another good venture as people are sometimes in need of immediate cash.  We also opened a printer repair shop so if the cellphone business takes a backseat, then there is another business to turn back to.”


Lessons learned


Rosemarie and Catherine credit a lot of their training from the Citi-Bayan Entrep-Eskwela in honing further their entrepreneurial skills, with how they manage their people and the financial side of the business.


“The most important business technique I learned from [the classes] is to avoid taking the profits from the business into buying things that are usually ‘luho’.  I admit that it was really tempting in the beginning to buy things that would make us feel good.  But now, we take into consideration first what we would do with the profit.  We decided to save while rotating the capital to other businesses,” says Rosemarie. Catherine wholeheartedly agree, adding that “income from business should be used to expand the business, not to buy items that are not necessities for everyday living. Capital should also not be touched for personal purposes.”


Since 2006, Bayan Academy’s flagship Entrep-Eskwela Program, also known as Grassroots Entrepreneurship and Management (GEM) Program, had a total of 21 program licensees. These licensees are now implementing GEM in their own organizations through 426 accredited trainers who have undergone training for this purpose.


“The reach of this program is estimated to be 500,000 micro-entrepreneurs who will now be able to bring their enterprises to a higher level,” says Dr. Eduardo Morato, Bayan Academy President.  “This is real nation-building at its finest as these successful micro-entrepreneurs will uplift not only the lives of their family but also their community or even back to their hometowns.”


With support from Citi Foundation, the CSR arm of Citibank Philippines, the Citi-Bayan Entrep-Eskwela Program was launched. It is part of the “Citi Microenterprise Development Center (CMDC)” Project, which supported the establishment of a center that will cater to training 200 high-potential microfinance clients.  Composed of more than 100 modules, the program assists participants in learning the various facets of enterprise management, including a self-mastery module.