UP ISSI mentors capacitate incubatees from LSPU-ATBI through the GABAy Program


UP ISSI mentors capacitate incubatees from LSPU-ATBI through the GABAy Program

UP ISSI mentors with Laguna State Polytechnic University’s Agri-Aqua Technology Business Incubation (ATBI) staff in Los Baños Campus

UP ISSI mentors from the Business Enterprise Development Division (BEDD) carried out a series of mentoring and enterprise visits to nine (9) enterprises in Laguna and Batangas last February 12-15, 2024. The identified nine enterprises were part of the Agri-Aqua Technology Business Incubation (ATBI) Program of the Laguna State Polytechnic University (LSPU) which provides startup businesses and would-be entrepreneurs the necessary services to commercialize a technology. 

Meanwhile, UP ISSI is currently implementing an advocacy program entitled Gaining Advancement through Business Advisory (GABAy) Mentorship and Support Services Program, which aims to guide entrepreneurs in identifying and solving various operational problems in their enterprises.

During the four-day engagement, the mentors were able to diagnose the challenges and opportunities surrounding the enterprises. Each visit included assessment interviews, during which some entrepreneurs showcased their production facilities to provide further insight. The initial assessment revealed a range of challenges faced by the business owners such as preparing cash flows, identifying distribution channels, solidifying market positioning, and designing product packaging. 

UP ISSI mentors were welcomed by LSPU officials in the Siniloan Campus. (Left to right) From UP ISSI: John Rene Dalida, Ma. Luisa Solarte-Lee, Reynold Ferdinand Manegdeg, Karen Kay Bravo, and Joshua Garcia. From LSPU-Siniloan: Engr. Isabelita T. Domingo, ATBI Project Leader, and Dr. Robert C. Agatep, Vice President for Research Development and Extension.

As a commitment to the business owners, the GABAy team will be assisting them by providing free online mentoring sessions for three months. Additionally, marketing collateral such as posters and promotional articles will be designed for the enterprises. Some enterprises needing extensive marketing support (e.g., brand revamping, product packaging, radio and social media scripts) were referred to the UP College of Fine Arts Visual Communication class led by Ms. Michelle Marchadesch-Roxas. These collaborations offer students valuable opportunities to apply their skills while assisting the incubatees and providing them with fresh and innovative marketing perspectives in the process.

The enterprises that will benefit from the GABAy’s mentorship program are as follows:

Twin Cakes and Pastries was founded by Dr. Juliet Caramonte, a faculty member at LSPU, as a pandemic project. This enterprise specializes in personalized cakes and cupcakes made with locally sourced fruits from Famy, Laguna offering flavors like ube, banana and macapuno.

JCO Fish Retailing was formed by the faculty and students of LSPU’s College of Fisheries. This enterprise processes bangus, tilapia, and hito into ready-to-eat food items such as bottled products, pastil, and pie.

Adoress Farm, owned by husband and wife Amador and Teresita Sanchez in Mabitac, Laguna, this 3-hectare farm offers fresh produce and value-added products like  turmeric brew, mushroom chicharon, and tawa-tawa soap and sanitizer.

ElBest Tilanggit traces its roots to the Tilanggit Project funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The enterprise is now being managed by the coastal women of Los Baños who sun-dry small tilapia into tilanggit.

(Clockwise from left) ElBest Tilanggit, Twin Cakes and Pastries, PrimaCassava, AquaInnovative Fish Products, and Adoress Farm

Elmera’s Ayunggit Center owned by Elmera Pasco to provide livelihood to the women and fisherfolk in Pakil, Laguna. Known for their flower-shaped dried ayungin, making it easier to cook.

CasaGrasya Hydroponic Farm was set up by Berbiel Apundar after winning the Department of Agriculture’s Young Farmers Challenge. Located in Sta. Cruz, Laguna, his enterprise focuses on growing lettuce and turning it into crispy lettuce chips (chichalette).

AquaInnovative Fish Products is a startup formed by Dennis Enriquez, a fisherfolk from San Pablo, Laguna. This startup preserves the excessive supply of ayungin caught when fishing for tilapia at Sampaloc lake into Spanish-style bottled fish.

PrimaCassava was originally established by Edna Mendita as a baked goods business in Calamba, Laguna. This enterprise now specializes in cassava-based desserts and is venturing into beverages with kefir-based probiotic drinks.

DerickRose Food Products is managed by Rosal Peña, a farm owner who grows chili, radish, ampalaya, and coconut. Their main line, Everything Pickle offers products like atsarang ampalaya and labanos, pickled chilis, and their popular atsarang suka alongside coco amino and spiced patis.

(Clockwise from left) JCO Fish Retailing, Elmera’s Ayunggit Center, CasaGrasya Hydroponic Farm, and DerickRose Food Products

The GABAy program aims to empower LSPU-ATBI incubatees by focusing on operational management, business planning and networking during mentoring sessions. Over the next three months of engagement, UP ISSI will support these enterprises on improving their business plans, providing guidance on sales projection and cash flow statements and facilitating connections with DOST’s program called Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SET UP) for equipment upgrades. Through collaborative efforts, the incubatees can improve operational efficiency, strengthen their market positioning and attain sustainable success with the support of the GABAy Program and UP ISSI.


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