LOOK: 3 Businesses by Young Entrepreneurs Who Want to Give Back
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LOOK: 3 Businesses by Young Entrepreneurs Who Want to Give Back

LOOK: 3 Businesses by Young Entrepreneurs Who Want to Give Back

Parenting | November 4, 2021
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In a season of gift-giving, learn from these inspiring young entrepreneurs who have created small businesses with a heart.

Educating our kids goes beyond classroom habits or study skills learned in traditional schooling. While many children are both hands-on and experiential learners, the unusual circumstances that the pandemic has brought about have also included opportunities to acquire entrepreneurial skills in running small businesses with purpose.

And because of these extreme situations and events that our kids are witnessing, they are also being given unique opportunities to serve in the communities as responsible members of society. Here are 3 inspiring businesses—started by young philanthropic entrepreneurs—that help others in need.

Concrete Acts (IG: @concreteacts.mnl)

A fresh graduate of Ateneo de Manila University, Francine Campos was inspired by her work with Tugon Ateneo—an organization that partners with various children’s shelters and orphanages all over Manila.

This experience cultivated the understanding of the grave repercussions that the pandemic has had on the lives of marginalized children and teens. She also witnessed how many of the shelters and the organizations she was volunteering for, were affected by dwindling pantry supplies and refrigerators that were taking more and more effort to refill. Likewise, education was put on pause until electronic devices and internet service was secured.

What’s more, as an active member of Tugon, Francine saw the stark differences and lessons in scarcity compared to the circumstances and situations of all the shelters she had frequented prior to the pandemic. The need was evident and urgent.

Calling on her sense of duty to serve the young girls that she had met and considered friends and family, she could not bear to stand by and watch as their lives were drastically affected. Not waiting for a government that was failing those who needed it most, she decided to take on simple endeavors that were sustainable, so that she could contribute whenever her “friends” needed help.

Answering the Call for Help

Riding on the desire of the plantitas and plantitos for beautiful pots and nurturing their green thumbs, she took the opportunity with a business venture: Concrete Acts. Through this endeavor, she was able to help provide for medical bills, groceries, and care for the women of the organizations that she was familiar with. Through her efforts, she was able to donate to organizations in a sustainable manner.

While the challenges of a small business owner who creates, assembles, manages social media, keeps track of accounting, and markets for her one-woman show are numerous, what keeps Francine striving to deliver a professional product is regaining her feeling of autonomy. No longer “stuck at home”—while being witness to the shortcomings of a government and society that fails to provide for her friends who felt cast aside—she was able to provide in a small way for what they needed.

Earmarking 60% of her profits bi-monthly for vulnerable communities and NGOs dedicated to child protection, PWD inclusion, and integration, and/or healthcare empowers Francine to know that she is making a difference to the communities she serves.

Vico’s Artism Gallery (FB: VicosArtismGallery)

Parents and architects, Jun and Cathy Cham discovered their son Vico’s natural penchant for the arts and knew that it would play an important role in his future. But uncertain of society’s ability to employ people with autism, they had set their own plans in motion to prepare for Vico’s Artism Gallery. They knew that with Vico’s gifts, he had a real shot at sustaining his needs through his art in the future.

Through this venture, Vico could then hone his skills as an artist, and have opportunities to work with other well-known artists in various mediums. And with God providing the right time, the family opened the art studio for Vico in April of 2016.

However, the biggest challenge to establishing Vico’s Artism Gallery was finding the perfect location. Because Vico was able to secure a job after his graduation, it was important to find a location that would be close to his office and his home. That way, he can paint in his studio after work and on weekends.

From Gallery to Art Classes

Once the Cham family secured the location, they realized that the studio could evolve into something greater than an outlet for Vico and his creativity. While Vico was working, the inclusive art teachers who guided him in developing his skills began offering art classes to other children of different abilities.

Soon after, these classes quickly filled with students who would train and nurture their talents in painting—similar to the way Vico began his artistic career, years before. Inspired by Vico’s growth and development, and the free hours of the studio, when Vico was working his day job, Vico’s teachers began training and developing other students like him. 

And the unexpected blessing that came out of all this? How Vico and his family were able to share the gallery with other children and art students of different abilities.

Cultivating Artistic Talent and Helping the Community

What’s more, opening up the studio and the gallery for other students were both helpful to the teachers, who were able to supplement their income and the children who were encouraged to unleash their talents in arts. Sharing the space with others became more than gratification. It became the Cham Family’s way of sharing their blessings.

Overall, Mommy Cathy felt doubly blessed. Blessed to discover Vico’s artistic gift and help him achieve it. Blessed to witness the ripple effect that it had on other young artists, and blessed to see his teachers and mentors who were inspired to serve the community. Likewise, the families of other students were also surprised to see the artistic gifts and creativity of their children—displayed in exhibits with other artists, as well.  

To date, Vico continues to advocate for himself by serving other communities like Pamaypay ni Nanay. Serving this community of mothers by embellishing handpainted pinya artworks, he helps provide added income for their families. And yes, Vico and the nanays have sold over 100 Vico‘s FANatics locally and globally!

Keisha’s Ribbon Wreaths (FB: keishables.shop)

Inspired by the restrictions of the pandemic and learning at home, Keisha’s science project unwittingly became the foundation for her small business.

While assigned to find available materials at home, she was tasked to make something useful. The materials should undergo a physical change, which in this case, meant “cutting and bending” the ribbons to create a wreath. Keisha then kept herself busy doing this, while spending time with her mother in their craft room. And even after completing the assignment, the wreath that she created became even more significant.

A child who thought ahead of her age, Keisha understood the realities of closing businesses in a pandemic and the financial challenges that this presented for her family. And because her mom wanted to empower Keisha to problem solve while fueling her desire to “give back,” Keisha’s Ribbon Wreaths was born.

And this concept clicked! During their discussion of Keisha’s Christmas wish list (mostly for her baby brother, Chiko, and the books that she wanted to purchase) she posted a photo of the ribbon wreath hanging on her door on Facebook and her first orders started coming in!

However, because Keisha is only 10 years old, she still needs the help and support of her momma’s business page, Keishables. Unable to establish her own Facebook account and use social media as an outlet for her sales, she is reliant on mom’s posts and word of mouth to garner new sales.

Reaching Out Through Outreach Programs

Learning how to manage her time between school, ballet, piano lessons, and her growing business may sometimes be challenging, but with supportive parents, Keisha has been able to fulfill orders and special requests as they come in. Likewise, customizing client requests for ribbon wreaths with teeth for her dentist, and a g-clef and music notes for her piano teacher has been both challenging and fulfilling as she completes and delivers her orders.

Quoting Winnie the Pooh, Keisha shared that “Giving is the best gift of all.” She is proud that she has contributed to her community through the sales of her ribbon wreaths last Christmas—that is, by aiding the efforts of The Bamboo Organ Church.

Likewise, Keisha and her family worked closely with her parish for their Christmas outreach program. And despite not meeting the age requirement to distribute the care packages to the chosen families because of quarantine restrictions, Keisha was not hindered from donating the profits from the sales of her wreaths.

Happy that she was able to be a part of her first outreach program last year, Keisha continues to work hard in her small business. Maybe someday, she can fulfill her dream of taking a more physical role in helping her less fortunate brethren. But even now, she is encouraged to see the smiles on the faces of others and would like to get to know them more.

Giving and Helping Amid the Pandemic

The greatest reward can be found through the simple act of giving. In a time when so many of us feel the need to channel our energy and make a difference in the lives of others, sometimes we can look to the younger generation to provide us added depth and meaning as we approach this year’s gift-giving season.

In fact, it is a wonderful opportunity to purchase something for someone special from a young entrepreneur with a penchant to give back as well. After all, gift-giving with a cause has an even deeper meaning.

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Michelle Aventajado shares lessons learned through triumphs and challenges in motherhood, relationships, and life, as she raises four children ranging in age from nine to twenty-one. She believes that every trial presents an opportunity to learn, that her daughter Gelli is her greatest teacher, and that as a parent, it is important to instill in her children that they are part of something bigger. 1 Cor 13:13
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