“Sa tulong ng TSPI, di ko lang napalago ang negosyo ng pamilya ko, nakapagtayo rin ako ng sarili kong business para matulungan at mapakain ang mga tao sa aking komunidad”.

Funny Azañes, 32, is the only girl among six siblings; and a member of TSPI. She joined TSPI in September 2022, after being persuaded by her mother-in-law.

Funny is a second-generation small business entrepreneur. Her family owned a wholesale and retail business that sold dried fish, one of the main industries in her hometown of Calabanga, Camarines Sur.

Before her venture into solo business, she was a receptionist for a hotel in Dubai for seven years until her contract was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then that she applied for a TSPI loan amounting to P30,000, which she used to reopen and re-register the sari-sari store her mother-in-law owned.

With her husband by her side, and with the support of her neighbors, she was able to keep the store open. With the revenue she got, she was able to add more items to the store, expanding her operations to meet the increasing demand of her community.

Funny has an entrepreneurial mind and spirit, and knew that aside from banking on her strengths, she could also find opportunity in the strengths of her community. 

Fishing is a major industry in the province, with a diverse array of species such as bolinao, sapsap, espada, and the endemic abo. So that same year, she also partnered with her sister by selling dried fish on Facebook. Her transition to online selling made it easier for her to get more customers and cut on overhead costs. She was able to average at P200,000 sales weekly, delivering these products to the nearby provinces of Catanduanes, Albay, Quezon and Masbate; and even to farther areas like Laguna and Metro Manila.

On February 2023, Funny then applied with TSPI  for a loan under SCF amounting to P50,000 as additional capital for her dried fish business. This, she says, would help her expand her reach on social media, and establish more market linkages.

But she didn’t stop there.

At the same time, Funny opened another store, “Beksilog 49ers”, a small restaurant and catering business whose main offerings are the popular Filipino “silog” meals at affordable prices. With the significant increase in her income, she was able to purchase more equipment like a refrigerator, freezer, and top-down tricycle for more efficient food storage and deliveries.

Funny isn’t also afraid to learn new things. She believes that in order to upscale her business, she also needs to upskill, herself. Thanks to Standard Chartered’s business training sessions in partnership with TSPI, she was able to develop her business plan and direction for the next two years. 

She envisions a 300 percent increase in weekly sales for her dried fish business by exploring opportunities in the VisMin Region, and developing a concrete and recognizable brand as part of her marketing strategy for future international exports.

She also wants to see a 200 percent increase in weekly sales for her sari-sari store by utilizing existing online platforms, and maximizing digital processes for better and more efficient transactions.

Funny is young, full of creativity and ideas. But even if she may be younger than many entrepreneurs, she didn’t let that or her gender become a hindrance to her dreams. In fact, she believes that it is an asset. Her innovative spirit, tenacity, passion, and willingness to embrace change were key traits that helped her climb up the ladder and be the successful businesswoman she is today.

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