Launched at the end of 2014, the Aidha Alumni Development Programme (ADP) is designed to provide continued support to Aidha graduates. We catch up with two of our ADP alumni to find out how their business plans are progressing.
Written by: Kate Sheperd
Signing up for her first course with Aidha after seeing an advertisement in INFORM magazine proved to be a fruitful exercise for Lilibeth Saquiton.
Realising that more and more people are striving to lead healthier lives, Lilibeth’s dream is to open her own fruit juice and smoothie shop. Her dream is about to become a reality as she is set to return to Philippines in early 2017 to open her shop FRUIT SENSATION.
“Setting up a business is both an exciting and challenging task. Turning an idea into a product or service customers actually want to buy requires business skills and bringing together the right team and partners.”
Being part of the ADP programme has helped Lilibeth get to where she is today. She attended several business clinic workshops and, in 2015, was one of the seven alumni chosen to present a business plan to potential mentors and donors at the 1st Big Pitch.
Proud owner of a small restaurant and a grocery store
And not forgetting the ongoing support of her mentor who, in addition to providing advice and motivation, joined Lilibeth for a drink at some of Singapore’s own juice bars to observe how business is done of course!
Lilibeth’s goats for her future goat farm
With Aidha’s support, Lilibeth now has the confidence and communication skills required to pursue her goals. And to prove it, Lilibeth and her husband became the proud owners of a small restaurant and grocery store last year. Later this year, she will open a goat farm with her brother. With FRUIT SENSATION set to burst onto the scene in 2017, her future is looking very peachy indeed!
When Merry Engana’s employer suggested she attend one of Aidha’s courses on her day off, Merry jumped at the opportunity.
Passionate about nail art, and seeing a wide potential audience for her services, she decided to focus on formulating a business plan. It was a plan that won her 2nd place in the Best Business Plan Awards in 2014 and since then Merry hasn’t looked back.
Merry’s mentor, Christine Amour-Levar congratulating Merry on her win
Joining the ADP programme, she was given the opportunity to present her plan to potential investors at the 1st Big Pitch and was delighted to find some donors. She continued to work with some wonderful mentors who, she says, have “by sharing their knowledge and giving me the opportunity to learn skills that I would not have had the opportunity to learn back home, made me what I am now.”
Merry setting up her space for a nail workshop on campus for Aidha students
As for the future, Merry is focusing on saving money to return home to get her business off the ground. In the meantime, she plans to keep on learning and planning. With Aidha’s support she now has the confidence to believe in her own ability and a shiny future.
“To all the women who are thinking or dreaming of starting their own business, just do it! Make it happen! Have confidence to be what you want to be. Focus on it and have determination. We have to teach ourselves because no one is going to do it for us.”