Emelda’s Convenience Store

Emelda Cariaga left her home in the Philippines almost 30 years ago to work as a foreign domestic worker in Singapore with a clear goal to financially support her family. She realised the importance of being financially stable, and she was determined to learn how to make the most of the wages she earned. When her employer introduced her to Aidha’s courses, she didn’t think twice about joining. Her employers gave her the support she needed and offered to sponsor her enrolment fees.

Being a self-motivated individual, Emelda had little trouble sticking to her savings plan when she started to learn with Aidha. With what she has earned and saved, she has now managed to build her own house, repair her parents’ home and even prepared a retirement plan for when she returns home for good.

Emelda at 2019’s graduation ceremony

After completing all three Aidha financial education modules, Emelda graduated with honours in 2020 and was already planning to start her business. Being innovative and always thinking out of the box, Emelda had several business ideas initially. From an organic food business to a restaurant, she has thought of it all! But in the end, Emelda decided to focus on setting up a convenience store. Though she was daunted by the startup costs and risks that come with opening a new business, she has learned that starting a business with proper planning is not an impossible feat! Her well-prepared business plan earned her a place as a finalist in Aidha’s Business Plan competition and she then went on to put her plans into effect.

Emelda’s Value Store

Despite the many challenges in 2020, Emelda opened her humble convenience store back home in the Philippines last year. The additional support and guidance of the Aidha Business Accelerator programme was especially helpful in charting her business’ goals clearly and setting up and implementing her business strategies.

Emelda’s convenience store in the Philippines.

Her store’s principle is convenience, and Emelda wants it to be a one-stop spot for people to get their necessities and more. Coming from a town away from the city, Emelda mentioned that people would need to travel quite a distance to buy their groceries. She explains, “I want to bring things people need closer to them, so there’s no need to travel.”

Emelda’s sister-in-law runs the storefront operations while Emelda focuses on the strategy to grow the business. At first, the store did not receive many sales due to the pandemic, but Emelda remained steadfast and optimistic. She ran attractive promotions to bring in more customers, at the same time as standing out from her competitors. She plans to grow her store by adding more items based on her customers’ needs and preferences.

“In business, we can’t expect to see great results instantly, and it’s okay.” Emelda’s planning has helped her see her entrepreneurship as a journey, with highs and lows and the need to keep your eyes on the road ahead!

What’s Next for Emelda?

When she returns home for good, her next project will be opening up a restaurant. She aims to bring home a slice of Singapore by serving local Singaporean dishes such as Nasi Lemak and Chicken Rice – unique and uncommon food back home.

“My employers said I’m a good cook and I should consider opening up my own eatery!” 

When she returns home for good, her next project will be opening up a restaurant. She aims to bring home a slice of Singapore by serving local Singaporean dishes such as Nasi Lemak and Chicken Rice – unique and uncommon food back home.

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