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How Entrepinayship is creating a promising platform for Filipina entrepreneurs in LA — and globally — Asian Journal News

How Entrepinayship is creating a promising platform for Filipina entrepreneurs in LA — and globally — Asian Journal News
AJPress illustration by Jillian Penalosa

ON a Saturday morning in January, 92 Filipina ladies congregated on the yard of a hillside residence east of downtown Los Angeles for a half-day enterprise and wellness retreat.

They unfold out their yoga mats, the place they might spend the subsequent two hours being led by way of a gap ritual by an albularya (a standard people herbalist and religious healer), a 40-minute yoga apply, a guided meditation, and a speak about making a imaginative and prescient for 2019.

“You must lead from love and rig your surroundings for fulfillment,” preached Kamille Rose Soler, a motivational speaker and ‘CEO Whisperer’ behind The Final LYFE. “With no clear imaginative and prescient, we might perish…What’s it that pulls you a lot you possibly can’t resist it?”

Every participant signed up for 3 of 9 workshops (referred to as “Kumare Circles”) centered on enterprise, private improvement and wellness. Choices included “Plant Based mostly Cooking for the Busy Queen Bee,” “Handle Your Cash Like a Boss Babe,” “Creating Intention Via Mantras and Mala Beads (by TV character Giselle Tongi),” and “Decolonizing Self Care.”

After the periods — throughout which cheers, tears, hugs, and numbers have been exchanged — a lunch was ready by Filipina-owned meals corporations like Unfold the Love, Ninong’s Pastries & Cafe, Créme Caramel and Cafe 86.

Organized by LA-based Entrepinayship, this gathering for Filipina entrepreneurs, these considering of beginning a enterprise, and people juggling a aspect hustle with a 9 to five job, was the primary time many can be surrounded by this quantity of Filipina professionals and really feel spoken to by means of shared experiences. As a number of remarked, the power was unparalleled, particularly in a women-dominated setting that would stereotypically be aggressive and catty.

Attendees introduce themselves on the Entrepinayship enterprise and wellness mini-retreat in January | Photograph by Lyka Gozon

“It was empowering to be round these ladies. You’re crying and sharing tales however you are feeling protected,” mirrored Ginger Lim-Dimapasok, proprietor of dessert store Cafe 86. “You see an proprietor you admire who’s all the time robust and doing every little thing to make her enterprise work, however then unexpectedly, she’s there so weak.”

Lim-Dimapasok was launched to Entrepinayship in July 2015, when Kristine de la Cruz of Créme Caramel invited her to an after-hours meet-up with seven different Filipina entrepreneurs within the meals business. It was co-hosted by Anna Marie Cruz, who was then the small enterprise coach at Search to Contain Pilipino People (SIPA) and had the thought of a gaggle for this particular phase of entrepreneurs within the Filipino-American group.

Constructing a motion
Quite a few studies have observed the development of girls beginning companies greater than ever in america — from 2017 to 2018, an American Categorical report discovered that there have been 1,821 new women-owned companies began on a mean day. It additionally illustrated that 12.three million companies have been owned by ladies, producing $1.eight trillion in income final yr.

When wanting on the Asian American inhabitants, 51.1 % of Filipino companies within the U.S. determine a lady proprietor. That’s 98,849 out of 193,336 Filipino companies, in line with Census Bureau knowledge between 2007 and 2012.

Regardless of the rise, limitations nonetheless hinder ladies entrepreneurs, similar to the shortage of position fashions and mentors; the gender pay hole; and unequal entry to funding. Co-working areas (The Wing), on-line communities (Ellevate Community), conferences (Create & Domesticate) and female-founded enterprise capital funds (Feminine Founders Fund) are a number of the platforms addressing these obstacles.

Whereas Entrepinayship — a portmanteau of the phrases ‘entrepreneurship’ and ‘Pinay’ — is just not a brand new time period neither is a women-only area a novel idea, no group has been directed at Filipina entrepreneurs right here within the U.S. to attach with each other and supply entry to instruments to launch and develop their companies.

Anna Marie Cruz, a well being and enterprise coach, started Entrepinayship again in 2015 as a platform to attach Filipina entrepreneurs with assets to construct their companies. | Contributed photograph

“For Filipinas, we’re those who depart the nation to pursue work outdoors of the Philippines. I can’t consider something extra entrepreneurial than that…we’ve been entrepreneurial from day one and these platforms for [women] are lengthy overdue as are these actions like The Wing and Create & Domesticate,” stated Cruz, founder and ‘Chief Elevate-Her Officer’ of Entrepinayship. “However what does it imply for ladies of shade too? Once we take a look at these actions, they’re typically the mainstream, which is high quality, however specializing in what we’d like particularly as a group permits us to focus on the assets even higher.”

Issues for this area of interest would, for instance, embrace understanding credit score when immigrant households usually don’t cross down this data and defeating the crab mentality, all of which wouldn’t be acknowledged elsewhere.

Entrepinayship because the budding motion it’s in the present day comes from almost a decade of Cruz’s work with small enterprise house owners.

After incomes her MBA in 2012, Cruz diverted from the company route and was a advertising advisor for the Worldwide Labor Group, which assigned her to a distant village in central Vietnam the place she labored with 19 feminine weavers for six months to create market linkages and merchandise to promote to incoming vacationers.

Coming again to Los Angeles, the place she grew up after migrating from the Philippines at a younger age, Cruz landed at SIPA to supervise its small enterprise packages. “I used to be supporting micro-entrepreneurship within the LA group. Despite the fact that it appeared quite a bit totally different from that group in Vietnam, it was nonetheless about offering the assets and the instruments to assist them launch and create a sustainable enterprise,” she stated. “A part of the rationale why I selected to work with the Filipino group was as a result of I’d been working alone id.”

51.1 % of Filipino companies within the U.S. are based by ladies — that’s 98,849 out of 193,336 Filipino companies.

Although native Fil-Am companies have existed, Cruz stated house owners weren’t receptive when she requested them to talk to the entrepreneurs present process SIPA’s coaching. It was one Sunday when she noticed a stand referred to as Créme Caramel at a farmers market that bought leche flan and ube desserts. She reached out to proprietor Kristine de la Cruz, who was enthusiastic concerning the concept of sharing her enterprise story and mentoring others. “That was one of many indications that there was extra help if I’m discovering the best individuals,” Cruz stated.

De la Cruz mirrored that whereas there are chambers of commerce for Filipino People, there was nothing “inclusive of people that had the beliefs that we Filipino People had rising up versus what our mother and father grew up with.” Second-generation Fil-Ams are extra open to collaboration and inspiring different companies to thrive by shopping for from them, she stated based mostly on her observations.

The 2 deliberate the 2015 intimate meet-up to get a pulse of the wants and considerations of some ladies founders within the meals enterprise. Although the gathering was “magical,” Cruz stated there was a interval of “self-doubt” — the place it’s widespread for entrepreneurs to stay caught in between concept and execution — that stored Entrepinayship dormant.

“It took some time through the years to solidify the thought as a result of I knew the ‘why’ and ‘what’ from the very starting…The ‘how’ was nonetheless type of shaping up as a result of whereas that meet-up was efficient, I checked out operational challenges,” she defined. “That was my foremost focus: How do I make this actually sustainable? Are there sufficient individuals locally who would need this and who would proceed to offer it momentum?”

“FoundHer,” a podcast hosted by Entrepinayship’s Anna Marie Cruz, is predicated on interviews she carried out in 2016 with Filipina enterprise house owners.

To experiment with different mediums, Cruz uploaded a collection of video interviews with Filipina entrepreneurs in 2016, however then thought it was too slender so she referred to as it “FoundHer” and expanded to any feminine entrepreneur, no matter race and background. “There was one aspect of me that doubted if it was going to be a hit if it was simply targeted on Filipinas,” she recalled. “There was one other a part of me that stated that I can’t do it until it’s simply Filipinas. It didn’t really feel 100 % aligned with my ardour.”

After SIPA, Cruz went on to her present position as a enterprise improvement officer for CDC Small Enterprise Finance, which presents low-interest financing for small companies.

Reignited function

Cruz was a panelist at a Filipina entrepreneurship occasion in Lengthy Seashore final summer time, which “was validation that I wanted to talk on to Filipinas,” she stated. So she turned extra vocal about Entrepinayship once more and began sharing tales on Instagram about Entrepinays and ‘Intrapinays,’ Filipinas who’re taking the lead at different organizations and are entrepreneurial by nature.

Social media has led Entrepinayship to find Filipina-owned ventures in faraway areas, from London-based Lunes store, which creates Filipino-themed greeting playing cards, to Theo & Brom in Belgium, a chocolate firm by Filipina Myey Moyens that makes the world’s first Belgian tableya.

“It doesn’t matter when you’re in LA. Even when we’re born in LA, we’re being raised by so many cities and communities all over the world,” Cruz stated. “I’m discovering ladies all over the place, actually in all elements of the world. The unimaginable quantity of expertise we’ve in each business…I can’t consider one business the place we don’t shine, whether or not it’s tech, magnificence, the humanities. It’s overwhelming. Typically I need to cry and ask, ‘Why hasn’t this been accomplished earlier than?’”

Within the Bay Space, LEAD Filipino’s 2017 Fly Pinays summit borrowed the ‘Entrepinayship’ time period from Cruz for a panel of Filipina entrepreneurs. Gina Rosales, an occasion planner in San Francisco who co-produces the UNDISCOVERED SF within the SOMA Pilipinas district, was on the panel and was impressed to start out the equally named ‘Entrepinays’ group. It held a summit final yr with 130 attendees and plans to take action yearly.

“The main target of Entrepinays is to help and encourage Pinay enterprise house owners, sure, however the actual coronary heart of our summit is to advertise the thought of Pinayism,” Rosales stated, referencing the work of professor and group chief Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales. “It’s rooted within the idea of sisterhood, and the way as Pinays we’re truly taught to worry/hate one another and compete towards one another, however actually what we’d like is to hitch collectively and help one another.”

Although two separate teams, the emergence of Pinay entrepreneurs throughout California is promising.

Quick ahead to this previous fall, Cruz bumped into Philippine Vice Consul Dyan Pastrana at a Ladies’s Entrepreneurship Day occasion hosted by the LA Mayor’s Workplace, with the latter encouraging Cruz to re-launch Entrepinayship. It took about three weeks for them to plan a day-long Ladies’s Entrepreneurship Discussion board beneath the Philippine Consulate Basic on December 11, 2018, which featured audio system from enterprise establishments and two panels on ladies changemakers and how you can begin a enterprise.

Pastrana stated that initiatives on ladies’s empowerment, management and entrepreneurship like Entrepinayship align together with her work because the gender and improvement lead on the Philippine Consulate in LA. “Ladies’s empowerment and gender equality [are what] we really attempt for, as we nonetheless see a variety of points affecting ladies and youngsters in our diplomacy work,” stated Pastrana, who handles instances of Filipina ladies trafficked and abused within the Consulate territory. “By way of Entrepinayship, we will construct on packages on monetary literacy, reintegration and ladies’s entrepreneurship for our group of girls right here and we hope that is replicated in different areas as nicely.”

Invigorated by the momentum from the December convention, Entrepinayship went into 2019 with the chance to set the tone and place itself the place a gap had existed for therefore lengthy.

It was clearer now that Entrepinayship, as meant, would think about: inspiration, connection, and assets.

“For me, wellness in our group isn’t just taking the day without work and pampering your self. It’s altering the mindset about the way you’re going to repeatedly deal with your self earlier than you could be there for your small business, your group, and your loved ones,” stated Cruz.

The group’s founder, who can also be a well being and enterprise coach for high-performing ladies, envisioned the January retreat to be a small barbecue at a park, however scrapped that to deliberately have programming and an expertise that would offer worth for individuals. Along with the enterprise and private improvement aspect, it was important to incorporate a wellness element and learn how to incorporate mechanisms that might match into the life-style of the Entrepinay.

Along with the enterprise aspect, Entrepinayship focuses on wellness and self-care from the Pinay perspective. | Photograph by Lyka Gozon

“I’m positive there are different cultures like this however the concept of martyrdom is so massive in our group that we run ourselves ragged to our personal detriment simply to serve others. It’s embedded in us,” Cruz stated. “For me, wellness in our group isn’t just taking the day without work and pampering your self. It’s altering the mindset about the way you’re going to repeatedly care for your self earlier than you could be there for your corporation, your group, and your loved ones.”

Choosing audio system and facilitators for the retreat got here simply as a result of Cruz tapped into her rising community of Entrepinays and noticed who can be a great match for every matter.

“Discovering individuals who aligned with the imaginative and prescient, the why and the aim is so essential. That’s actually what’s allowed this to have a lifetime of its personal. It’s not me and the thought,” Cruz stated. “It’s individuals understanding that that is for one thing greater…Identical to any entrepreneur says, it’s a must to determine a niche and it’s a must to work out what that want is and what you’re going to create to serve that want.”

The retreat was publicized on social media and bought out a number of days earlier than. Members who drove to the ‘secret’ location in LA got here from all through Southern California, just like the Inland Empire and Orange County, or flew in from the Bay Space.

“For a very long time, I felt that there wasn’t a gaggle of girls that understood precisely the challenges that I went via,” shared advertising advisor and serial entrepreneur Roslynn Alba Cobarrubias.

The posts have been meant to spotlight that this occasion wouldn’t put audio system on pedestals, tout their accolades and accomplishments, and breed that insecurity.

“On the finish of the day, why would you go to an occasion solely to listen to about how nice somebody is? You’ve acquired to really feel it’s for you. You’ve received to know you’re getting your cash’s value and that funding is a self-investment. That was the message about all the things I put on the market. That is for you, a big day for you, and solely you,” Cruz stated.

92 Filipinas gathered on the Entrepinayship retreat in late January. One other retreat is scheduled for this summer time. | Photograph by Roslynn Alba Cobarrubias

Advertising advisor Roslynn Alba Cobarrubias, who co-founded and bought international expertise discovery platform mydiveo for $7.four million, stated a platform like Entrepinayship has made her really feel much less alone and is a protected area to ask questions — which she nonetheless has numerous regardless of being a serial entrepreneur — with out being judged.

“For a very long time, I felt that there wasn’t a gaggle of girls that understood precisely the challenges that I went by means of. A whole lot of the occasions in different rooms, [I would be] afraid of being judged so we’ve to fake to know every thing in worry of not being taken critically,” Cobarrubias stated, including “I didn’t have this help all through my profession nor in recent times so it was nice to be surrounded by Pinays who’re welcoming, delicate and useful [because] we care in a special type of approach.”

Whereas a majority of retreat individuals have established manufacturers and providers, there have been many who’ve aspect hustles or management positions inside their workplaces. Entrepinayship, regardless of the entrepreneurial slant, has a spot for them too and isn’t to “disgrace” those that are nonetheless testing the waters as a result of “we nonetheless have day-to-day bills,” Cruz stated.

Skilled improvement periods and memberships can are typically costly, however Entrepinayship seeks to be accessible it doesn’t matter what stage a Pinay is in her profession or work trip. (The January retreat was priced at $45 per individual, whereas comparable mainstream occasions can bear a price ticket within the a whole lot, as an example.)

“Entry and transparency are essential for me and Entrepinayship. Transparency, particularly relating to enterprise ethics, is a subject that as a group we will begin speaking about. One other factor is equity. I by no means need to put somebody within the highlight on the expense of any person else,” Cruz stated. “In the event you go to an Entrepinayship retreat, you already know you go there as an equal. Even when somebody has extra experience in a specific space, you’ll really feel that you’re as invaluable as the subsequent individual…The thought of democratizing entry and in addition the assets and the best way we see ourselves is large.”

Sustaining the spark

“If there’s one factor about expertise, the worth isn’t from what retains in your personal head. The worth is the way it helps different individuals keep away from those self same errors,” stated Kristine de la Cruz, proprietor of Créme Caramel and Entrepinayship advisor. 

The suggestions after the retreat has been constructive, like packages concentrating on particular considerations or permitting extra time to speak with different Entrepinays.

Kristine de la Cruz of Créme Caramel, TV character Giselle Tongi and actual property entrepreneur Mia McLeod Mercado take heed to a speaker on the Entrepinayship retreat in January. | Photograph by Lyka Gozon

De la Cruz, who co-hosted the retreat and is an advisor to Entrepinayship, stated that skilled networking environments may be daunting however she hopes that future occasions are welcoming to those that will not be as extroverted or could also be shy to pose inquiries to the extra seasoned entrepreneurs.

“I like sharing and serving to somebody study from the errors I made. If there’s one factor about expertise, the worth isn’t from what retains in your personal head. The worth is the way it helps different individuals keep away from those self same errors,” she stated.

That’s why the group may have Kumare Circles all year long, which may vary from wine nights or skill-based workshops for a smaller set of girls.

Sara Meredith, founding father of coconut oil-based skincare line Kaya Necessities, hosted a circle in February that had a yoga follow and dialog between ladies who characterize a variety of fields from regulation to trend. “Our Galentine’s Kumare Circle introduced 24 ladies collectively. We had a mild coronary heart opener sequence adopted by a vanity workshop,” Meredith stated. “We received to listen to from each one among us and targeted on the constructive and what superpower we introduced into our private and professional lives.”

Sara Meredith of Kaya Necessities in February organized a “kumare circle,” an intimate meet up with lower than 30 ladies. | Photograph by Challenge Mirror Sales space LA

These circles are supposed to be organized by members themselves and to be an trade of concepts and help group on a face-to-face degree. They’re not meant to be transactional and peddling merchandise to a gaggle of girls, however quite making a relationship and help system organically.

One current collaboration was when Lim-Dimapasok met Carissa Ortega of Ninong’s Pastries & Cafe on the retreat. It led to promoting the latter’s ube cookie butter jars in any respect Cafe 86 places for at some point in February. “[Ortega] and I found how a lot we had in widespread…and it solely made sense to assist my new sister out by broadening her attain out to the Inland Empire and Las Vegas the place my shops are located,” Lim-Dimapasok stated.

Past the attendance on the stay occasions and the variety of shares on-line, examples of deeper connections like this measure the influence and facilitation of Entrepinayship.

Within the first quarter of 2019, Entrepinayship has been lively with its programming and visibility. The FoundHer interviews from 2016 have been repurposed and relaunched as a bi-monthly podcast out there on Spotify, iTunes, and the group’s web site. The group held a panel with 5 Entrepinays on the Southern California Pilipino American Scholar Alliance (SCPASA) summit this previous February and had a workshop with Cobarrubias targeted on “advertising Filipinos to a worldwide stage.”

“It’s our time. We gained Miss Universe, a Golden Globe as a Filipino character, [and] a Grammy after being raised in a karaoke family singing Sharon Cuneta. The celebs are aligning for us to succeed in the worldwide stage. We will’t cover behind the scenes anymore,” Cobarrubias stated. “We have to work collectively to push our Filipino motion additional in music, movie, TV, arts, science, and extra. We have to personal our historical past, our work and be pleased with it. Most significantly, we have to cease bringing each other down with the crab…mentality however as an alternative stand proudly subsequent to one another and providing steerage, help and alternatives within the actual approach Entrepinayship is.”

This March, the primary on-line Entrepinayship Academy program led by Elisa Estrera of Gratefruit Consulting was unveiled. The four-week on-line course each Tuesday night time is focused for Entrepinays who need to experiment with their enterprise concepts.

“By way of Hatch, we hope to debunk the misconceptions of how scary and troublesome it’s to check a services or products in the actual world, and particularly that it doesn’t should be good. This system is simply a month lengthy to point out that progress could be made in that little time,” Estrera, a enterprise marketing consultant with a background in tech product administration, stated.

Individuals may have that accountability and peer help to remain on monitor. “After 4 weeks, they may have executed a proof of idea, stroll away with a strong marketing strategy, monetary plan, [and] motion plan for the subsequent three months to maintain momentum, and an understanding of when to maintain enhancing or when to pivot. Most significantly, they’ll discover ways to introduce extra play and experimentation in bringing their concepts to life,” she added.

“At its core, ladies’s entrepreneurship is ladies’s empowerment…” stated Cruz. “It’s a motion that anybody can gravitate to as a result of it’s our personal independence and supporting one another to succeed in their very own independence.”

As its function is to construct a sustainable and thriving enterprise community for Pinays, Entrepinayship is a enterprise in itself and places Cruz within the place of contemplating how it may be a viable, legacy group for the group. Partnerships with firms and organizations are being eyed.

Different choices and providers can be rolled out inside the yr, in addition to a second retreat at a shock location, Cruz teased.

“At its core, ladies’s entrepreneurship is ladies’s empowerment. For me personally, I’ve all the time been fascinated about ladies’s empowerment however that had modified for me over time…In some methods, it targeted on victimization, whereas ladies’s entrepreneurship is that this revolution of girls’s empowerment as a result of it truly is about independence. I get so enthusiastic about it as a result of it’s just like the parable about educating somebody to fish versus giving them the fish,” Cruz stated. “Entrepinayship takes on that precept that we’re not right here to unravel each drawback and we’re not right here to offer you a blanket to maintain you heat for one night time, however we would like you to have the ability to construct the house that you simply want so that you’ve shelter eternally. It’s a motion that anybody can gravitate to as a result of it’s our personal independence and supporting one another to succeed in their very own independence. Perhaps that’s why individuals are taken with it.”

Anna Marie Cruz, Cafe 86, Créme Caramel, Entrepinay, Entrepinayship, entrepreneurship, Ginger Lim-Dimapasok, Kaya Necessities, Kristine de la Cruz, Roslynn Alba Cobarrubias, Small enterprise

Christina M. Oriel

Christina M. Oriel

Christina M. Oriel is the Managing Editor of the Asian Journal Weekly Newspapers.

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