Business

Talks about Mommy Ginger’s business tips and advice for momtrepreneurs. She shares valuable knowledge on topics like branding, marketing and consumer insight.

In a business environment, having competition is healthy. I am all for it, not only as a consumer, but as a seller, too! I just think that having competition keeps you motivated to innovate and strive for the best. Competition is vital in any thriving economy because it promotes the entrepreneurial spirit, encourages private investments, facilitates technology development, and enhances productivity. It also hampers you from taking advantage of the market. There is this great temptation to do so if you are the only one giving that type of product or service.

Meeting with Sen. Bam Aquino

I met Sen. Bam Aquino recently and this is one of the bills that I was impressed to hear about.

 

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After three decades of waiting and 30 hours of bicameral conference hearing, Congress has finally ratified the Philippine Competition Act that penalizes bad market behavior and abuse of dominant positions. The Philippine Competition Act seeks to ensure that there will be fair competition among the market players in the economy. The law prohibits anti-competitive agreements, cartels, abuses of dominant positions, and mergers & acquisitions that prevent, limit, and restrict competition. This act seeks to achieve an efficient market economy and a level playing field for market players regardless of size and location.

“If enacted into law, the measure will create a level playing field, whether big or small, when it comes to market opportunities,” said Sen. Bam Aquino, chairman of the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship. For almost thirty years, the Philippines has remained one of few countries that does not have a valid competition policy that will protect its consumers and private industries. What goes with liberalization of our industry is a law to ensure that our market is efficiently working. This landmark measure pushes for an economy that is governed by clear rules of engagement between market players and their quest for their share in the market. This is a commitment of the Philippines in various trade organizations and this measures is seen to be the catalyst for a healthier trade, industry, and business as we compete in the bigger global market.

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“It has been one of the longest running bills in our history,” Sen. Bam said, as the first competition policy was filed in the 8th Congress. After World War II, Japan passed its Original Antimonopoly Law in 1947 while the United Kingdom passed its Monopolies and Restrictive Practices Act in 1948.Other ASEAN countries have also passed their respective competition laws, starting with Indonesia and Thailand in 1999, Singapore in 2004, Vietnam in 2005, and Malaysia in 2012.

“This is primary a huge victory for millions of consumers, who, in the end, will be the ultimate beneficiaries of this measure,” added Sen. Bam, whose Senate Bill No. 1027 or the Philippine Competition Act was among the measures consolidated under Senate Bill No. 2282.
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President Aquino is expected to sign the measure into law as it is one of his administration’s urgent measures.

Sen. Bam said the Philippine Competition Act is expected to eliminate cartels, and penalize anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant players in the markets that lead to high prices of goods and services. “In addition, the Philippine Competition Act promotes a culture of healthy competition that inspires ingenuity, creativity, and innovation in addressing market needs,” Sen. Bam said.

“We need more players in our markets, so that the quality of products and services increases, and prices of goods would then go down,” Sen. Bam added. The measure will also prohibit anti-competitive agreements and abuses of dominant position that distort, manipulate, or constrict the operations of markets in the Philippines.

“We thank the hard work of our fellow senators and our congress counterparts in coming up with a solid bill that will further help our economy down the road,” Sen. Bam emphasized.

Sen. Bam also credited the late Rep. Henry Cojuangco for actively pursuing the bill’s House version. Cojuangco died from aneurysm, hours before the bill hurdled the second reading at the House of Representatives last May 12.

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“Panalo ang taumbayan dahil sa pagpasa ng panukalang ito,” the senator highlighted.

“We would like to tell the world that with the Philippine Competition Act, our country is now open for business,” Sen. Bam happily declared.

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Some other Frequently Asked Questions:

Does this law disallow and dismantle monopolies?
No, this law does not prohibit the existence of monopolies. If a business is big because it employed an efficient, innovative, excellent customer service/goods, and competitive business practice, then they can keep their dominance. This law only looks at the behavior of market players that unduly prevent, restrict and lessen competition.

By allowing State intervention as to the conducting of business, will this law hinder the free trade?
No. In fact, the law protects free and fair trade by deterring unscrupulous entities that seek to unfairly dominate and manipulate the market. This measure, in fact, creates an environment where market players are protected with clear rules so they can compete in the market regardless of their size, location and duration of stay in the market. In effect, the measure protects new entrants and businesses, which are playing a fair game in the market.

Which entities does the said law cover?
This law is enforceable against any person or entity engaged in trade or business in the Philippines. It also applies to international trade that have direct and substantial effects in the Philippines.

Are there any exceptions to such coverage?
No industry is exempted from the application of this measure.

Who will implement the provisions of this law? Or will this be another unimplemented piece of legislation?
A quasi-judicial body will be created to fully implement this measure. The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) is established to look into anticompetitive behaviors, abuses in dominant positions, and anticompetitive mergers and acquisitions.

Who will compose the Philippine Competition Commission?
The PCC shall be composed of a Chairperson and 4 Commissioners, as well as an Executive Director and other personnel to be determined by the Commission.

What are the powers of the Philippine Competition Commission?
The PCC shall have the power to implement the provisions of this law, such as conducting investigations on any violations of the law, reviewing mergers and acquisitions, applying preventive and punitive measures against violators of the law after due notice and hearing, inspecting business premises upon order of the court, issuing subpoenas and citing persons in contempt, issuing adjustment or divestiture orders, and conducting, publishing, and disseminating studies and reports on matters relating to fair competition, among many others.

Who will prosecute criminal offenses under this law?
The DOJ-OFC (Department of Justice– Office for Competition) is responsible as to the conduct of preliminary investigations and prosecution of all criminal offenses under this law. The PCC and the DOJ-OFC will work closely together to ensure that no anti-competitive act is unpunished. What acts are prohibited under this law? There are 3 things that are prohibited under this Act: Anti-competitive Agreements, Abuses in Dominant Position and Anticompetitive Mergers and Acquisitions.

When is an agreement deemed to be anti-competitive?
For agreements between and among competitors that restrict competition as to price manipulation and bid rigging are per se prohibited and are considered criminal under this Act. Other agreements that prevent, restrict, and lessen competition are assessed based on its object or effect in the market before it can be considered as anti-competitive.

When is there an abuse of dominant position?
For entities who are dominant in a relevant market, such behaviors that prevent, restrict and lessen competition are considered anti-competitive: selling goods and services below cost, imposing barriers to entry, making the sale of goods dependent on other goods or services which are totally unrelated, making prices discriminatory to the distributor and the consumers, directly or indirectly imposing conditions to a sale, and limiting production to increase prices in the market.

Are we punishing big businesses?
No. Having a dominant position in a relevant market through legitimate means that do not substantially prevent or lessen competition is not prohibited. Any conduct that contributes to the improvement of production and technical development and is beneficial to consumers may not necessarily be an abuse of dominant position.

Are all mergers and acquisitions considered anti-competitive?
No. Mergers and acquisitions that do not prevent, restrict or lessen competition are still allowed in the current measure. However, mergers and acquisitions that hit the notification threshold will be asked to notify the Commission before their transaction is consummated. This is to ensure that the impact of such merger or acquisition is not detrimental to the market.

What are the examples of allowed mergers and acquisitions?
Mergers and acquisition that has brought about or is likely to bring about efficiency is allowed. Also, parties to a merger or acquisition faced with actual or imminent financial failure are also allowed. In addition, an entity is allowed to continue owning and holding stock or other share capital or assets of another corporation which it acquired prior to the approval of the law.

What are the fines and penalties to be imposed on violators of the law?
For anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position, an administrative penalty, determined after due notice and hearing, reaches up to a hundred million pesos for the first offense, while a fine of not less than a hundred million pesos but not more than two hundred fifty million pesos is imposed for the second offense.

For anti-competitive agreements done between and among competitors, violators will face imprisonment from two (2) to seven (7) years, and a fine of not less than fifty million pesos but not more than two hundred fifty million pesos. The penalty of imprisonment shall be imposed upon responsible officers and directors of the entity.

But will important trade secrets of businesses be protected under this law?
Yes. Confidential business information in relation to any inquiry or investigation conducted pursuant to this law shall not be directly or indirectly disclosed, published, or disseminated. However, this confidentiality rule shall not apply when the entity consents to the disclosure or the business information is mandatorily required to be disclosed by law or by a valid order of a court or government agency.

What are the mechanisms in place to ensure the efficient implementation of this measure?
As we learned from the experiences of other nations, cartels and other anti-competitive behaviors are really hard to prosecute. They work in the most innocuous ways that normally go undetected by the naked eye.

As a global best practice, the law calls for the development of a Leniency Program to be granted to any entity in the form of immunity from suit or reduction of any fine in exchange for the voluntary disclosure of information, which would help in the prosecution of cases under this law. This has been proven to work in other jurisdiction like in UK and US.

When should the cases be filed under this law?
Any action arising from a violation of this law should be commenced within five (5) years from the discovery of the violation, as to criminal actions, and from the time the cause of action accrues, as to administrative and civil actions. Is there still time for entities to renegotiate agreements and restructure their businesses so as not to violate the law? Administrative, civil, and criminal penalties shall be imposed on violators of the law only upon the expiration of two (2) years after the effectivity of the law. This rule, however, will not apply as to administrative, civil, or criminal proceedings initiated before the entry into force of this law.

I love the Philippine Competition Act. Let’s help Sen. Bam Aquino spread the word about this! Please use #PHCompetitionAct 🙂

People ask me if this section where I interview entrepreneurs and SMEs are solely for moms. Of course not, guys! 🙂 Today, I’m featuring a young lass who’s single and 28 years old. Last week, I featured Ava Diaz Daza, also very young and still single. So, to answer your question, I am very much open to featuring entrepreneurs of all ages, marital status and gender! And today, I am very excited because my young entrepreneur’s business is all about making cookies, and I love love love cookies!

Entrepreneur Ivorie of Cookie Bar

Entrepreneur Ivorie of Cookie Bar

Ivorie Acosta of Cookie Bar is a 28 year old cookie lover. She loves eating, cooking and food styling! She is single but she has been together with her supportive boyfriend for 6 years already. “He’s the one who helped me with the business and he handles the finance side of Cookie Bar,” says Ivorie. This lady is a pretty laid back person. She likes staying home on weekends and she likes trying out new restaurants. She also has this love affair with New York City. Sge goes there every other year since 2009 and she says that it’s a small cookie shop named “Levain Bakery” that inspired her to do my business here in Manila.

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The Interview with Ivorie Acosta of Cookie Bar

Ginger: Good day! I’m with Ivorie Acosta, the owner of Cookie Bar. Ivorie, can you please tell me more about your business? What is it about? How long have you been in business?

Ivorie: Cookie Bar is a home based cookie shop since 2009. We specialize on making cookies in different shapes, sizes and textures. We take pride in creating a product list that is only centered on cookies. I started Cookie Bar as a sideline business while I was still a teaching preschool during the day. My main clientele were friends, family and co-teachers. As Cookie Bar gained popularity through word of mouth and social media, the business expanded and now Cookie Bar has it’s own kitchen/commissary where people can pick up cookies or choose from the variety of cookies available daily.

Ginger: Who is your market and why did you choose this market?
Ivorie: My market are young teens and young adults who love sweets! Some of our cookies are pretty rich and filled with different chocolates that’s why some older clients might not enjoy it. We try to make sure that cookie lovers of all ages get to enjoy our cookies so we make different kinds to tap that specific market. We have cookies for Vegans, for Diabetics, for people who like oatmeal, for people who like crunchy cookies or soft batch. Cookies are so simple and quick to make but each tweak in every recipe can make a huge difference is taste and texture.

Ginger: How do you market your products?
Ivorie: The internet is the best way to market your products. Everyone has smart phones and laptops so you have to be present in all the social media platforms. Constant posting of photos and reaching out to your customers is one way to get your products out there!

Cookie Bar

Ginger: How did you come up with this idea? And what made you decide to start this kind of business?
Ivorie: I went on a trip to New York City in 2009 to visit my Mom where she was based. I was really amazed with all the restaurants and bakeries in Manhattan. It’s all filled with wonderful pastries and people just come in and out of these small shops holding some sort pastry. I also noticed how cookies were such a big thing there like cupcakes. One certain bake shop caught my attention because they were known for their COOKIES! Levain Bakery is on the upper west side of Manhattan. It’s a small shop, with no dine-in area, just take out counter for cookies, breads and coffee. I really wanted to replicate their big crusty on the outside and soft on the inside cookies back home. I went back home to Manila, with so much inspiration and an idea of making cookies the next big thing.

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Ginger: Were there any obstacles that you faced when you decided to pursue becoming an Entrepreneur? What are these?
Ivorie: One of the obstacles I faced was deciding to quit my job as a preschool teacher and do Cookie Bar full time. I knew the business won’t be able to grow as quickly as I wanted it if my mind and body wasn’t 100% in it. I had to weigh the pros and cons of staying and leaving my job and eventually I had to decide on choosing to do Cookie Bar full time. It was nerve wracking not knowing If the business will really take off but now that I look back, it made me realize that it was one of the best decisions I made in my life.

Another obstacle I encountered is not knowing how to start registering the business. It was numerous trips to the city hall, BIR and other government offices. There are forms and requirements to be submitted. I did not hire anyone to do the leg work for me. I decided that I had to do it myself to get things done quickly and at the same time, I can learn it for future business endeavors. It really was a learning experience for me.

Ginger: What are three traits that you think an Entrepreneur should have when starting their own business?
Ivorie: Passion – Without this, the business will have no heart. It will have no personality. I think customers can tell if a business is run by remote control rather than a hands on owner who has so much love to his/her products. Patience – It won’t be successful overnight. Your product won’t sell instantly. You also cannot just wait for it to sell. You have to get up and work. Drive – Ask yourself what drives you to do this every single day. Is it for your future, to help others (like your employees), is it to help your family? Every person has a different reason why he or she will start a business but if you focus on a certain goal and why you are doing this, you won’t get confused and get disappointed with problems that come your way.

Ginger: Unforgettable moments or lessons that you learned as an Entrepreneur?
Ivorie: Listen to your customers. They are the ones who can tell you if a product is good or not. If something you like isn’t really selling then there must be something wrong with it. It hard to get criticized but just realize that it’s not a blow on you as a person, it’s the product. I was creating a recipe for a certain event last year, I was so excited to launch it because it took me so many test batches to get it right according to my taste preference. In the end, my clients didn’t order this type of cookie. It wasn’t too appealing to them and I had to scratch if off the menu.

Ginger: What advice can you give to other Entrepreneurs?
Ivorie: Never stop learning. In 2011, I took a cake and bread baking class in The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City just to give myself more knowledge about the basics of baking. I never really had formal baking training so this was really important for me to learn. Always push yourself to become better and always know that there is room for improvement. If you’re not good with numbers or accounting, there’s a class for that too! That’s my next goal. 😀

Ginger: Do you believe that everyone should become entrepreneurs?
Ivorie: No, not everyone is cutout to do business. It’s something you have to be mentally prepared for. Your business becomes your life. You cannot just run away from problems that come your way or even give someone a task only you can handle. If you are the type of person who can accept failure and its inevitability in life, then you can be an entrepeneur.

Ginger: Thank you so much, Ivorie for such inspiring words from such a young entrepreneur. I hope you can share this inspiring article with other aspiring, young entrepreneurs!

PS. For those who want to order cookies from Cookie Bar, here are their contact information:
www.ILOVECOOKIES.NET
Email address: cookiebarmanila@gmail.com
Mobile Number: 09175551228 or 09065696019
Facebook Page: www.fb.com/CookieBarManila
Twitter account – @cookiebarmanila / @ivorie_a
Instagram acount – @cookiebarmanila / @ivorie_a

PPS. For those who want to start their own business and start early, feel free to join my Love the Leap sessions this July! Sign up here: LOVE THE LEAP ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROGRAM

 

My oh my! I am like a kid who just came out from a toy store. That is how I feel now that I have my newly redesigned site. And with this newly renovated site comes super powers… haha! (I wish!) But seriously, with the new website came a new zest for this business once again. I now know where we are headed. I now know where I was going with this (haha… sometimes, I confused myself!). Anyway, first off, I will take you through the features and interface of the site. It’s pretty simple yet, I still want to bask in it’s greatness, so I just want to briefly take you with me on this tour.

This is our beautiful landing page. We have stated our belief and mission in just two words — Love Learning! This is what we want you also to believe in. Each one of us need to realize, even if we are experts in our field or even if we feel we are too old already, we need to never stop learning! We are encouraging everyone to use #LoveLearning whenever you discover something new or whenever you see something that you would like to learn more about.

Our Landing page!

Our Landing page!

When you click on learn more, it will take you to this really amazing “filterable” page that Pat of Fancy Girl Design Studio created. You are the bomb, Pat!

Manila Workshops Filterable page

 

See how you smoothly can go from one category to another. There are two other ways you can check out our workshops. You can also browse over WORKSHOPS in the menu above and click on upcoming workshops, or you can go back to the landing page and click on your desired category. We have finally decided on these categories for easy reference:

Manila Workshops Categories

Arts and Crafts
Fashion and Design
Entrepreneurship
Work at Home & Freelancing
Family and Parenting
Finance & Investments
Career & Work
Personal Development
Health and Fitness

We hope that it makes everything easier for you to navigate through these categories. Also, please don’t forget to leave your eamil address so that you will receive our newsletter about our upcoming events.

And last but not the least, here is something which we know, some of you have been waiting for. We are launching our eCommerce platform. Manila Workshops will not only be about offline learning events, but we will be open to having individuals share knowledge and acquire knowledge from others through this platform. So what can you sell or buy from our store? Basically, anything and everything that has to do with learning!

Some things that you may sell through our portal (Suggestions!)

  • Workshops and event tickets that are related to learning
  • Programs and Trainings
  • Learning modules, PDFs, Books or eBooks
  • Videos, Podcasts or any form of recording
  • One-on-one mentoring sessions or group mentoring sessions
  • Other item related to learning

 

Shop

Now, you guessed it right! We have opened the platform for others who want to use it. If you are a speaker, book author, or an expert who would like to share your knowledge about a certain skill or topic, just feel free to coordinate with any or the beautiful people in my team and we will be happy to assist you.

Manila Workshops is now a learning hub which we will all share! That’s how much we #LoveLearning 🙂

I made this article in a new place (definition of new place: one that I haven’t been to before), a beach resort in Batangas called Sabangan Beach Resort. I wanted to go some place with the family just so that we could have a nice vacation together. I often tell people in my talks that the reason why I became an entrepreneur is because I wanted to spend more time with my daughter. But the truth is, this balancing act between family and work is so tiring. And now, I’m also thinking about expanding. Thinking about growing your business can be tiring, too. Being in this quiet and cozy place made me think about a lot of things. I’m feeling a bit sentimental and emotional right now.

I read an article which Martine shared recently from Cup of Jo about Slow Parenting. The tip that struck me the most was to watch our child. I may have always be there with Zeeka, but have I really ‘watched’ her. Was I really present during those times or was my mind wandering off to mind maps and business decisions I had to make? Tonight, Zeeka was jumping on the bed and it was 11 pm. She didn’t want to sleep. You know what made her sleep finally? She grabbed my fingers and played with them, then later on, she fell asleep holding my hand. That moment was something that both pained me and made me happy. It pained me because I realized that I miss out embracing small things like these. I know that I was always physically there but I wasn’t fully THERE. It made me happy because I know that I can still do something about it.

I went to this place to think also on strategies on how to grow my business. All the noise in Manila can be distracting and sometimes you need to get away and be with just your thoughts. At first, I was at a lost on what to do with my several businesses. To tell you frankly, not all of them are doing superbly as of the moment. This is something that you must understand. Not everything that you planned out for or you wished for will be what you will get. I am happy though because the businesses have remained strong. I just know that certain changes need to be made and we need to adapt. Those who don’t adapt, will not survive.

Growing your business Quote

Okay, going back, I felt lost as to where to start with strategizing. Then I thought about the realization that I had. I realized that I have just been grazing over different aspects in my life from my personal life to my businesses. Sometimes, because of all the things that I need to do, I just go through the daily grind by just ‘going through it’ and not really embracing each minute.

Alas! This is where I should find inspiration again. I need to feel deeply, to act passionately and live in the moment. This is something that I should do more and by doing this more, I will know what to do with my business. I need to enjoy life more (Gaaawd, I’m such a boring person! haha!).

So this is how it feels like to be at the crossroads of growing your business. It feels like you just started and created something new! Well, I’m not one to give up, but it’s time to enjoy the ride! Who’s with me?

Every evening, I stare at the corkboard in my room. My corkboard has two bond paper sized sheets pinned to it and a few family pictures. The two sheets comprise my own attempt to create what people basically know as vision boards. I started creating my own vision board last year. I have always believed in the idea and the benefit, but I haven’t gotten myself to sit down and create one (well, not until last year).

Placing it in a tangible piece of paper and mounting it on the wall was the best thing that I have done for myself and the best thing that I have done to achieve my goals. Displaying it was like a tangible signal that said, “well, Ginger, this is it! You have to be who you want to be and achieve these things while you’re still on this planet.” And guess what? Those pieces of paper worked. I’m right on track in achieving my dreams and aspirations. Sometimes I get pressured when I look at it, honestly, but I think it was the good kind of pressure — pressure the make a difference!

I love my life as an entrepreneur and as a tech startup co-founder. I love my life as a professional blogger and as a vlogger. I know that each one of us is capable of achieving the life that we are destined to live. If it’s entrepreneurship that you want to aim for, I can honestly say that I can help you through my Love the Leap Entrepreneurship program.

Ginger - Love the Leap Image

I have handled a lot of different kinds of businesses and have dabbled even into things like makeup, yoga, styling, and network marketing. I have always believed that experience is the best teacher and I would like to share my own experiences with you and hopefully you’ll get to learn from them. Let’s all learn too from the experiences of my co-teachers for this run.

From the program, you will be able to get to make your own business plan and marketing plan. These are the tools that you will need to start your own business. So, please join me on July 4, 11 and july 25 🙂

For those who are interested to sign up for the program, details are on this poster.

Love the Leap 2nd Run - Final

If you want to sign up, you can use this form below.

Please deposit your payment through any of the following channels:

Paypal – Please use gymger80@yahoo.com

BPI – GPA Events Management Services (Account Number: 1923-1277-94)

Please email the validated deposit slip to ginger@manilaworkshops.com 🙂

I really hope that you can be part of the next batch of #BigLeapers. For thosw who will attend, I will add you to the exclusive Facebook group where you can ask me or your colleagues anything and where you can network with the other Big Leapers!

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to take that leap!

P.S. Please don’t forget to subscribe to GTV, the youtube channel that I came up with to help aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners! (http://bit.ly/gtvchannel)