Teresa Grefal lights up the room with her warm smile as she talks about her family life. A proud owner of a convenience store, called a “sari-sari” store in the Philippines, she is just one of the thousands of women who have benefited from a social enterprise called Hapinoy.
In 2011, Hapinoy won a USD25,000 grant from MasterCard after entering the social impact competition, Project Inspire, co-organized by MasterCard and the Singapore Committee for UN Women. MasterCard awarded Hapinoy with an additional USD25,000 grant in 2013, after witnessing the impact the organization was having.
Founded in 2007 by Mark Ruiz and Philippines Senator Bam Aquino, Hapinoy empowers women through a program that focuses on the common Filipino micro-enterprise, the sari-sari store. These small neighbourhood convenience stores are a source of livelihood for many underprivileged Filipino families. Through Hapinoy, the women who run these stores obtain micro-entrepreneurship training, and access to capital.
Teresa attests, “Before becoming a member of Hapinoy, my husband and I took a loan to fill our store. But after three months, we had no more supplies and cash. With the help of Hapinoy, we were able to figure out what went wrong and learned how to properly manage our business.”
Among her most valued Hapinoy lessons were: the importance of limiting the loans they give their neighbours, to always save some money from the day’s earnings, and to determine the “fast-moving” items.
These and more are taught as part of the Hapinoy program, where the women are taught recordkeeping, cash flow management, and customer relationship management. They even participate in dramatizations, in order to know how to respond to real-life challenges such as dealing with borrowers.
Lanie Rebong also thanks Hapinoy for the success of her sari-sari store, which she manages with her husband. Aside from instilling discipline in running a business, Hapinoy also enabled Lanie to expand by offering remittance services from her store – an in-demand service in a community with limited access to banks. Today, she proudly talks about being able to buy a new house, and having peace of mind knowing that she can save enough to send her teenage children to college.
Finally, Belen Jimenez says that over the years, her family has been able to invest in a jeepney (a small bus used for public transport), a motorcycle, a tricycle, xerox machines, and other gadgets through the effective management of their sari-sari store.
Her most notable learning from Hapinoy is the value of taking care of her customers: “We were taught how to attend especially to our suki (Filipino term for regular customers), because our stores will not thrive without them. We should really help them – from the moment they look for an item, to the moment they load it in a tricycle or jeepney.”
Thanks to the support of MasterCard and UN Women, Hapinoy has been able to make a tangible difference to the lives of thousands of women in the Philippines, helping them to grow sustainable businesses that can support their families for many years to come.
Watch this video to learn more about how we’re working with our NGO partners across the Asia Pacific region to provide financial and business literacy to women and girls – impacting 200,000 people so far.