Women entrepreneurs helping each other is a beautiful thing to witness. By fostering a supportive ecosystem and prioritizing social impact, they are driving positive change on multiple fronts. These women are the inspiring mompreneurs of Madiskarte Moms (MMPH), an online community of Filipino mothers who want to learn, start, and grow their online home businesses while enjoying their home life.
At the second annual Gawad Madiskarte, which recognizes mompreneurs with creative and innovative businesses, eight women stood out for creating successful businesses that made a transformative impact not only in their own lives, but also in the communities around them.
PLDT Home first launched Gawad Madiskarte in 2022 to celebrate mompreneurs and to encourage more women to act on their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs.
The audience at the awards luncheon — many of them also tireless and hardworking mompreneurs—was inspired to hear the winners talk about their struggles and successes, many with tears in their eyes. It was also heartwarming to hear how Madiskarte Moms PH, the tight-knit community of local mompreneurs honored by Gawad Madiskarte, was the catalyst that changed their lives for the better.
Six winners from the Start Up and Scale Up categories received P100,000 each, three Special Award winners received P50,000 each from PLDT Home, and a trophy by world-class sculptor Ram Mallari. Each winner also received a one-year PLDT Home Fiber subscription, a laptop from ASUS, and a one-year Canva Pro subscription.
Gawad Madiskate 2023 Start-Up Winners
In the Start Up category, Diskarteng Angat was awarded to Catherine K. Fabello of Cami Candles; Diskarteng Digital went to Eraiza Camille A. Ramos of Eleira’s Crochet; and Diskarteng May-Puso went to Joelle Dianne F. Venegas of Golden Pots Agriculture.
Eraiza Camille Ramos learned to crochet because she didn’t have the money to buy nice clothes for her newborn daughter, she said when she accepted the trophy. When she started posting monthly photos of her baby wearing crochet headbands, hats, socks, and dresses on Facebook, her inbox was flooded by mommies inquiring whether she was selling them online. “I started and grew my business online,” she said as her cute products were flashed on the screen behind her.
Today, Eleira’s Crochet sells crocheted baby clothes and accessories, dolls and toys, and even Christmas ornaments. The young mom has truly embraced digital tools to help her business grow.
Mom of three boys Catherine Fabello of Cami Candles said that during the pandemic, she experienced anxiety and couldn’t sleep. Instead of allowing her mental health to deteriorate or passively waiting for the pandemic to be over, she leapt into action.
“Why not make something out of the problem I’m currently dealing with?” she said. The solution for her was to make aromatic candles. “I also wanted to help others who were experiencing the same thing, lalo na yung mga mahirap makapag-relax,” she added.
Remember the plantito and plantita craze that reached its peak during pandemic? Joelle Dianne F. Venegas of Golden Pots Agriculture started selling plants knowing that people found them relaxing to have around in their houses and gave them something to physically care for.
“Then I discovered that there was a better product with fewer competitors—organic fertilizers,” she narrated. For the first two years she sold only one type of organic fertilizer but has since expanded and focused on seeds, herbs, and other organics.
“As a mother, I realized that it’s important to teach children environmental protection, and that we can reconsider our lifestyle choices to ensure that we have a bright future,” she said.
Scale Up Category
Gawad Madiskate 2023 Scale-Up Winners
In the Scale Up category, the award for Diskarteng Angat was given to Irene D. Herrero of Jacob’s Gourmet Food; Diskarteng Digital went to Rojerette May Martin-Pimentel of Moms@Work Management Consultancy Firm and DigiTalent; and Diskarteng May-Puso went to Erica Joana Angela Redrico of Produkto PH.
Irene D. Herrero or “Chef Irene” is a single mom of four kids. She’s one of the pioneer manufacturers of 100% organic gourmet food in the Philippines. Chef Irene believes that everyone has the power to keep toxins out of their body—but they must have products to choose from to make that decision.
“I started with three kilos of tuyo,” she said. “And from there, dumami ang products namin.” Jacob’s Gourmet Food’s product range includes pasta sauces like creamy tuna pesto and Italian pepperoni; Filipino favorites tuyo, dulong, dilis, bagnet, gambas and suka. Chef Irene scaled up Jacob’s Gourmet Food not only in the Philippines, but in 28 other countries as well.
Rojerette May Martin-Pimentel’s Moms@Work provides consultation and talent, and education for moms who want to become freelancers. “Freelancing allows anyone to work remotely,” she said, “and you can offer that service to clients anywhere in the world.” Her company “wants mothers to be able to earn a living while looking after their families.”
Moms@Work is a one-stop website for those looking for talents and those offering their particular set of skills to employers. “Technology really brings us closer to our dreams and closer to our goals.”
Thirty-one-year-old Erica Joana Angela Redrico, wife and mother to an 11-year-old, considers her company a “curator” of products. Produkto PH is a multi-vendor online marketplace for ingenious Filipino entrepreneurs. More than just a retail concept, it brings together like-minded people who want to support their communities, so buyers need only one online store to choose from multiple vendors.
Produkto PH also holds physical pop-up events. “Wherever you look, there are products and people who make them,” she said. “They just need someone to support them.” As an example, she mentioned the weavers from Aklan who made P100,000 in two days of a Produkto PH selling event. “This enabled them to open a small shop in Aklan.”
Gawad Madiskate 2023 Special Awardees
Gawad Madiskarte also gave special awards to three mompreneurs. Diskarteng Malikhain went to Ayn Stephanie Buyco Angeles of HERS by Godfather; Diskarteng Pasulong was awarded to Jazel T. Gallaza of Kapekoh; and Diskarteng Homebiz to Eraiza Camille A. Ramos of Eleira’s Crochet.
Jazel T. Gallaza, mother of two, is a former OFW and creator of Kopekoh corn coffee. During the pandemic, she found herself unemployed and without income. She was torn between going back to working on a cruise ship or staying in the Philippines and putting up a business.
Jazel said she prayed to God for a sign on what to do. Despite the uncertainties, the latter option won in her heart. “Nagkasakit ako ng acid reflux, and I thought, what did my lolo give us kapag sumasakit ang tiyan namin? That gave me the idea to make corn coffee, and we had to go to Bukidnon to source the corn.”
Kapekoh proves that even an old idea (corn coffee is common in the provinces) can become new again to a whole new market.
Ayn Stephanie Buyco Angeles said that 95% of their clients for handcrafted shoes by HERS by Godfather are online. The Marikina-made shoes are loved by their clients from different parts of the Philippines and abroad. Her brand has become synonymous with quality, good design and craftsmanship.
Ayn said that entrepreneurs need to shut out the “noise and discouragement of other people and focus on themselves, their dreams, and their products.”
Actress Marjorie Barretto, one of this year’s Gawad Madiskarte judges, told the women during the awarding, “I want to be like all of you. It was so hard to judge the entries—it took me several days. I read all your stories and sineryoso ko.”
Barretto herself is an entrepreneur with her own online home and clothing brand called Everything Avery. Joining her as judges were Maxine Loyola, AVP & Head of PLDT Home Marketing Public Relations, Influencer Marketing and Brand Advocacies; entrepreneurs Jorge Wieneke and Jenny Wieneke; Janine Khazaiealiabady, owner of Massage MNL; Donna Nievera-Conda, president and co-CEO of Stratworks, Inc.; and Maisie Littaua, Head of Growth for Canva Philippines.
“Big dreams often start with small beginnings, and we have mompreneurs to prove that. They have shown us that motherhood is not an obstacle but the inspiration to do things better at work and in life,” PLDT Home Senior Manager Linette Garcia-Perez said after the awards.
“They have shown us that the love they pour into their families is the same love that fuels their entrepreneurial spirit. For that, we are all grateful.”