With a wooden clutch standstill in his right underarm, one can apparently say that Elfren Fernandez is a PWD (person with disability). With that label we often think about people who are physically limited. That’s unfair, yes, especially when we see that kuya Elfren has managed to establish a livelihood business with his fellow PWDs.
From employee to self-employed
An electrical engineer by profession, kuya Elfren has come up with the idea of laundry detergent production to be the source of income of five cooperative members including himself—all PWDs. Thanks to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) training and kuya Elfren have formulated a detergent powder which, according to him, is something that moms and laundrywomen will look forward to in having a ‘new best friend’ when they face piles of clothes to wash, to rinse, to dry, and to wash again.
Of course, Missional Business Center (MBC), in cooperation with Christian Community Transformation (CCT), didn’t let this kind of potential to turn into a bubble. After its Start-Your-Business (SYB) training with MBC last year, they have generated an organized business plan and vivid financial projections for the business—something that every livelihood business needs to consider. Subsequently, its loan amounting to 200,000 Php was granted to operationally run the business.
When we talk about threats and weaknesses, it is capital flow and/or marketing strategy that a business is likely to be mostly worried about. The technology might be at hand but let’s admit, it does not make sense if capital needed is not provided. At this moment the production expenses is still higher than their income. To make the long story short, Unli Clean Detergent is of serious need to be given help with MBC and CCT—again.
On the other hand, when asked about the lessons learned in dealing with Unli Clean Detergent conflicts, kuya Elfren said that business should be a lifestyle and that one has to know the difference between wants and needs.
Last July 03, the MBC team visited kuya Elfren in his hometown at Tanay, Rizal. Kuya Elfren, who is continuously working for Unli Clean Detergent with his wife and kids, told us how market research and sufficing capital toughened their situation. They are currently negotiating with a distributor company but still lacks capital for supplies to work on its production.
As the MBC believes that businesses like this deserves reestablishing, kuya Elfren will be coached with Ptr. Ralph Pinon. Their coordination is now focusing on resolving conflicts in markets as well as working on possible sources for the capital and set-up cost needed.