Ms. Gina Anciano - A story of TRIUMPH & SUCCESS! /30.03.2021
***This article stems from DTI (Department of Trade) in Philippines***
"Success is not an accident. It is a combination of hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and loving of what you want to do.” this is what Ms. Gina Soreta did to achieve success. She is a single mother of four, from the Municipality of Tantangan South Cotabato. She overcomes an obstacle and life bitterness by hard work, perseverance, and sacrifices.
At an early age, her parents died thus she was not able to continue her studies. She started working at the age of 20 and went to Saipan, Northern Mariana Island to work as a domestic helper. After 5 years, she went back home and got married. They were blessed with four beautiful girls. But everything did not go as planned, raising four children in poverty made things more difficult for a couple already experiencing differences and challenges.
She could not afford to look at her family living in difficulty with uncertain tomorrow. Six months after giving birth to her 4th child she decided to go back abroad. She worked in Hong Kong as a domestic helper. She worked hard and sacrificed herself and her children’s emotional well-being for a better and brighter future.
After eleven long years away from her family, not able to see them and celebrate a special event with them, something she was dreaming of came to reality. She was offered an opportunity to go back home to her family for good and start a Peanut Butter Factory with the help and support of the Canadian Broken Heel Foundation.
She founded the “Heelium Producers Cooperative” a non-profit organization that aims to become a consumer goods cooperative marketing for the benefit of women entrepreneurs. They have 25 members back then. They produce Peanut Products like peanut butter, peanut brittle, salted peanut, sugar-coated peanuts, roasted peanuts, and mixed nuts.
But just like any starting entrepreneur, she experienced difficulties and challenges. She needed to introduce their products and compete with the existing products in the market. There was also the struggle with sustainable raw materials as the demand started to rise. But nothing is impossible with hard work, perseverance, and faith in God.
Various help was extended to the cooperative from the Canadian Broken Heel Foundation, BLGU, LGU Tantangan, DTI South Cotabato, and Negosyo Center Tantangan, and other government agencies. They were assisted by the provision of machinery and equipment, access to market, product development, and showcased their products through Trade Fairs. Ms. Gina was very active in attending series of training to improve her entrepreneurial skills. She was one of the Mentees of the Kapatid Mentor Me Program (KMME) of DTI-South Cotabato batch 2019. She was also very active in participating in DTI and Negosyo Center activities.
Currently, Heelium Cooperative products are now being distributed to some malls, grocery stores, pasalubong centers in Koronadal, Tacurong, Polomolok, Tupi, and other nearby municipalities within the region. As promise Heelium Producers Cooperative brings together men and women who work together for the success of women entrepreneurs. As of now, they have 58 members and 95% were women. They are very active in helping to improve the community and promoting women entrepreneurs.
Ms. Gina Anciano, founder of Heelium Producers Cooperative and owner of Gina’s Homemade Food Products, continues to inspire and help Tantangan women and their families achieve success.