One Awesome, Blessed, and Unpredictable Year for Juan Great Leap!

anniversary

When Pauline and I celebrate our wedding anniversary together, we usually find a fancy restaurant which satisfies one important criteria: it has to be conducive to talking.

Then we talk about the year that was. All the highlights. Good times and bad. What we thought God was saying to us. Afterwards,  satisfied with our summary, we talk about our hopes for the next year – and what we want to try to work on.

For this year, I was planning to have a big event to commemorate JGL’s first anniversary. However, due to circumstances (1-2 weeks being wiped out because of a nasty viral infection), I wasn’t able to plan it out properly.

I think it’s fitting though, that I get to celebrate JGL’s first year in a very simple fashion – through how it all started.

With a post.

So, like my annual commemoration with Pauline, let me just talk about the year that was, as well as my hopes for the future.

Matt was asking me the other day what made me write this blog in the first place. To me, it’s very clear.

I felt my whole entrepreneurial career was the result of intervention from God. I cannot and will not talk about my entrepreneurial career separately from the faith-process I underwent. There were more than a couple of very hairy moments, but by 2011, I just felt so freaking happy with my career! I was calculating that I would’ve made more money staying in corporate, but I just didn’t care. I was totally in love with being an entrepreneur and with what went with it. With this energy came two things: a) a humongous sense of thankfulness, and b) an unsatiable need to give something back.

At first, I wanted to write a book. That was taking a bit of time. So I said, “what the hey” and began this blog.

JGL started on November 29, 2011, with this post. I actually wrote that post early November, but I was afraid of posting it. Finally mustering the courage, I said to myself “what the hey,” and hit PUBLISH.

Then I just poured my heart out with post after post, hoping that at least I’d get to help even just a handful of people.

Then, something unexpected happened. I was expecting a few dozen hits in the first few days. Instead, there were a couple of hundred already. There were also a more than a few people I didn’t know who were reaching out directly asking for questions and advice. My heart was warmed. It turns out more than a handful of people were interested in JGL’s message. This strengthened my resolve to write more. To write better.

In three months, there was already a small community of folks interacting with me through the blog and through email. I figured, I NEEDED to meet them. I booked a small room in Astoria and opened up 40 slots. They were booked pretty fast. We held a pretty amazing event in Astoria, there was such energy in the room! I actually had to kick people out because it was getting late, so naturally, the conversations just continued along the corridors, and ultimately, into a very active Facebook Group.

This was also around the time that a reader, Glen, invited me to talk about startups over coffee. I was pretty busy, and my consulting background shrieked “you have charge for this,” but it was just out of the question. I met Glen, and we had a blast. Soon, I was meeting other people for coffee. This was the genesis of Startup Saturdays.

The energy of the event and these face-to-face meetings made me realize a lot of things. I had originally just planned to manage and write a blog – that was it. JGL was snowballing into something else though. I hadn’t bargained on giving up this much of my time and resources, and I had a ton of other stuff to do. But I realized this was something bigger than me.

I just had to give more.

By late August, we had our second event and attracted 200 people at the Ayala Technohub in QC.  Smaller events – geared more towards sharing and collaboration, were also being held (and wow, what energy is created when you bring in entrepreneurs into a room). I was also getting to meet a number of entrepreneurs, want-to-preneurs, and venture guys during startup Saturdays. There were startups being spawned by activity from the Facebook Group.

To scale, JGL needed to be managed more like a startup. I could no longer do everything on my own.

Naturally, I suddenly get this crazy email from someone from California who said he wanted to work for JGL so much that he was willing to take a big continental leap, face uncertainty, and swallow a paycut. It sounded familiar. I was crazy enough to give him a shot. This brings us to now.

I find it truly amazing that all this activity was the result of a reluctant post I published just 12 months ago.

thank you

Thank you so much for reading. It is any writer’s satisfaction to be read. Thank you for the time you take in reading these posts. Thank you for sharing them to more people.

Thank you for going to the events and participating. I know there are a million other places you could have gone during those times. You have blessed me with your presence.

Thank you so much for letting me hear about not only about your startups, but also your stories. Thank you for trusting me with them. It is a deep privilege for me to be able to listen.

For those in the Facebook Group, thank you for all the contributions and the activity! I keep telling everyone what a blessing that Group is. It’s become a startup founder’s resource and a quick market research tool. Fun people, too 🙂

For the JGL “core team” – Sherwin, Ryan, Orvin, Nicole, and Eric. Thank you so much for believing in the cause and your profound gift of working for free.  This is deeply, deeply appreciated. I hope to work more with you more this coming year!

For those who’ve started something as a result of some of the activity above, thank you for taking that leap. This means more to me than you will know. It’s ultimately what JGL is all about. And please, if you need any help, just holler.

Thank you, to the Maker of all things for making all this possible.

2013

For next year, there is so much planned. More events. More events with investors. Going out into the countryside. Talks on specific topics. Podcasts. I could go on and on. But you know what?

If this past year is any indication, we’ll probably end up doing something really very different – and much better – than anything I’ve planned or thought of.

I might have started all this with a post, but it’s really YOU who has taken it to levels I never would have thought of. It’s you who have shaped it into more than just a collection of blogposts.

JGL isn’t mine, after all. It’s yours. Happy anniversary 🙂

So what do you think? Where should we take it? What is it for you? What have you appreciated? What else do you need? Hit the comments and share, knowing there’s a huge chance for us to incorporate whatever good idea you may have! 

Startup Resources Galore From Steve Blank

Quick one. Just had to repost this. This is a tremendous resource for anyone who wants to know about how modern entrepreneurship and startups work. Assembled by startup guru Steve Blank.

Do enjoy reading it, learning from it, and most importantly, start building something out of it!

Matt Lapid’s Juan Great Leap – All The Way from California!

Matt Lapid is Juan Great Leap’s official first hire. I first got in touch with him when I opened my email account and got to read his very convincing cover letter. It’s quite apt that the hire happens two days before JGL’s first year anniversary. I thought I found a kindred spirit talking with Matt during the interview process: his passion was very evident, he was a God-fearing person, he had this genuine desire to give back, he writes, and he took this great big leap of faith.  Here’s Matt himself  with his story. – Peter

Hi there! My name is Matt Lapid. I am a Fil-Am, born and raised in the States. I’ve decided to take one great leap by working with Juan Great Leap. Pretty direct approach, right?

So this is my story. I graduated from college in 2010 with a BA in English Lit from UCI. I took a life-changing trip to the Philippines right after I graduated. I only planned to stay a few months to learn Tagalog, but I ended up staying for a whole year to help with Gawad Kalinga’s Center for Social Innovation. Work with GK CSI changed me. It opened my eyes to a Philippines in which change could happen and was happening right before my eyes. It was a total immersion that was a challenging experience for a Fil-Am who was in search of his identity and struggling to integrate into the Philippines, but it made me.

After missing my mom’s 60th birthday and my cousin’s wedding, I finally returned to the States. These were the realities of being away, but in spite of all the things I missed, I came back unlike my former self. I felt changed and made for something else, and it was evident in my first full-time job in the US.

As absurd as it may sound, I ended up working as a personal banker for a financial institution. I felt that I could really help people with a very relevant problem crippling Americans: money. While I was working, I felt a void in my heart. During my seventh month with the organization, they gave me the opportunity to become a licensed banker, in which I’d receive training and a sizable bonus. However, if I were to take that offer I’d have to commit to work with the company for another year. It seemed like an eternity for me. I knew how much a year’s worth of work could do in terms of social impact, and I just couldn’t make a change if I stayed, so I put my two weeks and left.

I ended up doing consultancy work for Human Nature USA, the US arm for Human Nature, a social enterprise that offers natural personal care products to help poor farmers in the Philippines. It seemed like the perfect fit for me. I could live out my dream of helping the Philippines while staying in the US with my family. That sense of purpose drove me, but reality sunk in. I was in a position in which I couldn’t sustain myself, and the passion and purpose that drove me collided with the realities of life. As much as I wanted to make my work with the organization work, it unfortunately didn’t.

So I deeply discerned about what I really wanted and what God was calling me to do, and I realized that the mission never changed. The mission was, and is, to make an impact on the poor in the Philippines through entrepreneurship, and for me that change starts in the Philippines and with Filipinos, not abroad.

But after two failed endeavors in social entrepreneurship, I really questioned a lot of things. Was I really supposed to be a social entrepreneur? After all, I graduated in English. Perhaps, it just wasn’t for me. I was scared to move.

With a friend’s recommendation, I discovered Juan Great Leap. I was immediately mesmerized by the wisdom and spirit this Peter Cauton was illuminating. Reading JGL’s posts gave me a sense of validation in what I was doing and where I was being led.

In his blog, entitled, “The One True Risk I faced in taking the Startup Leap,” Peter notes, “If you have that itch, there is no sense stalling. Take that leap now.” It was plain and simple. I’ve had this crazy itch and I knew it would persist. I was so anxious to move, but I just couldn’t because I was over thinking. JGL’s simple words validated everything for me. The vision was clear and all I needed to do was take that Juan Great Leap.

After reading through JGL’s blog, I immediately sent Peter my application attached with a CV full of crazy conviction, a side of me that I don’t readily share due to fear of rejection. Yet something intuitively told me that I could spill out my heart and soul in this correspondence, and, indeed, Peter replied! After that correspondence, I met Peter via Skype for a couple of hours. We scheduled another followup interview via Skype for the following week, but I booked my ticket a couple of days after. Though the future was still uncertain, I took my first leap in flying to the Philippines without that crippling fear of the unknown.

And now I am here in Manila taking the leap to urgently move for myself and others. It’s a big move but it’s Juan Great Leap that I have to take!

@ LAX airport…getting ready to take my Juan Great Leap!

Saturday Night Gimmick!

It’s a Saturday night. I’m a bit tired coming from a party. The kids are asleep. Pauline’s on TV. After a full week, I’m on my bed wanting to relax and have my me-time.

Three things to choose from: a book to read, NBA 2k13, or surfing the web.

I choose to surf the web.

What do I end up doing? Going to Linkedin to recruit for some startup openings we have.

One way to look at it: that’s pretty sad, man! 

Another way to look at it: I find work fun, and I’m not trying to escape it. 

Work on something you love. It’s becomes a virtuous circle.

Yep, that’s my foot!

Updated Jobs In Our Startup Community – Apply Now!!!

(I’ve recently updated the jobs link with a host of different openings from our network. The page is copied below. For any applications, do send me a note at peter@juangreatleap.com) 

Below are the startup career opportunities in the JUAN GREAT LEAP (JGL)’s Startup Community, updated as of  November 22, 2012.

If you are interested in any of these, please  shoot me an email at peter@juangreatleap.com, along with a resume or Linkedin link.

All these jobs are STARTUP jobs, so expect the following from all of them: a) the job description is fluid: the job WILL change as the startup changes b) you will have a lot of freedom to create and leave your mark c) there is always a possibility for earning shares, d) things are pretty exciting, e) being part of the JGL Startup Network opens up all sorts of possibilities as far as career and learning are concerned. f) the job title is merely a placeholder – you can call yourself what you want (like, Ambassador of Buzz, Master Chief, Super VP, etc…),

I’ll be segregating this by company. For all the firms, one can expect an entrepreneurial culture that’s collegial, innovation-driven, customer-focused, flat, and fun!

Here. We. Go.

I. STORM

2013 in STORM is going to be a very special year for us.

As I mentioned in this post, STORM recently got funded in preparation for a big year wherein we will try to disrupt the market even more. We have a clear strategy in mind, and we shall do our dardnest to go for the gold.

A big part of this strategy is getting the right people to help us execute.

Here’s a list of the positions we need:

A) Two (2) Senior Marketing and Sales Executives

When we say “senior” here, we are talking about people with around 5-7 years of experience in marketing, sales, or business development. We need people who not only can strategize, but can be with us in the trenches when we execute. We need 2 leaders who are very independent, driven, results-oriented, and creative. We want people who are easy to talk to and like collaboration. Power-hungry jerks not allowed.

The two people to be hired will be leading 2 different, very strategic teams for STORM. (I’m not that comfortable talking about the nature of the teams here in the blog, so we can talk about it during the interview process.)

B) Marketing and Sales Trainees

The two seniors above need support. We need a couple of junior executives (1-2 years experience) who can help the team execute. One thing to remember with our structure, while the “juniors” report to the “seniors,” we believe that great ideas and insight can come from ANY PERSON in the company. Expect meetings and processes where everyone is a peer and anyone can jump in to contribute.

C) Senior PHP Programmer

A big part of our strategy is leveraging technology. We need a senior PHP programmer (at least 3-4 years programming in PHP) who can lead our technical development team. We need someone who can technically strategize and help guide us through key decisions.  We need someone who can lead. Most of all, we need someone who could execute.

D) PHP Programmers

We would be needing a team of junior PHP programmers with around 1-2 years of programming experience using PHP.  Experience in e-commerce and payment gateways a big plus.

E) Design/UX Expert

We need someone with great design sense who can help us create beautiful, buttery sites both on web and mobile. We need someone who knows html, css, and design tools like Photoshop and Indesign. Those applying would need to bring a portfolio of previous work. Fresh grads can apply for this post.

II. STRATA (in incubation)

Strata is an upcoming startup which will focus on providing Competency-based HR Consulting and Technology. We are VERY excited with the prospects of Strata. With very very minimal marketing, it ALREADY will have a client list and a very healthy revenue stream. (It has already generated around 2.5 million in revenue in 2012)

A) Marketing and Sales Head

While HR expertise here is not a requirement, we do need someone who can learn the HR universe and negotiate effectively with HR leaders. We need someone who will help build the marketing and sales structure of Strata, and work on the bottom-line. In the end, this person will hold tremendous influence over how Strata will develop and look like. We need someone who can own the startup and make it grow. Together with the CEO and the Senior HR Consultant, this person will form the core group of the Strata team. Very exciting stuff!

III. Juan Great Leap

Juan Great Leap is slowly transforming into many things: an online advocacy, startup lab, a startup community, even a bit of a startup school. Currently the only one “employed” fulltime by Juan Great Leap is me. I need a junior contributor who can help me develop all facets of the concept.

A. Junior Entrepreneur

I need someone who is reliable, has a lot of energy, a good writer, has supreme communication skills, is organized, entrepreneurial, and someone who is very very interested in startups. With that skill set, you probably command a high salary – and I am telling you now, this firm probably won’t be able to match what a corporation can give you. (largely because the labs are a long-term play) But I am also telling you now: if you are interested in startups, there is no other job opening that will give you as much learning as this one.

Being exposed to the deal flow (seeing and being involved in the formation of new startup concepts) alone is priceless.

IV. Mobile Academy

Mobile Academy was launched September of 2012 – a school which teaches both technical and non-technical people how to program in the mobile environment. Mobile Academy is already running its third class, is already cash positive, and is brimming with potential. It is seeking to hire its very first employee.

A. Management Trainee

We need a young trainee who can come in, contribute, and most of all, learn. The trainee will be involved in all aspects of the business: curriculum development, faculty relations, administration, finance, marketing, and sales. Take it from me, being involved with everything is the absolute best way to learn, and this is what the Trainee can expect. High potential fresh grads are welcome to apply for this position.

Tired of the corporate grind? Send me an email ASAP! Let’s build something!

 

5 Things I Learned in Raising Investment Money

You guys know that I’ve always advocated bootstrapping.

I will ALWAYS advocate bootstrapping as the way to go. But when someone asks me if she should raise money though, I never ever blurt out a “you should always bootstrap first.”

The real (sometimes frustrating) answer is of course, “it depends.”

It depends on whether your idea needs a lot of capital to begin with. It depends on the market. It depends on how defensible your position is to new entrants. It depends on your market adaptability rate.

Sometimes, it also depends on where you want to take your startup.

Our first bootstrapped startup, STORM, became profitable on around its 3rd year, then it just grew pretty fast during the next 4 years, all organically.

Then, my business partner Pao and I saw a new business opportunity for STORM, a new strategy dripping with potential, but one which  required a sizeable capital investment – a bit more than what the company could afford using its own funds.

So Pao and I talked about it. We came up with two initial plans:

Plan A: Go on our current organic trajectory (which wasn’t bad)

or

Plan B: Go for the new strategy by raising money and sacrificing equity.

Being the entrepreneurs that we were, of course we went for Plan B. BUT, we said that if we didn’t like the terms, or if we didn’t feel fully confident with the would-be investor, then we would do a Plan C and try to make it work ourselves. (nope, plan A was never considered)

So around a month ago, we began the process of raising money for our company. It was our second time to do so.

The very first time we tried raising money was back in 2004 when we started STORM. We failed to raise a centavo and resorted to try doing it ourselves (which in retrospect, was a blessing).

Around a week ago, we got the verbal go for a substantial sum – exactly what we needed to shore up operations in line with our new strategy.  More than that, we partnered with a great investor whom we felt could help us take the company to the next level.

Here’s what I learned from the whole process:

1) Traction Reigns Supreme

Traction can be defined as the startup’s history of actually making money. Which, you know, is what companies are supposed to do.

Traction means everything on the entrepreneur-investor negotiation table. Without traction, the negotiating power of the entrepreneur falls considerably.

The best asset any negotiator has in any negotiation process is the ability to walk away from the deal. Traction gives the entrepreneur the much-needed leverage to say no and find the best deal available. When we did our pitches to investors, we were able to show them 5 years of increasing profitability and a host of longterm relationships with substantial clients. We had no problem finding people interested in investing, our problem then became choosing who to partner with.

This is a much better problem than the former.

2) The Founding Team Counts

We’ve always heard investors say, “we bet on the jockey, not the horse.”

This is true. Investors will not merely give their time and money to anyone with a grand idea. The idea is secondary. Who the entrepreneur is is primary.

So you can bet investors will do their due diligence with you. They will check with their network for references. They will look at your past work. They will schedule multiple meetings with you to ascertain comfortability and working style.

In a very real way, the process is much like job-hunting. You and your founder team will need to be impressive.

3) Cast a Wide Net

I can’t think of any reason why your startup should not let as many people as possible know that it is raising money. Again this process is like recruitment. In recruitment, if you want to be able to get the BEST PERSON possible, you cast a wide net and consider as many qualified people as possible.

During the STORM process, we talked to VC’s, angels, friends, family, and went deep into our network for other connections. We presented in PhilVenCap (they meet in AIM every third Thursday of the month), posted on startup-related FB groups, talked to high net worth friends abroad, and told everyone we thought MIGHT be helpful that we were raising money.

The result? We were able to pool a relatively large number of investors of different backgrounds and strengths and get them to be interested with our cause. We also learned a lot, got a large number of useful contacts, and even potential clients. Oh, and in the end, we were also able to partner with someone whom we thought fit our needs to a T.

4) Look for Much More Than The Capital

Essentially, looking for an investor means looking for another founder. It’s important to remember this and not be consumed solely on raising the fund.

I’ve done numerous posts in this blog on why and how founder recruitment is crucial to the success of a startup. Partnering with the wrong investor can very easily doom your startup.

You HAVE to look at what the investor brings to the table. Will the investor be a meddlesome sort who will want to monthly reports and meetings (this can be CRIPPLING for a startup for the sole reason that these meetings end up being a distraction more than anything). Or on the other hand, will the investor just give you the money and contribute nothing else to the cause? A good investor choice is someone who will be there when you need her and not be there when you don’t need her.

Aside from the money, you have got to consider how else will a potential investor help grow the pie. This was the clincher with our own process in STORM. The investor we partnered with had much more to offer than just the funding.

When choosing an investor, you ALSO have to require multiple meetings to properly ascertain comfortability and fit.  Moreover, observe carefully at how interested the investor is with the business concept, NOT MERELY the ROI potential. This is crucial. If the investor is genuinely interested in the business concept (she comes up with new ideas, she gets palpably excited talking to you about the idea), then thats a good sign she will render real support when you need it.

5) Have a Plan, Then Execute Fast

Remember, the most important element a startup needs is not money, but TIME. (when you think about it, the money usually just pays for the time).

I can see how fundraising can prove to be quite the distraction, especially since you are talking about money and essentially selling kool-aid about how great your company is. It can be tempting to try and extend the process to try to see if you can get a better deal than what you have. An investor can also lengthen the process by dangling more money in return for a bigger pie piece. All this results in one thing: less time for your startup.

You have to be very clear on how much money you will need, how much equity you are ready to sacrifice, and who you are looking for in an investor. Then cast a wide net, talk to as many people as possible and then decide fast so you can go back to working on your startup.

Waiting breathlessly for a co-founder? Just start.

Off the top of my head, I could name 10 different people who cannot get their startup off the ground because of the lack of a co-founder.

During the open forum of the last JUAN GREAT MEET in Briggy, there was a flurry of co-founder related questions:

How do you find the right co-founder? Where do you find the right co-founder? Is it right to co-found companies with friends?

What struck me during the proceedings was when someone added to the discussion (I think it was Joey Gurango): okay, so why would you need a co-founder in the first place? 

You know, it’s very clear for me why a co-founder is better than going at it alone: you want have someone to be with in the trenches, someone to discuss things with, someone who will be strong in the areas you are weak in. Because of these very powerful reasons, it’s quite understandable to expect someone to wait for the “right one.”

But only up to a certain point.

If you’ve already spent a considerable amount of time exhausting your network, getting to know even more people, looking under every rock you see, and you just keep hitting a brick wall, then it might be time to throw in the towel and get some work done. At some point, the waiting just becomes counter-productive, so just try to start.

Yep, alone.

For some, this might be a scary thought, as the assumption all along was to form a team.  But perhaps this has become some sort of a crutch, and excuse for you to put off doing what needs to be done.

It doesn’t need to be complicated. Knowing you WILL go at it alone, ask yourself, okay, what’s that next thing that my startup needs to progress?

Are you a someone with an idea who’s been searching for a technical partner for a year already? Then the next crucial “step” (the one you’ve told yourself you can’t do without a technical partner) is to build a prototype, right?

Just start. Create detailed specs – how does your app work? Ask around and canvass for freelance programmers who might do it for a fee. Try to look for and recruit the best one. Begin raising the money that might be required.

Perhaps you don’t need a technical solution just yet. Perhaps you can test the market out by creating a powerpoint mock-up and just doing a “demo” of your product to dozens of potential customers. The info you’ll get is guaranteed to be uber-useful.

I know it might sound intimidating because that “next step” would typically be the precise reason why you’re looking for a partner – the skills required for this next step might not be within your comfort level. But this is what makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur – she learns, adapts, and just makes things happen.

So stop waiting and start doing. The ironic thing is, once you just go ahead and decide to start, you’re sure to encounter and attract even more people who are interested in what you are doing. Sometimes, the best time to find a partner is when you’re not looking.

The Dangers of Reverse Momentum

I haven’t written in around 2 weeks.

Last week, I had an excuse – I was bedridden for much of the time. This week though, I could’ve hammered out some posts earlier, but I just inexplicably refused to do so – it was like I was allergic to the keyboard all of a sudden.

Since I hadn’t written in a long time, it was sort of easier to keep not writing – and it seemed like such a chore to start.

It was reverse momentum! The more I didn’t move, the more I didn’t want to move.

I realize there were so many other aspects in my life that I’ve felt this way about: going back to the gym after stopping for a while, finishing a book I had started, getting back into daily prayer, eating the right food again, sleeping early again, and so on. Sloth does one other deadly thing: it begets even more sloth.

Perhaps there’s an item RIGHT NOW that you KNOW you need to be doing, but can’t seem to muster the effort to do so because its been such a long time.

Some of the good habits we’ve developed WILL end up getting challenged by reverse momentum at some point. If we give in, there’s a danger we lose the virtue entirely. We need to be stronger.

The important thing is to take a deep breath, embrace the resolve that you’re NOT going to let it win, and just do it.

APOLOGIES FOR THE RADIO SILENCE

Apologies for the radio silence these past few days, people. I was struck by a very very very nasty virus last weekend that has rendered me home and horizontal for the whole week. I tried to write, but quickly found I couldn’t form coherent thoughts and just merely looking at a digital screen made me nauseous.

Hope to be back to my normal blog routine by next week, though!

Thanks for the patience!

(Oh and yes, we found A TWO FOOT SNAKE in our kitchen this morning – what a week!)

Two Wunderkinds In a Row!

Quick, tell me the last Filipino you know who created a product in his college years and turned it into a business?

I wrote this line last Thursday morning in the (very popular) Wunderkind post.

Who knew I’d meet another wunderkind just a couple of hours after publishing that post? 

I had a meeting with Noreen Bautista of Jacinto and Lirio that very same afternoon. Noreen wanted to get some advice on some HR stuff and scheduled a quick meeting.

Before giving any advice, I always make it a point to learn much about the context of the person seeking the advice. So I essentially asked Noreen to tell me her startup story.

Noreen Bautista of Jacinto and Lirio

Noreen first tells me about the amazing company concept. J&L is a social enterprise which turns an environment pest, the water hyacinth (clogs things up), into fashion products like bags and notebooks.

If this isn’t impressive enough, the enterprise marshalls the help of local communities in areas like Pampanga, Laguna, and Rizal to help i the production of the goods. When you buy fashion items from Jacinto and Lirio, you get to directly help these communities.

I was looking at their website and Facebook Page and noted how they were taking full advantage of social media to reach out to people.

This, my friends, is an example of how a modern-day social enterprise looks like! Galing!

But wait, there’s more!

It turns out, Noreen started this concept with her batchmate/business partner Anne as a college project. Then, unlike 99%  of college business simulation projects, Anne and Noreen had the necessary conviction to push their product out into the real market. They began producing goods, creating distribution channels, and marketing. You can now buy Jacinto and Lirio products in a LOT of sites, both real and virtual:

I was lucky because Noreen was on the way to showcase some samples in another meeting, so she was able to show me some notebooks.

They were gorgeous!

You know, there are some items I’d buy because I’d want to help a cause out. Not the case with the notebooks I was shown – I’d buy them solely because I’d want to buy them.

Oooooh, and the packaging.  I hate it that I didn’t get a chance to take a picture of the box packaging a J&L notebook comes in. But you’d get the notebook standing up, inserted on a classy cardboard base. (Dare I say that it was Apple-like!)

Great idea. Greater execution.

Kudos to Noreen and Anne, the wunderkinds behind Jacinto and Lirio!

Continue to inspire us please!