(STAR) By the GO NEGOSYO team - Even little things like balut, coupled with faith, perseverance, hard work, and yes, a sense of honor, can have momentous impact on the lives of families and communities. This was the most precious lesson that Cecille Salarda learned through her years as a micro-entrepreneur.

Primarily engaged in the manufacture and distribution of balut and salted eggs, Salarda showed perseverance in making her enterprise grow through the years.

From a humble initial cash layout of P600, “Judy’s Balut” is now known in Negros Occidental as the lone wholesaler of balut and salted eggs.

Although her role as a housewife and mother sometimes posed challenges in sustaining her business, and even if she had to sell clothes, blankets and kitchenware to make ends meet and subsequently pay her obligations, she still remained firm on her entrepreneurial goals. Salarda was determined to give her children a better life.

Today, with faith and sheer hard work, Salarda sells 20,000 pieces of balut and salted eggs per week, and her four incubators have an egg capacity of 25,000 pieces for each production cycle, on the average. She has also ventured into the selling of fruit shakes and peanuts. Currently, she has five fruit shake rolling stores in Kabankalan, Bais, Talisay, and Dumaguete, and two peanut rolling stores in Kabankalan.

Years came and went and from merely thriving day in and day out, Salarda has indeed put her business in a more sturdy foundation.

Cecile attributes her success to prayers and her strong faith in God. Apart from the assets of her businesses, she was able to purchase a lot and build a concrete house for her family. She is especially thankful that she can now send her children to good schools, and very recently, she had the joy of seeing her adopted daughter graduate from college. Through her businesses, she now has the means to help others and support a number of her employees.

Salarda’s story is definitely one of abiding perseverance and faith in God. Her remarkable inner strength and courage, honed through years of personal sacrifices and trials, may be the reason behind her ability to think of other businesses and implement them with least cost.

With modesty, she reminisces about her hand-to-mouth existence and her marital troubles, which she says made her even more determined to let her children savor a better life. She recognizes that without her vexing experiences, she would not have worked as hard to attain her dreams.

When asked what she wants advise aspiring entrepreneurs, she can only say: save and put everything back into the business before seeking personal gain and shortsighted pleasures.

Needless to say, Cecile is an inspiration to her community and family, and a model entrepreneur. Because of this, Salarda will be conferred a special award in this year’s Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year (MOTY) Awards, slated on Nov. 13 at the BSP Galleria, Metropolitan Museum of Manila, by Citi Country Head Sanjiv Vohra, BSP Governor Amando Tetangco and Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship Jose Concepcion III. The Maunlad Award is given to microentrepreneurs that have grown a business to a level that is now generating employment for people apart from household or family members.

In partnership with the Microfinance Council of the Philippines and the Go Negosyo advocacy of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, the 2007 MOTY Awards is a project of Citigroup Inc., one of the world’s largest financial services organizations. The program’s pilot run was conducted in 2002, during the celebration of Citi’s centennial year in the Philippines. The awards aim to elevate awareness of and provide support for microfinance by recognizing outstanding microentrepreneurs.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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