Batac: More Ilocanos starting own business for time flexibility

photo courtesy by Leilanie Adriano

The job fairs conducted in Ilocos Norte provides a long list of job vacancies but takers are becoming few as many locals now prefer to have their own businesses.

Government data shows that new business applications are at record high in 2023, with a total of 9,485 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) assisted by the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Negosyo Centers compared to the 6,509 in 2022.

“This is aside from approximately 2,000 business owner applicants that we assist per year through our regular programs,” Maricor Racela, senior trade industry development specialist and officer-in-charge of the Small Enterprise (SME) Development Division of DTI-Ilocos Norte told the Philippine News Agency on Thursday.

Since the pandemic, many Ilocos Norte residents have become more creative with the help of technology and took the plunge in business through online selling.

Data also shows sizable jumps in people starting transportation and warehousing businesses, which do things like coordinating package deliveries or processing returns.

The number of new professional services businesses, including accounting or graphic design, also saw a rise, as did construction businesses, which might not come as a surprise given the hot housing market and numerous infrastructure development.

Among the reasons cited by the small business owners for starting their own businesses include familiarity with the tasks if they previously worked on the same industry, and change of careers.

Crisner Lagazo, a resident of Barangay Sulbec in Pasuquin town, Ilocos Norte, had been working as a private school teacher when he decided to give himself more flexibility to become a farmer.

“When you have a farm, you become your own boss. There had been a lot of challenges but it is all worth it,” he told the Philippine News Agency on Thursday.

In between growing high-value crops and engaging livestock and poultry at the Crisner Integrated Farms in his town, Lagazo also serves as seasoned trainer of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), by teaching and guiding students, out-of-school-youth, and housewives, among others, about practical agriculture.

Relatively, staying home during the pandemic gave Rem Samonte-Albano more time to contemplate on life.

Then, she opened the Rarity Variety Store.

“You get more challenged when you are your own boss. I also have more time to take care of my growing kids,” she said.

For Lorie Ann Cabanilla Argallion, having the flexibility of time made her decide to put up her own clothing store.

“The benefits of being self-employed include being your own boss, creating your own schedule, flexibility, working towards your dreams, enjoying the challenges of starting from scratch, choosing the people you work with, and creating your own work environment. It’s a complete freedom,” said Argallion.

Also, Reslyn Salud said operating a homestay business in Barangay Saud, Pagudpud town gave her more freedom after her previous company closed. She used to be a journalist for a regional TV network.

She said her decision led her to become more productive as it opened up more possibilities to gain unlimited source of income instead of having fixed income when you work for somebody else.

“Owning a business can offer higher earning potential compared to having an employer,” she added. (Leilanie Adriano)

(Source: Philippine News Agency)

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