Success comes from those who work hard and never give up, the saying goes, and fish merchant Luzviminda Sunit of Medellin, Cebu is a shining example. Sunit, affectionately known as Nanay Luz, was named Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year National Awardee, a far cry from her beginnings as a fish seller with an initial capital of P4,000. Launched in 2002, the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards are a nationwide search for microentrepreneurs events in the country, organized by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Citi Philippines and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines Inc. “I would take the basin full of fish and peddle it around town to make a sale,” Nanay Luz recalled her humble debut in 1975, adding that she eventually ventured into making dried fish, commonly known as “buwad” in Cebuano.
Her determination, optimism and confidence were Sunit’s most powerful weapons, but she also received a major boost from the First Agro-Industrial Rural Bank (FairBank) in Bogo City, Cebu, where she was able to secure a loan for help him develop his business. FairBank, whose main objective is to meet the needs of rural communities by providing banking services to micro, small and medium enterprises, is a subsidiary of CitySavings Bank, the best mass market bank in the Philippines today. Since then, Nanay Luz’s business has reached new heights, with its product now available in local public markets in Medellin and Bogo, as well as in Leyte. It now has more than 20 workers, some of whom lost their regular jobs during the pandemic. Sunit’s business success also paved the way for the fulfillment of his dreams, including owning property and completing his children’s education. Resilience is another trait that has been synonymous with Nanay Luz who, even when the current public health crisis hit, she remained unfazed and instead became more innovative in her business approach. “We had to switch to direct shipping to our customers to achieve better sales,” she said. His journey has become a source of inspiration for others than Sunit, as well as nine other Filipino microentrepreneurs, were honored at the 18th virtual Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards ceremony on June 15, 2021.
Pride of the Visayas, Sunit received the distinction from BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno and Citi Philippines General Manager, Aftab Ahmed. Diokno cited the winners as providers of hope and perseverance in these difficult times. “We take this opportunity to recognize our microentrepreneurs who, despite the obstacles, have shown great ingenuity, courage and resilience to thrive in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Diokno. Sunit has advised aspiring entrepreneurs to pursue their dream and there are individuals like her and institutions like FairBank who will lend a helping hand. “Ang ganahan mag-negosyo atong tabangan ug tagaan nato og puhunan [We will help those who want to start their own business and provide them with capital]Nanay Luz said. Despite her success, she never fails to look back on her origins and express her gratitude to FairBank, the institution that has guided and supported her over the past 17 years. FairBank, for its share, said Sunit is a testament to the success of her corporate quest for a better life and a better future. “It is a privilege for FairBank to have contributed to the success of the national CMA laureate Luzviminda Sunit in the growth of her microenterprise over the years. She has successfully transformed a backyard dried fish business into a successful transinsular operation, ”said FairBank President and CEO William Amado Castaño.
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