Young Davao entrepreneur smells success amid crisis


Davao City—Kevin Joven was not spared from the challenges which the pandemic has brought to many. However, instead of giving up, he gathered more courage to rise up and maximize his resources.  

Young Davao entrepreneur smells success amid crisis
Soapberry founder Kevin Joven

Joven was running two businesses—a water refilling station and a co-working/leisure hub—when the pandemic started. Both of these were affected, especially the latter when the local government issued a rule to close tourism-related businesses temporarily. 

He got depressed because he lost his family’s bread and butter in just a blink of an eye. But this experience didn’t stop him from finding another business opportunity, not only to help his family continuously but also to provide livelihood among friends who lost their jobs.   

While having a tattoo session, a woman shared with him that his daughter knows how to formulate soaps. He then decided to invest in it, knowing that it could be the opportunity he was looking for.    

In July 2020, SoapBerry, a line of cleaning materials such as hand soaps, anti-bacterial fabric conditioner, disinfectants, and dishwashing liquid, was born. To jumpstart the promotion of his newly-discovered hope, he contacted several online sellers. He presented to them his quality products and how these can help them generate income for their respective households.   

While his hands were full with the new business, he was also busy attending the Department of Trade and Industry-Davao City’s Kapatid Mentor Me online program at least twice a week. There were times, too, when he had to deliver the products to his resellers personally while the KMME online sessions were going on. 

He had no choice but to persevere because of his desire to succeed in the new endeavor. Thus, he didn’t mind his struggles. He completed the modules and presented his business improvement plan, which the KMME panelists accepted. 

He passed the final round of DTI’s mentoring program to his delight. He was one of the latest batch of KMME graduates from the city. He learned numerous tricks on how to handle a business during the pandemic.    

“I am very grateful of the KMME program because it gave me the opportunity to have a clear plan for the direction of my new business,” he said.  

Joven struggled yet he proved his resilience. For now, he is supplying cleaning materials to a hospital, some resorts, local government units and resellers inside and outside Davao Region. He is also planning to develop innovative products and expand his market to different institutions.  

“With the pandemic, the struggles we face are not easy, especially for us, the MSMEs. Despite that, I still want to share that we have to stay resilient as we keep on pushing towards success. Let’s not give up. The pandemic is just a test of character. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I’ve learned the ‘pan.’ I’ve learned about trust in God, giving my best, maximize my potentials, and trying as much as I can,” he said.   

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