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Entrepreneurial couple empowers MSMEs

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For running their respective businesses, helping each other succeed, and sharing the commitment of helping small and medium enterprises, EJ and Ginger Arboleda are winners in their businesses and married lives.

EJ Arboleda

EJ’s Taxumo gives entrepreneurs a platform that automates the seemingly simple but time-consuming process of filing taxes. Ginger’s Manila Workshops organizes skills-building workshops for aspiring business owners. Looking back, their shared success would not have been possible without their mutual support.

In fact, EJ’s first customer for what became Taxumo was Ginger, who got stressed monthly about filing taxes. In 2016, EJ created a home-based platform that automatically computed and filed taxes for Ginger, who was already running Manila Workshops at that time. The solution worked and they saw the opportunity to offer it to entrepreneurs, freelancers, and licensed professionals. This is how Taxumo was born.

With her strong background in management, Ginger then took on the role as Taxumo’s Chief Operating Officer while concurrently serving as CEO of Manila Workshops. In balancing the demands of both companies and their family life, Ginger and EJ can count on each other for steadfast support at work and at home, where they have equal footing on caring for their daughter, Zeeka.

“We work with each other’s schedules. If there’s an event that I have to go to, he takes on the role of being the hands-on dad,” Ginger said. “If he has an event or somewhere to go to for business, I look over Zeeka, our daughter. So you really have to surround yourself with people who support you.”

Commitment to small businesses

For both, empowering small entrepreneurs is a rewarding and strategic path for growth. Since its founding, Manila Workshops has trained close to 13,000 learners. Taxumo, on the other hand, had 47 users in July 2017 but now has more than 8,000 users. EJ and Ginger are trying to maximize all possible channels to extend the impact that their businesses have made to so far.

One of the platforms they are currently leveraging is UnionBank GlobalLinker, a free digital platform that creates a community of 33,000 other entrepreneurs. It also helps business owners create an e-commerce store for free, build a website for minimal costs, and avail specialized cost-cutting deals.

For both, UnionBank GlobalLinker aligns with their goals to address entrepreneurs’ needs.
“They are an underserved market,” EJ said. “They are looking for solutions already. In fact, they have created ‘Frankenstein solutions’ out of whatever they can get their hands on, which is a sure sign of a ready market.”

Ginger also highlighted the importance of presenting entrepreneurship as a promising career option. She noted that fresh graduates prefer to become employees, a choice that results in stiff competition for limited opportunities.

“What I want to measure moving forward is how many of these people have generated jobs and impacted lives. The biggest milestone for me is seeing some already established businesses,” said Ginger, acknowledging the potential of small businesses to open up opportunities for people like non-degree holders, single moms, and former overseas workers.

Growing together

Through UnionBank GlobalLinker, both are able to increase entrepreneurs’ access to the products and services they offer. Under the platform’s Biz Offers section, entrepreneurs can avail 10 percent discounts on Manila Workshops’ events and a discounted rate for an extended subscription on Taxumo.

Ginger and EJ also have their own uses for the platform. For Ginger, publishing articles on the UnionBank GlobalLinker allows her to extend the learning opportunities that Manila Workshops offers. Using the platform’s Network Function helped EJ meet connections who gave him new perspectives on different industries’ taxation challenges.

“It expands my worldview in a way that deepens my knowledge of industries we can tap,” EJ said to describe how an expanded network on UnionBank GlobalLinker helps sharpen his expertise.

The UnionBank GlobalLinker app is also available on Google Play and App Store. To connect with EJ and Ginger on UnionBank GlobalLinker, log on to unionbank.globallinker.com.

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