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Treasures in the Discarded

“Kapag may negosyo, i-register mo!”

“When you have a business, register it!” That’s Angel’s prompt response when I ask about the government stickers, permits, and certificates posted on the wall of her store.

Angel reiterated what she learned from the Partners Worldwide Business Training she attended: If she and her husband Joel want their tuna processing business to grow, then they have to comply with all the necessary government requirements. The process is tedious and incurs additional expenses. But for them, the long-term benefits far outweigh the short-term hassles.

This is one of the many lessons Angel and Joel Venus have learned over the years. Today, they are successful entrepreneurs. Their tuna processing plant, two outlet stores, and large delivery truck employ 22 people.

But ten years ago, it was a different story.

Joel was a hardworking “stevedore”(carrying tuna manually for a living) in the fish port in the far southern town of General Santos City, Philippines. Angel stayed at home with their young kids and tried to make ends meet on Joel’s meager daily income.

But one day, Joel met a businessman who helped him imagine a different future.

The man advised Joel to start a business. By processing discarded tuna parts, Joel could make use of what others disregard and throw away—while increasing their household income. When Joel shared the idea with Angel, she was excited about the opportunity too.

They needed capital to get started, which they received from loan sharks who charged them at least 20% interest per month. But Angel was soon referred by a friend to CCT Credit—our local partner in the Philippines.

With CCT, Angel immediately became an active saver, received a business loan of $200 with a fair interest rate, and attended a Partners Worldwide Business Training course.

As their business steadily grew, Joel and Angel were eventually able to buy tuna processing equipment, nine commercial chest freezers, a big delivery truck, air conditioning units, and construct a processing plant right beside their house.

Angel (left) with a CCT staff member

CCT provides the capital Joel and Angel need to in order to continue expanding. They currently have a Growth Enterprise Loan (GEL), amounting to $10,000, and are qualified to get another GEL loan of at least $20,000.

These loans will enable them to scale from a small business to a small-medium enterprise (SME)—creating more jobs and fostering local economic growth in their community.

Overwhelmed with how richly God has blessed them, Joel and Angel feel compelled to bless others.

Their humble home now serves as a house church. They conduct a weekly feeding program for families in need in their community. They also started a social enterprise that provides clean drinking water for a minimal fee.

I asked Angel what lessons she and Joel have learned over the years. Her eyes lit up as she emphasized the importance of perseverance, putting God first, and living generously. Angel shared the last one with a certain seriousness.

For so long their family lived on little, she said, “but God has blessed us now to be a channel of blessings to others.”

Yes, Joel and Angel run a successful business they have worked tirelessly to grow. But ultimately, they know it belongs to God. They hold it with open hands, eager to use it to bless others.

Through business, Joel and Angel are supporting and educating their children, creating jobs in a community of high unemployment, and meeting the physical and spiritual needs of those around them. As they do so, they embody the belief that business is a holy calling and a vehicle for transformation.