“And the winner is……..ppprrrrrmmmmmmm” (drum roll).  Now, if you are anything like me, the image in your head is of some famous actress or actor fumbling with a large envelope, complaining about how is it hard to open. Luckily, for this post, we are going skip the envelope and talk about a winner who is a little closer to home for this Kiva Fellow. The winner I am talking about is CCT’s very own, Andresa Javines, who is Citi Bank’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” (MOTY) for Mindanao, Philippines.

So, what does it take to be named the “Microentrepeneur of the Year” (MOTY) by Citi Bank? Citi Philippines, in collaboration with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and Microfinance Council of Philippines (MCPI) just hosted their 9th year of this award. The collaborators said that they “recognize outstanding entrepreneurs with assets less than PHP 1 million, who have achieved remarkable growth as indicated by employment generation, profits, sales turnover and other enterprise performance measures.

The field of microfinance has garnered criticisms in the recent years that have questioned the lack of employment creation and high interest rates.  Although transparency is a key component of keeping microfinance acountable, it is important to recognize the success stories created as a result of microfinance loans. With this said, it is amazing to stand back and see people being honored for the gains they have as a result of their collaboration with a microfinance organization. CCT is also very proud of Ms. Javines and her accomplishments. CCT has submitted borrowers stories for the last eight years and Ms. Javines is their first borrower to win this prestigious prize.

Citi provided awards to individuals for different categories and within the categories, to the different island regions of the Philippines (Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao).  The two categories of awards to honor different types of advancements in the industry. The award categories include the Masikap Awards and Maunlad awards. The Masikap award recognizes individuals who have set up businesses that are now providing a reliable source of income for their families. The Maunlad Awards recognize one person from each region who has grown their business and is now providing employment to others beyond their family circle. The prize that each person receives includes 100,000 Pisos, three-year health and life insurance coverage for all the winners, as well as a grant to attend an entrepreneurship management course in Bayan Academy, to ensure the sustainability of their businesses.

Nanay Javines got to travel outside of her province for the first time to visit Luzon for the Citi awards ceremony and for a reception at the CCT head office. Her eldest daughter and local branch staff loan officers also accompanied her. The CCT head office provided a lunch reception and gave Nanay Javines the opportunity to share her story of growth and success with her business of tuna packing.  Her business caters to two clients who send sashimi grade tuna to Japan, Canada and the US. She also makes a gel ice concoction to place inside of the fish to preserve its freshness for travel.

Nanay Andresa shared her personal remarks with the CCT staff. “I started doing business as a young woman. I got married at 15. My husband and I rented a house until we found a residential lot that we could pay for by installment.

I started out running a sari-sari store from my house. A friend told me about CCT’s programs. I became a CCT partner in the year 2000. I started out with a loan of P4,000. I completed payments on this loan, earning the trust of the loan officer and manager. In 2003, I built my house and started my tuna packing material business. In 2005, I bought two motorcycles, four low-cost subdivision lots and built a boarding house with eight rooms. The Lord’s goodness [to me] does not end there. Two of my children have graduated from college and have found jobs. I have two other children who are still in school. One of them is hearing-impaired.”

I pray God will keep blessing CCT, making it grow even more so that it will be able to help many other poor people like me. Our Lord is so good. One day is not long enough to speak of His goodness in my life.” (Original speech given in Tagalog, translation provided by CCT’s communications staff member, Myra Gaculais Del Rosario).

Nanay Javines stands in the company of other innovative microentrepreneurs in the Philippines. Other microentrepreneurs have businesses in industries that include the export of chicken lumpia (a traditional filipino dish), ready-to-wear clothing, herbal medicines and deep seas fishing. Some of those business gross between 2 and 4 million pisos a year now and employ up to 50 employees.

Microfinance has its criticisms, but stories like Nanay Javines show that access to capital via microfinance loans for small businesses can come together and work as they were intended. It can enable individuals to create income to help their families, take care of their necessities and begin to grow to a point where it creates jobs for other. A celebration is in order to honor those who are working hard to do things right to help themselves and others. Congrats Nanay Andresa on a job well done and an inspiring and ongoing life story.

Jill Hall is part of Kiva Fellows 16th class, working with Center for Community Transformation (CCT) in the Philippines. She is enjoying all the sights, sounds and food of her new home, the Philippines.  Please support CCT borrowers by reading about their stories and making a loan today. Be a part of the movement of Kiva and join CCT’s lending team or check out CCT’s partner page. Former posts written by Jill about her experiences in Manila and Center For Community Transformation (CCT) can be found at:

The Circle of Life; Filipino Style

Work is cancelled; Typhoon Day

Girlie’s Peanut Butter: Borrower Verification in the Philippines

Study Now Pay Now: Funding Higher Education in the Philippines


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