On the 27th of May, the International Labour Organization held the national launch of one of their new projects supported by J.P. Morgan. Titled “Rebuilding Better: Fostering business resilience post-COVID-19 project”, its objective is to provide support to women-owned businesses and women entrepreneurs recover from the effects of the pandemic and adopt more sustainable and resilient business models and practices to ensure that they will thrive in a post-COVID future.

The launch was attended by Ms. Cathy Turvill, Co-Owner and President of Nurture Wellness Village, and Ms. Debbie Palao, Owner of Hollicow Gallery, who gladly shared stories of resilience from their own experience as women leaders in business. Given that the challenges of the pandemic have caused numerous enterprises to cease operations or shut down altogether, it was an important reminder to already-struggling women entrepreneurs that have to juggle both their work and personal lives that not only is surviving possible, but thriving as well.

In a subsequent panel, representatives from different sectors discussed the many different ways that women entrepreneurs could move forward during these trying times. Attended by Ms. Maria Luisa Gatchalian from Miriam College, Ms. Maria Lourdes Arcenas from the Development Bank of the Philippines, Ms. Jeannie Javelosa from the Philippine Women’s Economic Network and GREAT Women, and of course, Ms. Clarine Tobias, President of the ECOP Bicol Chapter, reiterated the importance of education in keeping businesses informed, well-prepared, and ready to adapt to challenges, as well as the importance of joining groups that will provide them with opportunities, networks, and representation.

In her statement, Ms. Tobias expressed ECOP’s commitment to the project and the women entrepreneurs that it will be helping in its one-year run: “In the same way that ECOP provides a single voice for employers, [we hope] that we could be a voice and platform through which women entrepreneurs could make themselves heard in these tough times.”





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