Step Up Writes Labour Market Assessment for the Rakhine State

ILO reportMichael Canares, Strategy Advisor of Step Up Consulting was tasked by the International Labour Organization to write a consolidated report that looks into the opportunities and challenges of labour market development in the Rakhine State in Myanmar.  The report that Mr. Canares wrote, together with his team at Step Up was based on primary field work that was conducted by Synergia Consulting and Training and Myanmar Survey Research.

The report, entitled “Rakhine State Labour Market:  Assessing Assets, Projecting Demands, and Identifying Areas for Intervention” looked into current and projected demand for labour skills in the Rakhine state, quality and quantity of labour supply in the area, and potential areas for intervention to strenthen labour market quality and labour to industry matching processes.

Step Up Facilitates Business Planning for Palawan Diagnostic Center

 

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Step Up Consulting facilitated the business planning for a multi-specialty clinic and diagnostic center in Palawan last December 17-18, 2015 at Sunlight Hotel Palawan. The business planning activity was attended by board and staff members of the Padre Pio Multi-Specialty Clinic and Diagnostic Center.

The business planning sought to define the direction of the organization up to 2020 and the strategies to achieve this. It also helped redefine the roles and responsibilities of the different organizational stakeholders in achieving both strategic and operational goals.

Participants considered the activity as very productive and relevant to their needs.  Step Up consultants ensured that the design of the activity will meet the expectations or the organization; achieve desired outputs in a fun and productive way.

Step Up Trains Community Leaders on Enterprise Management

A participant explains the asset and opportunities map during the enterprise development session.
A participant explains the asset and opportunities map during the enterprise development session.

PROCESS Bohol, Inc., commissioned Step Up Consulting to train its community leaders in Ubay, Bohol the basics of financial management.  The training, attended by more than 30 community leaders, was intended to assist the organizations manage their enterprises better and prepare them for eventual phase-out of PROCESS support.

Step Up has more than 10 years of conducting community-based trainings with different audiences – farmers, women micro-entrepreneurs, non-profit leaders, and local government leaders.  It uses participatory approaches in conducting its capacity building programs and makes use of “games” in order to “teach concepts”.  As one of the women leaders in this training remarked – “It is the first time that I understood complex financial management concepts in an easy, phased way”.

In the training, Step Up taught the community leaders the basics of enterprise management, how credit management is critical to business operations, and the different steps in ensuring that business decisions can be made based on available financial data.

Step Up Facilitates Center for Community Transformation Board Retreat

Board and Staff of the Center for Community Transformation during its Board Retreat.
Board and Staff of the Center for Community Transformation during its Board Retreat.

Step Up consulting was contracted by the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) to facilitate its Board Retreat.  The strategy workshop of the organization was held at the CCT Retreat and Training Center last 21-22 November 2014. The event was attended by around 30 board members of the big CCT Family and approximately 30 members of its senior management. The topic for this year’s board retreat is ‘mentoring’.  A resource person provided the overall context of the event, Mr. Peter Lees of Sharpeting Stone (Australia).

CCT is an organized Christian response against poverty and social injustice. This is carried out through the fusion of social development initiatives and evangelical mission in a uniquely Filipino context. It serves urban and rural poor communities throughout the Philippines, in pursuit of its desire to see changed lives, strong families, and transformed communities centered on the Lordship of Jesus Christ. From a single organization years back, CCT is now a group of 12 ministries or companies focusing on health, education, skills training, and spiritual transformation.

CCT’s board is composed of Christian businessmen who are at the helm key businesses in the country and engaged in property development, pharmaceuticals, car dealership, food and beverage, and retail supermarkets.

Step Up Assists Rural Bank of Loboc

Board and staff of the Rural Bank of Loboc during the business strategy workshop.
Board and staff of the Rural Bank of Loboc during the business strategy workshop.

After five successful and profitable years of operation, the Rural Bank of Loboc, Inc. has grown in an unprecedented pace and achieved a set of financial indicators that speak of the bank’s operational sustainability. To revisit its directions and chart a new set of goals to 2020, the Board of Directors hired Step Up Consulting to facilitate the process to assist them in looking at their bank operations and plan for the next six years.

As a culminating event,  a workshop was held at the bank’s office in Loboc, Bohol on 9 November 2014. The workshop was attended by 5 of its board of directors, one bank consultant, and all members of the staff. The workshop resulted to a strategic plan that the Board will pursue to 2020.

The Rural Bank of Loboc was conceptualized in early 2004 as a major component of The Grand Dreams for the Development of Loboc. This dream, which served as a guide for the administration of Mayor Calipusan, focused on key priority areas labeled as LITHOPE – which stands for livelihood, infrastructure, tourism, health, organizational strengthening, peace and order, and education.  The idea then was to revive a previous proposal of converting the credit cooperative into a rural bank to finance development initiatives in the municipality.  If this would not work, it was planned that local Lobocanons will be organized to set up a bank that would serve the town’s financing needs for agriculture, small and medium-scale enterprises, and other productive activities, with the end view of promoting economic growth and development of Loboc and the economic empowerment of the Lobocanons. The second route was decided as the most viable option.

To date, the Rural Bank of Loboc serves the financing needs of the town of Loboc and nearby municipalities.

Step Up assists Visions of Hope Christian School

VOHCS board and staff during the workshop.
VOHCS board and staff during the workshop.

Step Up assists Visions of Hope Christian School (VOHCS) in its strategic planning exercise conducted last 13 October 2014. The workshop was held at the Ascott Hotel Makati and was attended by the Board members and staff of VoHCS headed by Board President James Tioco.

The Visions of Hope Christian School provides free pre-school education and shares the Gospel to children and youth from poor families. VOHCS has established 27 community based kindergarten schools. VOHCS also runs three residential schools. Two of these schools, in Magdalena and in Puypuy, hoise children from the streets. The third one, in Sarangani Province, houses children from the B’laan and Taga Kaolo tribes.

VOHCS is part of the bigger Center for Community Transformation (CCT) family.  According to CCT’s website, CCT “is an organized Christian response against poverty and social injustice. This is carried out through the fusion of social development initiatives and evangelical mission in a uniquely Filipino context. It serves urban and rural poor communities throughout the Philippines, in pursuit of its desire to see changed lives, strong families, and transformed communities centered on the Lordship of Jesus Christ.”

 

It was founded in 1992 by development practitioners who believe that development strategies could best be achieved by enriching the spirituality of a person. Over the years, the Lord has enabled the organization to deliver wholistic, sustainable, and community-based programs and services that cater to the needs of the whole family. These services have opened opportunities for the community partners to grow and reach their full potentials as individuals created in the image and likeness of God

 

 

Step Up Facilitates Strat Plan for FCB Foundation

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FCBFI Team during the workshop

Step Up Consulting was contracted by FCB Foundation, Inc. (FCBFI) to facilitate the process of crafting the strategic plan of the organization to 2020. This was the first time, after almost twenty years that the foundation reviewed its vision, mission, and goals. Executive Director Panfilo Asares said “It is important that we now revisit the directions of the foundation to make it relevant to the changing needs of the times”.

The process, which began with a review of the accomplishments of the foundation in the last five years, an analysis of the emerging trends of the country and the world, culminated in a workshop attended by the Board of Trustees of the foundation and its management committee. The workshop was held on 21 August 2014 at the board room of the First Consolidated Bank, the parent organization of FCBFI.

The strategic document, the output of this process, was consolidated by Step Up Consulting, aptly titled FCBFI 2020. This document outlines the directions of the foundation up to 2020.

FCBFI was very pleased with the outcomes of the process and thanked Step Up Consulting for its work.

Step Up Celebrates 2013 with renewed optimism

Step Up Consulting Services held its pre-New Year party last 29 December 2012New Year Party at the Villa Alzhun Tourist Inn and Restaurant.  The party, attended by Step Up pool of consultants, their kids, and the trainees of the firm in the summer of 2012, was intended to celebrate the accomplishments of the firm in 2012 and also thank its main stakeholders within the firm in its contribution for the upcoming projects of the organization in 2013.

Step Up is now on its 9th year and its pool of consultants has significantly grown.  Its pool of consultants are researchers, local government practitioners, development workers, and professors who are committed to the the development of organizations, institutions, and communities.  Established as a social enterprise, Step Up is dedicated to assisting local communities, people’s organizations, local government units, non-profits, and business enterprises, in the delivery of services that benefits the society in general.

Step Up is also committed to training future leaders. As a strategy, it accepts five trainees each summer, selected from several applicants, to be trained in the provision of capacity building, financial management, and development research services to clients; these are the firm’s core services. Previous interns later became CPA board exam placers while majority now holds successful jobs within the country and elsewhere.

Step Up thanks its previous clients for believing in the capacity of the firm to provide quality services.  In 2013, Step Up plans to launch two programs that will benefit communities as well as children.

Step Up Assists a new resort in Panglao

Step Up Consulting Services, th255rough its managing consultant Michael Canares, was hired to assist the planning session of an upcoming resort in Panglao, Bohol.  The resort is due to open this year.

Mr. Canares has a substantial experience in the resort and restaurant business. He served as management consultant for almost ten years in one of the premier properties in Alona Beach – the Alona Palm Beach Resort and Restaurant before it was sold in early 2011.

Currently, Mr. Canares is also management consultant of C U Restaurant, and C U at Sun Restaurant in Panglao. In a recent talk series at the Yuchengco Museum to celebrate 150 years of Swiss presence in the Philippines, Mr. Canares, together with Alona Palm Beach Resort and Restaurant owner Mr. Marcel Brunner, talked on planning, maintaining, and constructing a beach resort in paradise.

Step Up Assists Vincentian Missionaries Social Development Foundation

Payatas dumpsite, courtesy of Sean Miller’s blog at seanmillerblogs.com

Step Up signs recently a consulting contract with the Vincentian Missionaries Social Development Foundation, Inc. (VMSDFI).  The non-government organization is based in Quezon City and has tasked Step Up to formulate a business plan for a community enterprise that it helped establish in Payatas.

The Journal of Environment and Urbanization (1998) described VMSDFI as “a church-based organization which has been working in the urban slum community of Payatas, Quezon City, since 1991, in pursuit of community development goals for the lowest 20 per cent of the urban poor population.”  Its office is located at 221 Tandang Sora Avenue, NIA Road, Quezon City.

In the initial fieldwork, it was observed that while technical skills and assets are available at the level of the people’s organization assisted by VMSDFI, management skills that would make a community enterprise sustainable is wanting.  Step Up envisions to refocus VMSDFI’s efforts in assisting the organization through the preparation of a business plan suited to the context of both the beneficiary group and the assisting organization. The beneficiary group, in this case, manufactures different products made from waste and other materials.

Lead consultant for this engagement is Mr. Alvin Luis Acuzar assisted by research associate Anthony Tanio.