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 PCW

PCWStep Up Consulting Services assisted the Philippine Commission on Women in refining the results chain of one of the components of a project it implements with the support of AECID.  This activity was done in a training workshop held in Manila last 19-21 November.

The training workshop was attended by representatives from 6 provinces, namely, Aklan, Albay, Iloilo, Mindoro, Saranggani, and Surigo del Norte as well as by representatives from the Project Management Office and the Philippine Commission on Women.

The objectives of the training-workshop were to make participants understand the  basic concepts and principles of RBM as a tool in project development and management; practice the use of the RBM tools using the three-year project target for LGUs; arrive at clear indicators for the 3 year-targets and provide an overview of project development and management including its planning methodologies and tools.

The participatory, inter-active, and activity-based learning sessions proved productive with the adult learners.  The participants were able to efficiently assimilate new concepts better because of this approach.  Likewise, the RBM workshops helped crystalize ideas of participants and made more explicit their theories of change in so far as the project is concerned.

The diversity of outputs is impressive in terms of sectors and themes.  Saranggani concentrated on indigenous communities and indigenous women, Aklan on VAW victims, Albay on disaster-prone communities.  Surigao del Norte and Mindoro focused on women entrepreneurs while Iloilo tried to cover several marginalized women groups.

Step Up will continue to assist PCW in this project.

Step Up Managing Consultant Speaks at Yuchengco Museum

Michael Canares, Managing Consultant of Step Up Consulting Services spoke on the topic “Planning, Constructing, Maintaining A Beach Resort in Paradise”. He shared the panel with Marcel Brunner, Swiss architect who built Alona Palm Beach Resort and Restaurant in 2000.

Mr. Brunner talked on the his dream of constructing a beach resort in Panglao, Bohol which he later implemented while Mr. Canares walked the audience through the challenges of maintaining the resort to standards, given the larger problems on spatial planning, environmental condition, and uneven development.

It can be recalled that Mr. Canares was Alona Palm Beach’s management consultant until the time that the property was sold to Hennan Resorts.

The lecture was held last 24 November at the Yuchengco Museum in Makati City.  It was attended by more than 150 people – architects, architecture students, investors, and academics.  The lecture is part of the lecture series that the Swiss embassy sponsors at the Yuchengco Museum in line with the 15oth celebration of Swiss-Philippine Relations.  An exhibit, Swiss Positions: 33 Takes on Sustainable Approaches to Building is also on-going the the museum and the lectures  that come with it runs until the first week of December.

The audience was challenged by Mr. Canares when he argued that much of the built environment in the next 100 years will be shaped by planners, architects, engineers. Mr. Canares challenged the architects in the audience to help society build a sustainable world.

2 Step Up Consultants Attend OEGN Meeting

OEGN TagaytayTwo consultants of Step Up Consulting Services attended the Open eGovernance Research Network Meeting held last 10-11 November 2012 at the Potter’s Ridge Hotel in Tagaytay.  The meeting was sponsored by IdeaCorp, a non-stock non-profit corporation with Dr. Emmanuel Lallana as head.

Resident statistician of Step Up Ms. Jare Arawiran and Managing Consultant Michael Cañares attended the meeting. Mr. Canares presented the research proposal on open egovernance for local government units developed by the firm which initially got the nod of the World Wide Web Foundation and IDRC.  Dr. Lallana is the Step Up’s appointed mentor.

The research network meeting was attended by researchers from across the globe, more notably Uganda, Canada, India, Bangladesh, and the Philippines, who are at the forefront in researching topics related to eGovernance.

Step Up in 2nd M&E Network Forum in Manila

Michael Cañares, Managing Consultant of Step Up Consulting Services attended the 2nd M&E Network Forum held at Bayleaf Hotel, Intramuros, Manila on 7-8 November 2012.

The forum, attended by more than 100 M&E practitioners, was the second series of the annual forum sponsored by the National Economic Development Authority and UNICEF. This year, the theme of the forum was EVALUATION POLICY: A GATEWAY TO IMPROVED PERFORMANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY, and it opened with the Keynote Address of Mr. Colin Kirk, the Director of Evaluation of UNICEF in New York. The first M&E Network Forum was held last year, on the same date, in Ortigas (please see photo).

There were four interesting sessions in the forum – In-Country Processes and Procedures for National Evaluation Framework, Evaluation Approaches and Methodologies, Innovations on M&E Approaches, and Evaluation as Undertaken by Stakeholders. Presenters coming from the development organizations as the Asian Development Bank, NEDA, Ibon Foundation, the National Statistical Coordination Board, the Department of Interior and Local Government, USAID Philippines, GIZ, UNICEF, and DBM, made the sessions interesting and insightful.

An interesting information was shared in the forum by NEDA Deputy Director Rolando Tungpalan regarding the updating of the Philippine Development Plan and the corresponding M&E framework that is expected to be publicly available by the first quarter of 2013.  The participants expressed appreciation for this new development as this would serve as a guide to various stakeholders in their work towards a better Philippines.

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.

Step Up signs 2 new financial management contracts

Step Up Consulting Services starts today work on 2 new financial management contracts that involves preparation of financial statements. The contract signed between the firm and two repeat clients was intended to clean up financial data and prepare financial statements for three periods.

Financial management has been a core expertise of the firm for more than 10 years. The primary services offered by Step Up Consulting when it started in 1998 was training (what Step Up now calls as capacity building) and financial management.  It started with small contracts until of small firms until such time that it was able to handle corporate accounts.  The experience of Step Up on financial management is also extensive – from government institutions, to corporations, and non-profits.

In the past, Step Up has several companies – Save and Earn, Alona Palm Beach Resort and Restaurant, Dagohoy World Travel, Sparks Financing Corporation, Feed the Children Philippines among others. As it embarked on new forms of services, more particularly research, Step Up decided to streamline its financial management services and accepts only select clients in the recent years.

Step Up Assists Bicol Center for Community Development

Step Up Consulting Services assisted Bicol Center for Community Development (see logo in this post) in its recent Strategic Planning Workshop held in Daraga, Albay last June 23-24, 2012. The workshop was attended by its board headed by Mr. John Abejuro and the organization’s staff headed by its Executive Director Ruby Desolo.

The workshop intends to craft the organization’s directions in the 2013-2017 by revisiting its vision, mission, and goals, analysing its current context including its organizations capabilities and the challenges confronting the communities that it served or intends to serve.  These two processes led to the redefinition of BCCD’s core services, the criteria for outreach, and the strategic directions that the organization wants to pursue in the next five years.

Ruby Desolo, ED of BCCD expressed appreciation to Mr. Michael Canares, Step Up Managing Consultant and lead facilitator of the 2-day workshop and reported that BCCD Staff and Board were so happy of what they have accomplished in two days because of the latter’s excellent facilitation.

Step Up Consulting Services has long years of experience in strategic planning exercises.  The firm is committed to assist organizations in their pursuit of better performance and the attaintment of organizational directions.