Franchising and Business Opportunities Forum at Fiesta in America aims to create entrepreneurs
Prof. Eric Soriano, a National Agora Awardee for Excellence in Marketing Education by the Philippine Marketing Association, will conduct a forum on business and franchising at this year’s Fiesta In America, which will celebrate its 18th anniversary on August 13 and 14 at the Meadowlands ExpoCenter in Secaucus, New Jersey.
The forum is designed for heads of family businesses and entrepreneurs on the lookout for investment opportunities in the homeland.
Joining the franchising and business opportunities forum is Organique, a growing company cultivated from the ground up by childhood sweethearts, Elton and Cathy Salimbangon. Organique is one of the leading manufacturers of various Acai products.
Many immigrant couples in America today will be able to relate to the story of Elton and Cathy, who for 15 years lived a reasonably modest life in the United States. He was working in a manufacturing company that produces healthy beverages while she was working as a registered nurse in Southern California.
Elton, while watching a TV program sometime in 2008 came across an infomercial that featured superfood acai berry and its health benefits. He told the story to his boss and he was advised that their company was already developing an acai-based drink. Since this first acai product failed, Elton asked his boss if he could reformulate it.
He toiled and worked diligently around the clock with the research and development team to come up with an acai product that would sell well. Acai berries are known to have long been a staple to the diet of the indigenous people of Brazil. Acai has ten times more vital antioxidants than grapes and in fact, richer than other common fruits and vegetables combined and due to its high antioxidant content, Acai helps in our body’s detoxification, giving skin a healthier glow.
“We started from scratch. We started from acai berry. Acai berry is very bitter but I was thinking ‘Filipino’. It has to be a sustainable taste – not bland or anything. We put on some apple juice and put in some other mixes until we finally got the consistency right,” Elton said in an interview. It took several months to create the amazing, delectable taste that Organique is known for today.
Their journey to where they are now began in earnest back in October 2008 when Cathy and their kids went back to the Philippines. Just to see if the product will fly, Elton sent her the concoction he created, in a small white bottle with no name nor any labels. The reception was good.
Armed with great feedback, the couple soldiered on. Organique, Inc. started to take form as Cathy started selling it to her family and friends. In the beginning, Elton purchased excess acai berries from the company where he worked, but as his own product expanded and the demand grew, he had no choice but to invest and buy thousands of gallons. Despite the sky-rocketing amount of shipping charges, Elton pushed through further because he believed in his vision.
“At that time we didn’t have anything at all. We didn’t know anything. We didn’t have the money to start,” Elton confessed. When they decided to relocate in the Philippines in 2009, they set up a small office in the corner of their house made of concrete and wood, and without even paint.
Fast forward to 2016 – from a simple experiment, Organique has now grown into a multinational corporation, continuing the promise to bring the best quality and standard of their acai products to their customers. Their acai products are now available in Watsons, Mercury Drug, Robinsons Supermarket and Southstar Drugstore nationwide. Originally starting in the Philippines, Organique now holds several markets in the US, Hong Kong, and Middle East; and is rapidly expanding.
Elton and Cathy’s success story will be one of the many inspiring tales of successful entrepreneurial spirit that will be told and shared at the Fiesta in America for Prof. Eric Soriano’s franchising and business opportunities forum next month.