oneAklan : A Hope for a Striving Business and Economic Development

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One Aklan, Want Aklan; I saw unity arising into action. A unified response of the Aklanon local business sectors emerging upon a temporary crisis.

This is a milestone of breakthrough for all the MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) and the local economy of the province as a whole, showing to the public their continuous efforts in sustaining and strengthening the economic growth of Aklan amidst the effects of the temporary closure of Boracay Island.

Held last August 27, 2018 at the Event Center of SM City Iloilo, One Aklan Want Aklan goes simultaneously together with the Aklan Product Showcase 2018 in partnership with the Provincial Government of Aklan, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) and Aklan Information and Communications Technology Council (AICTeC). The opening ceremony was graced by honorable guests and speakers namely, former Aklan Vice Governor and now the Executive Director of the Aklan ICT Council, Gabrielle “Billie” Calizo-Quimpo, DTI Regional Director for Region 6, Ms. Rebecca Rascon, DTI Aklan Provincial Director, Maricar Iledan Iturralde, Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship adviser for GoNegosyo and Agripreneurship, Ana Margarita “Ginggay” Hontiveros Malvar, together with GoNegosyo Marketing Officer, Paul Anthony De Guzman, and other guests from the business sector and e-commerce institutions throughout the region. The said enthusiastic seven-day event proudly displayed and showcased a vast choice of products; 133 items all-in-all coming from 53 exhibitors, and stationed with 28 vendors. This includes their artistically handcrafted bags, wallets, pouches, souvenir and collectors’ items like the adorable locally-made dolls, native arts such as necklace, bracelet, earring, and a lot more. You’ll also be enticed to savor tasting the appetizing section of local foods and delicacies, drinks, and frozen products that will certainly give you an experience of the taste and flavors of Aklan. I was also amazed that Aklan is now into producing our very own Cacao and Coffee farm products as well, and to my surprise even a local Cranberry farm producing organic pure Cranberry Juice! And who can forget the pina-fiber weaving industry of the province? The silky and skillfully crafted textile that was made to detailed perfection and exquisite design in the hands of local pina weavers of Aklan displayed during the event such as fashionable clothing, handkerchief, fan, and more. On the other hand, an added feature of the exhibit is a native “bahay-kubo” hut assembled inside the activity area that displayed different kinds of plants, native furniture items and collectibles that are 100% Aklanon made. The native hut brought Boracay’s very own art painters and caricature makers that offered services like henna tattoo and personalized caricature art sketches.

But one of the highlights was the Launching of One Aklan Want Aklan mobile app. This is a platform where you can find a one-stop-shop of all Aklanon products at your fingertips. This App is available both in iOs and Android. Heinz Militar of Selah Studio, the Senior Developer and CEO of the company stated during the launching that the very purpose why this phone and web application was made is for the sole purpose and heart of seeing the Aklan business community united, strengthened, and continually growing in a way that we can introduce our very own local products with a leap of faith looking for an opportunity to have a wider market in the digital platform for everyone especially these days wherein more are into online shopping, online selling, and delivery. We must also be innovative and cope up with the ecommerce trend. For he himself also a local entrepreneur, their business knew the mutual feeling just like every MSMEs in the region, being affected with the closure of Boracay which is one of the main consumers of their market products and services. But in spite of the closure, thus comes this initiative and a vision, One Aklan was created. As he said during an interview with ABS-CBN Regional Network – Iloilo, Part of this vision is that in the near future God-willing, that all Aklanon MSMEs will be promoted and be exposed globally thus helping the economic growth of the province, provide more jobs for the people, and increase our market shares reaching out not just our local market but internationally as well, that everything they need here in Aklan is into just one platform. And as a pilot release of the app into the public held in SM Iloilo City, thorough promotion and ads on social media, One Aklan made its first venture of operations online using direct pick-up of order in the booth during the exhibit having good feedback from those who purchased from the app. Even some Ilonggos who downloaded the app said they just seen One Aklan through a Facebook ad and they try to purchase from the app as well and their feedback was that they were satisfied for the simple yet efficient UI (user interface) which gave them the same feels just like any other online shopping app today. But in a good note, the respondents were amazed that they are doing online shopping on their mobile phones buying our very own local native products and delicacies. It may sound surreal that they are buying locally made products of Aklan at the palm of their hands, but the reality is that digital innovation for Aklan is here, it’s happening, and it’s now…

With the marketing theme – “Experience the taste and feel of Aklan”, it’s a statement that is so inviting; driven by an igniting hope that Aklan business sectors and the local government is doing its collective efforts and has a lot of resources to boost its economic growth, its stability, and sustainability. And I do believe that there is a great shift at large that is happening right now for the province of Aklan. From a shakening that birthed into uniting the province as one, for the greater things to come that God has a lot in store for the business sector of Aklan and for the future of all Aklanon in the generations to come.

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