RiceUp Filipino Farmers
“I started without much money, only people and passion. You only need these two at least to start changing your world to become a better place.”
ELVIN LACEDA, Founder of RiceUp
Elvin Laceda, a junior at BYU-Hawaii, majors in Political Science and minor in Entrepreneurship and Certificate in ASL. He is also the founder of RiceUp Filipino Farmers. He has been operating the business for a year and 5 months and he is extending his business as many province as he can in the Philippines.
His idea was inspired by his grandfather. “Growing up in Pampanga, I observed how hard my grandfather, Arturo, worked to provide for a big family. The Philippines is the 8th leading producer of rice. Yet, our farmers receive only $14 a week. Most of their income goes directly to loan sharks. They are trapped, like my grandfather, in this cycle of debt,” he said. Before launching RiceUp in 2016 in Pampamga, they just had 10 volunteers listed to interview farmers back in the village, and sent the collected data to the team in Hawaii. Then, Elvin and the team analyze and organized the data. From the fist interventions, they found that most farmers are lack of skills in business and financial management which are the cause for being trapped and not having control of their farms.
It takes time and efforts to create influences and make needed changes in villages. However, by taking advantage of the entrepreneurship program at BYU-Hawaii, Elvin was able to get resources and help from experienced entrepreneurs and multicultural perspective in operating RiceUp. One of advantages that he has been benefited from was the Empower Your Dream competition, which is held once a year for students sharing and getting funds to realize their business ideas. “BYUH’s enabling environment opened opportunities for growth, the business competitions gave us avenues to turn ideas and passions into reality,” he stated. By attending the Empower Your Dream competition in 2016, Elvin has won the first place and got $3,000 to start his Business.
Even though wining funds through the competition, Elvin also emphasized the importance of passion in doing what you love. “I started without much money, only people and passion. You only need these two at least to start changing your world to become a better place,” he said.
The vision for his business, Elvin is putting his passion and efforts to “empower millions of Filipino Farmers to become entrepreneurs, and more young people be involved in farming, ” Right now, they have 8 people in the team in the Philippines who help implement the project and about 20 partners locally.