Funds for Philippines
Singleton resident in crowdfunding Pitch for Good.
THOUGHTS of home are never far from the mind of Philippines-born small businesswoman Erica Urquiaga.
The Singleton resident has for the past two years funded a Christmas party in her home region of Sipulan in Zamboanga del Norte for children living in poverty through her online cookie business Baked by Erica.
She recently took part in the inaugural Pitch for Good in Perth, a live crowdfunding event, in the hopes of achieving her ultimate goal of building a community cafe in the Philippines, with profits going to education and training of locals.
“Many people leave the region to work, often leaving young children behind, as they feel it is the only way to make a good income and improve the quality of life for their family,” Ms Urquiaga said.
“My hope is that we can change the mindset and teach people the skills to improve their day-to-day lives, like sustainable gardening, art or cooking, so they don’t have to uproot to have a good life.”
The Christmas parties have already proven a success, with up to 200 children and parents enjoying a sitdown lunch and gifts organised by friends and family of Ms Urquiaga. Gifts include practical items such as gumboots, umbrellas and raincoats for the rainy season ahead, as well as colouring books, crayons and more.
“We wanted it to be a mix of things that are practical and fun,” Ms Urquiaga said.
She launched Baked by Erica two years ago, baking soft cookies for delivery and sale at markets such as the Perth Makers Market to rapid acclaim. She was named one of the Top 50 Small Business Leaders in Australia by Inside Small
Business magazine, made Kenwood’s Cooks Collective Top 10, won gold for her cookies at the Perth Royal Show and silver at the Araluen Avocado and Chilli Festival.
The Pitch for Good was at the Perth Town Hall on October 11 and a 30-day online crowdfunding campaign will follow, with all projects seeking to reach their target goal.
“It’s not competing against these other worthy projects, it’s working together to create more visibility around each project and reach our goals,” Ms Urquiaga said.
For more information, visit www.impactseed. org.au.
Erica Urquiaga is using her online cookie business to improve the lives of people in her home country of the Philippines.