Funds for Philip­pines

Kwinana Courier - - News -

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.

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