DD2: The overwhelming support for local entrepreneurs

A rising tide lifts all boats.

With the exciting news of Davao City being named the “Cacao Capital of the Philippines”, I am excited to have one of the founders of Cacao Culture on the show – Shiela Reyes-Lao. 

Cacao Culture Farms is a social enterprise that seeks to help cacao farmers and women in our community by developing and promoting cacao-based products and encouraging entrepreneurs to use high quality, locally and ethically sourced cacao products from the Philippines. Cacao Culture Farms’ cacao products are proudly locally grown, harvested, and processed in Davao City.

Sheila and I talked about:

  • Transferring from Manila to Davao City – Why Davao?
  • How Cacao Culture as a business, dealt with the pandemic
  • How badly did this pandemic affect them? 
  • Customers changing their shopping methods
  • How their online presence helped them during these times
  • The overwhelming support for local entrepreneurs 
  • The adjustments they did because of the pandemic – processes, platforms, logistics, etc.
  • Embracing technology in these times
  • One piece of advice for other entrepreneurs during these times
  • Re-opening of Cacao City physical store 



Kenneth and Shiela Reyes-Lao were tech-entrepreneurs based in Manila. They ran a tech startup company funded by Globe Telecoms under Kickstart Ventures in 2013. They decided to move to Davao City in 2016 seeking a new pace and lifestyle away from the busy corporate and technology startup scene. Looking for opportunities, they found themselves attending agricultural seminars hosted by local organizations. They did not have any experience in agriculture but fell madly in love with Cacao and the idea that they can grow their own chocolate. They jumped into the opportunity and never looked back.

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