After leaving the corporate world, this entrepreneur has found a new family at the coffee farm. This familial relationship proves essential in overcoming setbacks.

Returning to the Philippines entailed a lot of adjustments for Michael Poblete Asuncion. The former investment banker traded his suit and tie for shirt and jeans as he started helping Silcafe, the coffee brand his father built, and working on his own coffee brand, Kick-Start.

“I started knocking on doors and waiting to meet buyers to present our coffee. Sometimes I would wait for 2 hours, then get a text that the buyer would need to reschedule, so I would come back the next day or the next week. It was not easy,” Michael recounts.

From holding offices in steely skyscrapers, Michael found a new home at their coffee farm and facility in Cavite. Being a family-run company, the familial spirit extended to their employees and the communities they engage with.

“We have several employees who have grown as the company has grown. We are a family-run business and our people are like our family,” Michael says. “We have Cavite farmers that are second-generation already, so our business together has helped put them through school and support their families.”

Having been able to overcome the blow of the global financial crisis in his own career more than a decade ago, Michael knows the importance of resilience and building more meaningful relationships as his company wades through the brunt of COVID-19. 

“Since the institutional sales have dropped, our efforts are more focused on retail. We are fortunate to have a strong relationship with SM, so during Covid, we are able to expand to new SM stores and expand our distribution reach. We are supported by SM with more in-store displays and we increased our social media marketing,” says Michael.

Silcafe and Kick-Start products are available in Kultura stores located inside SM Malls. You may also order them and other uniquely Filipino products online at launching soon.

To know more about Silcafe and Kick-Start, visit their website

[Photos from Silcafe and Kick-Start]