Generosity economics

Chit Juan

Chit Juan

How refreshing to have lunch over good conversations, especially about economics. Don’t get me wrong. I do not mean “guns or butter” or “supply and demand” like what we learned from Mareng Winnie in Economics 11. I mean simple economics driven by generosity.

On my third encounter with Chef Myke “Tatung “Sarthou, I am even more convinced that he is a chef of a different kind. Chef Tatung started his restaurant business with savings of just P100,000 and if you see his present operations, you will look with disbelief at this guy and maybe think he is pulling our leg about his start-up funds. Today, no one can start with just P100,000 for a full restaurant.

What does he do? He practices “Generosity Economics.” After being blessed with people who lent him a Million Pesos “just like that” and having friends who lent him good furniture “payable when able”; Chef Tatung pays it forward by teaching and helping others who may have the same values of humility and “stick-to-it-tiveness”.

Truly there is such a phenomenon in the entrepreneurial world. Stay humble and the money will come. Stay focused and more people will take notice. Still not convinced? Teach others how to make money and karma will reward you when you least expect it.

We at ECHOstore started our small social enterprise with just P600,000, an amount which may not even buy you a famous franchise brand or business. We envisioned to help others sell their products, we wanted to share what we knew with regards market access, culture and operations. Friends and new friends came to ask us what we needed. Strangers and newfound friends came to help us with programs even as far as from Guimaras and Sulu.

Why does this happen? The laws of karma maybe? Do good and good will come back to you? Be generous and the money will come? After all, what was common between us as we found out in our story-telling with Chef Tatung is our belief that “money is not everything!”

I have always believed that “if you do good and you help many people, the money will follow. “This is the spirit of social enterprise. And THAT is generosity economics.”

What about management of businesses? We both believe that we must lead with values. You will notice that companies who are able to retain employees until retirement have a quality that many new start ups still do not have: Management by Values. This is an asset not written in Accounting books and not subject to VAT or capital gains. It is like your brand name, but it is not “sellable” or “tradeable”. It is merely passable to the next generation.

My father was lucky to have a set of loyal employees, whose children worked with our generation and whose third generation still works for our family. These loyal employees think of the company as their own and manage the day-to-day operations like we would.

My mother has kept her cook whose children came under our employ and nieces and nephews still work for a branch of our family. Like a dynasty but in a positive way, these families are intertwined with our parent’s values passed from one generation to the next.

Just like in business, management principles do not have to be from Wharton or Harvard. Management by values beats any case study on loyalty and profitability done because of someone’s principle or belief. It IS management by values. And it is learned early in life, at home and in the community. When employees work closely with the owner as in Chef Tatung’s case, they imbibe the owner’s values and practice it without having a rulebook or employees manual.

Anyone, regardless of educational attainment, can learn and live by these two tenets of success: generosity economics and management by values.

Yes, we may never have gone to Business School, but we sure can learn these two truths in the School of Life. And it still works. Immutable since I saw light and will be true forever.

Do you know people like Chef Tatung? Think about it. Maybe these are the only secrets to success. Be good, share and teach your people well.

Chit Juan is a founder and owner of ECHOStore sustainable lifestyle, ECHOmarket sustainable farms and ECHOcafe in Serendra , Podium and Centris QC malls. She also is President of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and President of the Philippine Coffee Board Inc., two non-profits close to her heart. She often speaks to corporates, youth and NGOs on social entrepreneurship, women empowerment, and coffee. You can follow her on or find her on facebook:Pacita “Chit” Juan. Email her at


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