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Coming together at Briggy Hall

Building on the concept of community, Briggy Hall provides home-based food vendors a physical place to do business.
By Lalah Varias |

It is no surprise that Ivanna Aguiling would start a business that would benefit not only her pocket, but those of others as well. She is, after all, an instructor and program manager at the University of Asia and the Pacific–Center for Social Responsibility. In November 2011, she launched Briggy Hall, a community café in Pasig City that also serves as an incubation channel for fellow start-ups in the food and beverage sector.


Apart from playing on the concept of the barangay hall—a regular gathering place for a community, hence the business name—here is how she made the business work:


Discern the right time For Aguiling, reaching her “three Ps” was the cue. They stand for period: an increasing pressure to materialize herpassion as she nears 30; place: available space in a  community driven place; and person: her personal readiness.


Know your passions “Putting your money where your heart is” is an essential approach in business development. Aguiling’s passion for social responsibility, for instance, is the core component of her business. “Briggy Hall is a merger of two passions—food development for my mom and social responsibilityfor me,” she explains.



Set a different selling proposition


While Briggy Hall seems like a typical food court, it goes the extra mile by creating opportunities for microentrepreneurs. Aguiling positions the place as a social enterprise. “It provides solutions to problems of high initial investment and lack of business knowledge,” she says, adding that Briggy Hall aids start-ups in terms of capital and strategy.


Look for business inspirations


No business is completely unique. Entrepreneurs usually look at several inspirations for the business type and strategies for development. While Briggy Hall differentiates itself through its advocacy, it still drew inspiration from conventional business models. One such peg was “the raw, dynamic, and grassroots feel of the ‘kopitiams’ in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) and in Singapore. A kopitiam is a gathering of food vendors occupying fixed stalls, as in a food court, in a typically open-air environment.


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