Janine Mikaella Chiong

Janine Mikaella Chiong

Champion of Local Artisans

Janine Chiong is an entrepreneur who leads Habi Lifestyle, a social enterprise that gives local communities a livelihood, allowing them to showcase the best of what the country can offer. The artisans create products such as footwear, jewelry, and travel accessories. According to Janine, “The challenge in working with different communities is being able to work with what they can do instead of forcing your ideas on them.”

“Social entrepreneurship was attractive to me because I felt it was the greatest equalizer,” Janine says wholeheartedly. “To show what people are good at, rather than what they lack.”

Women
of the World

Janine Chiong is an entrepreneur who leads Habi Lifestyle, a social enterprise that gives local communities a livelihood, allowing them to showcase the best of what the country can offer. The artisans create products such as footwear, jewelry, and travel accessories. According to Janine, “The challenge in working with different communities is being able to work with what they can do instead of forcing your ideas on them.”

“Social entrepreneurship was attractive to me because I felt it was the greatest equalizer,” Janine says wholeheartedly. “To show what people are good at, rather than what they lack.”

Janine Chong already showed signs of being an entrepreneur at a young age. She would sell earrings and chocolates to her classmates. What really drove her to start her own business, though, was her experience with Musmos, her college org, which endeavors to take care of underprivileged children. Through Musmos, Janine’s views on poverty changed, and saw the people she interacted with in a whole new light.

Musmos inspired her to pursue social entrepreneurship. She began Habi Lifestyle as her thesis project, allowing her to combine her dream of starting a business and provide an avenue for people to hear the stories of the community members she worked with.  Habi became a venture to give the community a livelihood, allowing them to showcase the best of what the country can offer. The artisans create products such as footwear, jewelry, and travel accessories. Habi enabled them to live out their culture without compromising their roots. According to Janine, “The challenge in working with different communities is being able to work with what they can do instead of forcing your ideas on them.”

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“Social entrepreneurship was attractive to me because I felt it was the greatest equalizer,” Janine says wholeheartedly. “To show what people are good at, rather than what they lack.”

Janine credits her business partners and her mother Joy as her support system. In fact, it was Joy who helped fund the business in the beginning. In addition, Janine is grateful that the local artisans are open and willing to collaborate with them. She beams with pride whenever she sees the potential realized in someone she’s been coaching and working with. Witnessing their community partners innovate and dream bigger fills her with joy.

“Social entrepreneurship was attractive to me because I felt it was the greatest equalizer,” Janine says wholeheartedly. “To show what people are good at, rather than what they lack.”