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Kuya Kenneth Burgers’ Journey: Tenacious entrepreneur sets the wheels in motion

The wheels were set in action in 2019 by a rising businessman who loved selling and wanted to launch his own company. He had been fantasizing about completely altering his life to raise the standard of living of his family.

Kenneth Balmoja is the youngest of six children of Mr. & Mrs. Eulogio R. Balmoja Sr., a resident of Barangay 04, San Mateo, Isabela. Ten years ago, his parents passed away. He had to stop studying due to financial difficulties and as a result, he lost hope but luckily enough was able to stand back up and start hunting for work and was fortunate enough to be hired as a worker and painter in a construction company.

Knowing that his pay was not sufficient for his family’s needs and that pursuing that career path wasn't exactly what he wanted to achieve in his life, he set out to start his own business.

When teenagers wanted a snack, one of the most common terms they used was KKB (Kanya-Kanyang Bayad). Kenneth came with the idea to use the letters KKB for his potential business since he knew that they would be memorable to everyone, especially children. His passion for cooking, selling, and as a burger lover led him into venture and make his own signature burger.

He thereafter coined the term Kuya Kenneth Burger (KKB) for his business. The project started with a capital of just P1,000.00 as he began selling hamburgers in April 2019 during the Summer Basketball League Competition in his town, utilizing a modest display booth outside the New Community Center.  Even when rain is heavy, he pushes himself in selling burgers because he has to support his wife and son who depend on him. It was incredibly difficult at first for him, but he never gave up.

Later, he endeavored to have his own kulong-kulong so he could transport his goods to different locations. This would allow him to do selling even when it was raining. Using his knowledge of construction projects, and a modest amount from his profit, he assembled a kulong-kulong made of wood and borrowed money from his brothers as a down payment for a motorcycle.

Not long after, the first rolling burger in town was born. In addition to being reasonably priced, Kenneth's burger has a satisfying blend of flavors and textures, including salty, sweet, and sour, with a hint of crunch.

The COVID-19 Virus hit the business on March 17, 2020 and Kenneth was forced to pause while he considered how to deal with limited mobility caused by the pandemic.

"I had to change course and reconsider my business plan. Along with my buddies, I started providing home deliveries and remote orders,” Kenneth said. Sales and income for Kenneth have been steadily declining, and occasionally they were only at break even.

When all hope seemed lost, a barangay official announced to all snack vendors and rolling vendors in the barangay that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Region 02 would be providing assistance through the Province of Isabela and LGU-PESO San Mateo called I-RISE and Livelihood Starter Kit Project that include s: cooking utensils, gas burner, oven, burger pan, bread and burger patties and etc.

The assistance proved to be a gift, a blessing, and a springboard for a new beginning for his livelihood, coupled with Kenneth’s belief that he needs to invest in himself before investing in anything else by improving his skills, education, and experience.  

Kenneth’s achievement is a manifestation of his courageousness to endure every adversity he faces as he goes through his life. As a result, he finds more significance in life. Failure and obstacles are transient. They come and go, but the act of proving your capacity to prevail in combat is what matters most. ###

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