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Since 2005, Go Negosyo has been advocating for a shift in the Filipino mindset and attitude to achieve prosperity. MSME development has always been at the heart of our entrepreneurship advocacy. We believe that to achieve the inclusive growth that we all aspire for, we need to equip entrepreneurs with the right tools, education, training, and most notably, mentorship, in this time of great crisis.
Due to limited face-to-face interaction and heightened safety regulations brought about by the pandemic, we shifted Kapatid Mentor Micro-Enterprises and Money Market Encounter (KMME-MME) to an online platform, making it more accessible to MSEs nationwide. This shift allowed us to provide an accessible platform for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs.
KMME-MME Online, which was developed as a practical delivery mechanism for mentorship modules, is used to educate and equip MSEs with the necessary know-how so they can successfully navigate and thrive in a challenging business climate.
This program also prepares our micro and small enterprises to transition, adapt, and most importantly, thrive in the digital economy. This is especially critical as thousands of businesses – from micro, small, medium enterprises to large corporations – have been confronted with numerous setbacks due to COVID-19.
Like the original program, KMME-MME Online provides 10-module mentorship sessions where mentees can gain and deepen their knowledge of essential business concepts. More than 150 businesses had applied for the program, but only 50 online mentees from different parts of the country were selected to be part of the pilot run. Sessions were held twice a week, every Tuesday and Thursday.
During the online graduation of the first batch of mentees, I was able to meet Michelle Bradley. She is the wife of Christian, another entrepreneur whom I had previously met in July 2018, at the Mentor Me On Wheels (MMOW) in Davao.
Like myself, Christian strongly believes that we all should be open to becoming entrepreneurs, and not simply focus on securing a job after school. Christian’s lack of a degree did not prevent him from becoming a successful entrepreneur. He finished high school through the Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the Department of Education and managed to start his entrepreneurship journey.
Because his family was financially-challenged, he tried all sorts of jobs — from selling fish at the market, to becoming a security guard in the city, to becoming a car agent. In his last stint, his passion and interest as a vehicle enthusiast gave him the idea to launch his own car accessories business. Around this time, he met his wife, Michelle, who lent him P100,000 to start his business.
Three years later, the car rental business of the husband-and-wife tandem, Bradlee’s Rent A Car, hit a million pesos in sales despite the pandemic by responding to residents’ transportation needs.
From one car in 2017, the business now have a fleet of 41 vehicles. They have also established several solid partnerships that have allowed them to add more vehicles for rent. In addition, they now offer a range of allied services like car wash, car accessories, rent-to-own cars, and other auto solutions.
Together with the DTI and Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council, Go Negosyo is in the process of selecting the second batch of mentees from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, with the goal of launching KMME-MME Online this month.
Last July 8, during a TV interview, I came across Jamaica Mae Dela Torre, and her partner, Larry Ayora. The couple and their son traveled to Manila in October last year in search of better opportunities to sustain their family’s growing needs. They live together with 25 other workers in a laundry company in Las Piñas where Larry works. I offered Larry a job, but he decided to take a leap of faith and embark on his entrepreneurial journey by returning to Bicol and starting a small sari-sari store.
Christian, Michelle, and Larry are a testimony to the growing number of fearless, young individuals who are venturing into business and braving the challenges that come their way.
With COVID-19 upending lives and businesses all over the world, it is now more important than ever to equip our MSMEs with the right knowledge and know-how, and link them to different networks to help them cope, scale-up, and thrive in the new normal. For 15 years and counting, Go Negosyo continues to commit to this mission.
As we embark on Pooled testing, our objective is to increase the speed in testing and lower the prices to between P350 to P500, depending on the number of pooled people to be tested. While the US uses five samples in a pool it is because the prevalence of the virus is high. For the Philippines, which has a lower prevalence of COVID 19, the research hopefully will point to a higher number of pooled samples of 10 or more. Go Negosyo Project ARK has funded the research on Pooled Swab RT-PCR testing, a pragmatic multi-site operational study with PSPI, together with the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) COVID Testing Laboratory as Site Implementor.
We have to understand why regular testing of employees and residents in different localities through their LGUs, using both the new game-changer strategy of testing which is the pooled PCR testing, as well as antibody rapid test, will help us win this war.