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Just eight more days to go before Christmas… My youngest daughter would always remind me “Papa, eight sleeps more.” At three years old, she is the most excited to open her gifts. And, during the birthday party of Tessa Prieto-Valdez’s daughter Athena, she was surprised to see Santa. My daughter said, “Santa is so fat!”.
For children, Christmas is such a special thing. We are reminded of how blessed we are that our children are able to have their parents with them. There are many OFW parents out there who are not able to come home. Many are not as fortunate to have gifts to open during Christmas. With countless of parties to attend prior to the Christmas day, sometimes we forget the real meaning of this celebration.
While Christmas has been commercialized to some extent, it is simply about how we make our Christmas a special holiday. It is the time of the year when we check and cross out our list for presents. For many, it is a small way of showing love and appreciation to people in our lives.
Aside from giving and receiving gifts, this is also the season of sharing blessings in life and extending a helping hand. In our own little way, Go Negosyo has committed to giving back by way of empowering different sectors with the right positive attitude to succeed in life. For those wanting to become entrepreneurs, we teach the basic knowhow in starting and growing businesses. We adopted the familiar quote “teach the nation to fish, feed the nation many lifetimes”. Throughout these years, we have been working with hundreds of Go Negosyo advocates, mentors and corporate partners, mainly PLDT SME Nation, Smart, BPI Family Ka-Negosyo and RFM, as well as the Department of Trade and Industry.
Recently, we have conducted special Negosems (Negosyo Seminars) for the OFWs, for the blind people and their families, and for the inmates of Muntinlupa’s maximum security Bilibid. Those were interesting experiences. Angelpreneurs like Dean Pax Lapid, mindset adviser Ping Sotto, Luis Cruz and our executive director Mon Lopez would not consider those sectors as the regular attendees in our caravans and events. Having the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and somehow help improve their outlook and approach in life or in business, is always a fulfilling effort.
During the Negosem for the inmates, it was our team’s first time to go inside the maximum security area of the Muntinlupa Bilibid. I also remember that we had the chance to do a Go Negosyo forum early this year with Atty. Gozon in Bilibid, but it was at the medium security area. We were there to inspire and mentor the inmates who were about to be freed.
Thank you to the Baliklaya organization of Ateneo and to the Jesuit parish priest Fr. Haw for providing another opportunity for us to extend our programs to this sector. Many inmates produce very nice paintings, sculptures, gift items from recycled plastic cups. We believe that the products are very good and can be marketable, only if there are regular outlets outside Muntinlupa. Our mentors are now exploring steps in marketing these products online. They are planning on having online catalogues, art shows or having regular outlets in partnership with other groups.
We were pleasantly surprised during our Bilibid experience. Things were in order inside. It was like a normal community within walls. Inside, there are roads with small stores, chapels from different religious groups, products and wares on the sidewalk. The small roads pretty much resembled the streets in Manila. There was a tennis court and a basketball gym where we had our Negosem.
There were around 300 inmates in orange shirts. It seemed like we were in an election campaign. We were pleased with the attitude of the participants. They were very attentive and quite sharp with their questions.
One of the active participants was one of the painters. He said that they are lucky to be visited by different groups that help them. He mentioned their need for assistance in marketing their products outside, so they can have a regular source of income. We also noticed that some products need some design assistance, so that it can be more sellable. We would be happy to have them tie up with our mentors and design consultants. The DTI’s Design Center and OTOP team can also check how they can assist this sector.
The other Saturday, Go Negosyo also had the privilege of conducting a Negosem for the ATRIEV School for the Blind. The group, headed by Tony Llanes, is one of the partners of Go Negosyo. They invited a community of about 200 visually impaired and their sighted family members. We were able to present them with topics that address their strong need to enhance their income-generating skills. Tony mentioned that some of their members are really having difficulties in life, but they are constantly fighting. We welcome any other groups who would like to reach out to them and assist in any way.
There are a lot of other marginalized groups that need assistance. Many groups have surely embarked on their respective corporate social responsibilities. I believe there is a growing consciousness. More and more people are realizing that we don’t live alone in this world. There are many people who are hungry, ill-equipped, uneducated, and disabled. There is a huge task ahead for all of us who are more blessed. It is not just about us anymore. It is about challenging ourselves each day to make a difference in other people’s lives.
I was sad to hear that Val Suarez, president of the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), resigned. During his short stint with PSE, his performance was extremely exceptional. The stock market achieved an all-time-high. Val had a different way. When each company would list their shares, top celebrities like Lea Salonga, PBA players and even PNoy would grace the ringing of the bell of each company that went public during that day. He knew how to market the PSE. His wife Cecile was already with JP Morgan prior to Val’s appointment. The two worked independently. Val, congratulations for a job well done.
Contact me: email@example.com or Joey Concepcion Facebook account. Visit www.gonegosyo.net. Watch the top rating entrep show GO NEGOSYO: Kaya Mo! In QTV, Saturday and Sunday 8 to 8:30 a.m., with replays in NBN every Tuesday 8 to 9 p.m. Get daily Go Negosyo Text Tips in your mobile phone by sending GONEGO to 2910.