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We first launched Go Negosyo in 2005 when we had a series of consultations and dialogues with the entrepreneurship stakeholders, including Commission on Higher Education(CHED) and Department of Education(DepEd) with the vision of building a nation of entrepreneurial Filipinos. But I can clearly remember the first big Go Negosyo Summit in February 2006, as if it just happened yesterday. We had to close the doors of the Every Nation Victory Church in Taguig because of the overwhelming volume of people who wanted to join. It was also the day when the military coup took place. We had to decide then to continue with the summit to drive home the point that we need more empowering activities instead. We then immediately mounted a Go Negosyo seminar and expo for the military and police families, the following month in Fort Bonifacio gym, to help address the needs of the sector. A few months after, we did the Technopreneur Summit to promote technology-based negosyos.
Eight years have passed since then and those were years of several Summits and seminars offered to the Filipinos â€” eight meaningful years of existence that are meant to inspire and empower our countrymen. The years have vibrantly passed in a flash.
Counting and reflecting on the time that passed, I can really say that we had amazing years of spreading the entrepreneurial mindset in our country. We owe our success to our supportive partners, selfless angelpreneur-lecturers and entrepreneur advocates from the private sectors, government and other non-governmental organizations. Looking back at our timeline since Go Negosyo started, I am thankful â€” for the advocacy has accomplished and been blessed with so much.
Also in 2006, Kevin Belmonte invited me to write a column in the Business section of the Philippine STAR. My very first column was entitled â€œSource of Business Inspirationâ€ under the column title â€œAsk Go Negosyo.â€ I shared these first thoughts:
â€œThe time has come that we are now to see optimism at work. Hopefully the Filipino people will realize that the very pessimistic attitude can only take us to nowhere. The results from last yearâ€™s concerted efforts are how optimism affects positive change so quickly. For us to encourage more entrepreneurs or negosyantes in this country, optimism must prevail over pessimism.â€
During the same year, we also launched the Go Negosyo Big Time TV show on QTV-11 (now GMA News TV) and NBN 4, and thanks to our trustee Atty. Felipe Gozon and the management of NBN 4 for giving this advocacy the airtime until today. They have helped a lot in spreading the advocacy nationwide and worldwide.
2007 â€“ â€œTeach a nation how to fishâ€ became our premise in Go Negosyo. We published our first bestselling book Go Negosyo: 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories. In the same year, Go Negosyo became Gawad Kalingaâ€™s major partner in hosting a summit that advocated for building GK homes and pushing for agribusiness-based communities.
2008 â€“ During the 22nd commemoration of the EDSA Revolution, Go Negosyo received a special award from the EDSA People Power Commission (EPPC) for promoting EDSAâ€™s spirit of peaceful unity, brotherhood and economic empowerment toward prosperity.
2009 â€“ Go Negosyo received the People of the Year Award from People Asia magazine, given to those who have greatly contributed to Philippine society. Our TV show also received the Anak TV Awards for two years as well as Anvil Awards for Advocacy Communication. I also had the privilege of serving as the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprise Development Council.
In partnership with DTI, we have organized Go Negosyo seminars in 16 provinces throughout the country, and we did about the same number of seminar caravans in the following three years to bring the learning sessions to the remote areas in the country.
We also had the very first Women Entrepreneurship Summit and Youth Entrepreneurship Summit during the year, which both became annual Summits until this year.
We also partnered with major corporations who share in the same vision of helping the microSME sector. This is led by PLDT SME Nation, Smart, Meralco, RFM, BPI Family, DHL, LBC, Avon, GMA, Philstar, DZRH, Orchard Marketing, Isuzu, Condura and many more.
We also extended our advocacy to our brothers in the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa when we did Negosyo seminars for two years.
The year also blessed me with another space in The Philippine STAR, which is this column that comes out bi-monthly Monday. This column was originally called â€œTagumpayâ€ â€” a space that gives me more opportunities to share inspiration and stories of success.
All these blessings continued in 2010 and in the same year, I was also fortunate to have represented the Philippines in President Obamaâ€™s Presidential Entrepreneurship Summit.
2011 â€“ We introduced the Negosyo Mo, Bukas Ko (NMBK) Program, a corporate social innovation for our out-of-school youth. We also had the first OFW & Family Summit in partnership with the Villar Foundation. That year also marked the start of our Magandang Business Advice (MBA) program that provides next-level learning session such as venture planning and initiation â€œDream – Believe â€“ Achieve: Turning Passion Into Dreams.â€
We started Pilipinas: Now Is Our Time, a campaign and battle cry that aims to encourage our Filipino countrymen to take charge of their destinies NOW. The advocacy also went international when Angelpreneurs Go Negosyo seminars and mentorship to OFWs in Rome Italy and the following year in Bahrain.
2012 â€“ We started bringing the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES) to provinces such as Quezon, Cebu, CDO, Davao. Last year also marked our involvement in the first Filipino-American Leadership Program of Ambassador Joey Cuisia. We also started our weekly radio program Go Negosyo sa Radyo, with the support of DZRH.
2013 â€“ The second run of the Filipino Technopreneurship Summit was held at the SMX Convention Center. It was a significant return of the program after it was first held in 2006. We started new programs like the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Training with Microsoft and ASEAN Foundation and the SME Roving Academy with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
For the past eight years, we have published nine books. We are currently in the process of producing the 10th Go Negosyo book in partnership with the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
We have also added to our regular NegoSem (Negosyo Seminar) Basics, the Magandang Business Advice (MBA) program, where we now offer courses on Franchising, as well as Marketing and Innopreneurship (Innovation + Entrepreneurship) with Go Negosyo Angelpreneurs Butz Bartolome and Josiah Go, respectively.
In life, each one of us has been given a chance to serve and improve the lives of others. Regardless of our religion â€” Christian, Muslim, Jewish or Protestant â€” the gift of life is given to us to bless others. I thank all of our Go Negosyo angelpreneurs, advocates, mentors, bossings and supporters for joining our cause to better the lives of our Filipino micro small and medium enterprises.
As eight amazing years have passed, we continue to stay committed to the Go Negosyo advocacy. As we strive for eight or more years, we hope for more entrepreneurs, partners and Filipinos to join us in teaching the nation how to fish.