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Last Monday, amid issues and paranoia surrounding the threats of the new coronavirus in the country, Go Negosyo successfully launched its second mentorship event of the year featuring key government officials and industry leaders.
There may be risks at stake, but any fears about the disease that our dedicated mentors definitely had were overpowered by their even stronger desire to help our micro, small and aspiring entrepreneurs. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, who is Go Negosyo’s ever-reliable partner and ally, as well as first-time mentor Science and Technology Secretary Boy de la Peña, served a number of mentees who had lined up in the event as early as 8 am.
Our icon mentors also took time off from their usual busy schedules to listen to the stories of the small entrepreneurs aspiring to be just like them. Mentors such as Bernie Liu of Golden ABC Inc., Dicky Yujuico of PCCI, Ruel Maranan of Ayala Foundation Inc., among others, welcomed a total of 1,000 MSMEs who came all the way from different parts of the country to join our rollout. Indeed, threats posed by the nCoV did not dampen these small entrepreneurs’ spirit and determination to seek better opportunities for themselves and their families.
I, myself, was happy to talk to a number of microentrepreneurs during the one-on-one mentorship sessions. One of the mentees I’ve come upon was Osias Senajon Jr. Osias is a returning seaman who grows and sells bangus fingerlings as a business. However, the business suffered a setback when his father made one wrong investment. I thought he has a very viable business model, so I helped introduce him to the banks and fin-tech platforms who were also present during the event, from where he might get the capital he needs in order to bounce back.
Another mentee I was able to sit down with was Adelaida Combo, market stall owner who always finds that her earnings are insufficient to sustain her family’s needs. The problem is because most of her profit goes to her loans and the micro-lenders who charge high interest rates. I thought that she could do very well if she could only get a more reliable lending institution, so I introduced her to a financial counselor. I also emphasized that being educated is not a requirement to become successful and that all she needs is her determination, passion, and focus to increase her savings and grow her business.
The stories of our mentees’ struggle and success are what fuels Go Negosyo to mount such programs. Nothing should stop us from going after and grabbing opportunities, especially opportunities that can lead us to the realization of our fullest potential.
I believe that panicking amid an unfortunate situation can only make things worse. We should always make sure we possess all the right information before taking any actions especially those which will have great public repercussions. We need to listen to the right authorities and refrain from circulating rumors or fake news, otherwise, we are only creating another problem instead of being part of the solution.
As per the announcement of the Department of Health, there are no Filipino cases of nCov in the country; the three cases of the virus reported were all Chinese nationals. Except for the first who had died, the two other patients have now recovered. There are persons under investigation, but no Filipino confirmed case yet.
And despite the occurence of nCoV cases in the country, we assure all our future participants that Go Negosyo will always implement the proper safeguards in all our future events against the virus. Our events are our way of giving back to our micro, small, and aspiring entrepreneurs, and our utmost priority is their welfare and well-being.
This Feb. 28, Go Negosyo is leading another mentorship event specifically catering to women entrepreneurs. On March 2, we will also launch a by-invitation-only forum to celebrate the contributions of our local and global women icons, as well as some of the country’s national living treasures. And on March 3, we are pushing through with our most anticipated women negosyo summit of the year, the WOMEN 2020 Entrepreneurship Summit. We have invited speakers such as Catriona Gray, Charo Santos-Concio, as well as women leaders across the ASEAN. We hope the summit can be a platform for identifying best practices on how a woman can set out to be a successful entrepreneur, both locally and globally. We will also be giving away free Go Negosyo book, “21 Steps to Start and Grow Your Business” to the first 3,000 MSMEs who will attend the summit.