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For the past three weeks, this column tackled two of the most serious problems that our country faces today, as cited in a survey: hunger and corruption; and, naturally for me, those issues were discussed in the context of entrepreneurship. Also, rather than dwell on the endless debates about the problem, I chose to focus more on the solutions.
In our last weekÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s issue on corruption, we stressed that corruption should not be associated with the level of poverty and stage of development. Rather, we see more of this issue in countries with relatively poorer socio-political structures and in regulated environment with vague rules and procedures which makes the system more vulnerable to abuse. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a good thing that in our country, thereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s increasing consciousness on how to improve corporate governance, both in private and government sectors, and how rules and procedures are getting tightened to minimize rooms for corruption.
The reality however is that corruption still exists in almost all places in the world, although in varying degrees. Surveys on these issues should not at all discourage us but just to remind us of what we all need to do urgently so these problems are minimized. Problems should not get in the way of entrepreneurs in fulfilling their vision and ambitions. They should remain focus in seeing through the realization of their business ideas and plans. All successful entrepreneurs, and many are part of the GoNegosyo ecosystem, are living proofs that everything is possible. Once micro and small entrepreneurs, they have pursued their dreams and have grown in the past years, focus on their business models and unperturbed by any socio-political scenarios, facing constant challenges and seeking endless opportunities to become leading entrepreneurs of the country today. They are now the job and wealth creators of our country, helping uplift the economy and the condition of our people.
These are the people we need to encourage. They take control of their own destiny and not leave it to bahala na attitude nor just depend on others. This is what GoNegosyo is trying to change. So letÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s get inspired with stories like these and not lose hope. I remember the Angel Story we featured in this column regarding Estrella Castillo. She is an example of a person wanting to take control of her life and who did not let her health and financial condition and other macro issues affect her vision. Mrs. Castillo is just one of the many aspiring entrepreneurs who sought business advise from GoNegosyo because she wanted to augment her familyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s income to help sustain her familyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s medical needs. She realized that the only way to overcome her financial obstacles was to improve on her existing business and pursue additional business opportunities. She has written me again to give an update. Because of her perseverance, remaining focused in growing her business, coupled with advise/assistance from GoNegosyo and mentor Butch Jimenez of PLDT, Estrella is now the proud owner of an internet café called the “East Station Internet Café”, aside from managing her salted egg and balut business, on which she is also doing some business repositioning and expansion, with the help of other GoNegosyo mentors.
Just recently, I also got an email from two young girls in high school who want to be entrepreneurs. They are examples of how we want our nation of young kids to be. Let me share with you their letter:
Dear Mr. Concepcion:
Warm greetings! I and my high school student sister would like to ask your advice and assistance to be able to continue and expand our micro website and graphic designs service business for small and medium sized firms this summer.
So far we were already able to make five (5) websites and several graphic layouts through our dadÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s assistance. Now itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s up for us to source out new clients on our own which we have done through Buy and Sell, Express Ads, mini-posters etc. We already have several inquiries but it seems they cannot yet afford our rate which we have already lowered down to Php 2,550 for a 10-page website.
Unfortunately we donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t know if we can survive on our own with the present market and economy set up. We hope you and your colleagues can help refer us to those who can afford websites otherwise we will be forced to shut down and just concentrate on our vacation and studies but first thank you for your encouragements to young people.
We really like the idea of doing business and earning even before finishing school and we are actually inspired by our dad who was already doing business while still a high school student in Don Bosco through the initial support of our grandfather lawyer turned businessman.
Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you and God bless all Filipino entrepreneurs!
Zandro George V. Dadivas and Julienne Joyce V. Dadivas
We are providing them other potential clients, but let me invite and extend their offering to anyone out there who would need their services. Please email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watch out too as we enhance the Forum section of our gonegosyo.org website where one can post products and services offered by any entrepreneur; as well as the other side of the coin, which are the raw material and service requirements of others.
Here is the last batch of responses from entrepreneurs and their views on how to minimize corruption:
Mariano Manas Jr.
(CEO and Chairman, M&H Foods Corp./ Hen Lin)
Entrepreneurs can influence the government to address the issue of corruption by stressing to those concerned the need and importance for moral transformation and good governance. Good governance creates an environment of efficiency, orderliness and above all, it can minimize if not eradicate corruption. Corruption impedes progress. A progressive nation benefits its people.
The Philippines may be one of the most corrupt countries in Asia but this should not discourage investors to invest here because there are other positive factors that they can consider in making their investments viable and potentially profitable (and their stay here really enjoyable).
Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip
(Managing Director, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development Inc.)
At the mutually reinforcing institutions of CARD, we wanted to help people who help themselves on the basis of sustainability. We give trust and confidence to our socially and economically challenged members and we have proven that for 20 years, we have assisted them to move out of poverty. We know that in making our members to be microentrepreneurs and employ people within their community, we help in minimizing the number of poor people solely dependent to the Philippine government. This situation minimized the opportunities of doing corruption among these societies as there are less room for dole-outs and government full intervention on the needs of the poor.
The experience of CARD may influence the government that in providing opportunities for the Filipino poor, we can build better societies and attract more investors since the poor have proven that they are also entrepreneurs in their own way.
[For feedback, you can email me at email@example.com or thru sms at 09175591245. For free business advice, visit www.gonegosyo.org or watch the Go Negosyo Bigtime TV Show every Monday, 10:30pm in RPN9.]