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Talking to Doris Ho of the APEC Business Advisory Council and the Magsaysay Maritime group is always inspiring. She has been very much involved in this year’s Philippine hosting of a number of APEC summits and high-level sessions. Early this year, she broke the news that for the first time, APEC will be having an SME Summit, a reflection of the degree of commitment in APEC to promote the development of SMEs in the region.
As APEC enhances further economic cooperation, the condition of SMEs and how they can be encouraged to level-up and innovate on their business models to maximize the gains from APEC regional cooperation must be addressed. Afterall, the SMEs account for 99.6 percent of businesses in the Philippines which employ about 70 percent of our country’s labor force. SMEs play an important role in the economy. They, however, account for only over 30 percent of the country gross value added. It becomes imperative, therefore to consolidate all possible efforts to upgrade the value added contributions of SMEs.
As we all know, value added is a reflection of the incomes and profitabilities of the SMEs and it is therefore important to empower the SMEs with the right mindset and competencies to be smarter, innovative and more profitable entrepreneurs.
This is why Go Negosyo has always focused its efforts in the past 10 years in enhancing the capacities of SMEs. We believe in “teaching the nation how to fish, to feed her many lifetimes.”
This year, we’ve partnered with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and Asia Society Philippines, led by Doris Magsaysay-Ho, in hosting the 2015 APEC SME Summit on Nov. 17.
The SME conference will feature speakers whose big ideas and innovative solutions have inspired positive changes in their industries and the world. The Summit aims to challenge the traditional SME framework and mindset in order to motivate APEC entrepreneurs to rethink and recreate the way they do business, as well as to look at their products, services and business operations through the lens of innovation to successfully meet the demands of the 21st century global market.
With the theme: “Innovation and Big Ideas: Pushing Boundaries,” the APEC SME Summit 2015 will bring together the region’s micro, small and medium-sized business entrepreneurs to share success stories of SME innovation and internationalization, as well as to highlight institutional support mechanisms proven to drive innovation-based SME growth.
This will be attended by 450 entrepreneurs and enablers, and about a thousand more watching the sessions and exhibits in the adjacent halls. Various groups like the micro entrepreneurs, the youth, the students and academe, including the top student-delegates of the Go Negosyo Building Enterprising Students for Tomorrow (BEST) Program will be invited.
The conference shall cover topics such as “How We Learn: Innovative Models for Inclusive Education” which will be discussed by two of Go Negosyo’s featured entrepreneurs in our books, Dado Banatao of Tallwood Venture Capital and Sheila Marcelo of Care.com. Other confirmed speakers are Jonathan Swanson of Thumbtack, Wendy Kopp of Teach for All, Juraj Vaculik of Aeromobil, Karen Reddington of FedEx Asia Pacific, among others.
An exhibit of innovative and game-changing products and services will also be featured during the summit. It will showcase 25-30 world-class, cutting-edge business solutions and other groundbreaking technological advances from across the APEC region. This covers all fields and sectors from agriculture, creatives, manufacturing, services, finance, science & technology, gaming, and others. A special side event will feature 20-minute scheduled talks by exhibitors designed to demonstrate the innovations in their products and creations, and give a unique opportunity for exhibit guests to give valuable feedback, exchange ideas and create network in a more personalized environment.
I am glad to see the SME sector is finally being given the attention it deserves. Just last year, Sen Bam Aquino authored the Republic Act No. 10644 or Go Negosyo Act, promoting job generation and inclusive growth through the development of micro, small and medium enterprises. The Act mandates the creation of Negosyo Centers, under the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), in each city and municipality around the country. These Negosyo centers are meant to make it easier for entrepreneurs to register and start up their businesses, as well as gain access to sources of financing, market linkages and mentorship.
Let us continue to push for smarter small and medium entrepreneurs who would be the game changers and key drivers of our country’s economic growth, one that is more inclusive. Let’s Go Negosyo!
Being concerned with the overall macro socio-economic development and the policy environment that will govern the lives of all entrepreneurs, Go Negosyo is shifting its regular Negosyo Talks into a Meet the Presidentiables Series that will allow the current presidential candidates to dialogue with our community of entrepreneurs and enablers. It will give them the chance to present their platforms and policies, as well as listen to the pulse of the entrepreneurs sector. Our first gathering has been set next week, on Oct. 8, with VP Jojo Binay as the first candidate to confirm availability on said date. We shall have the sessions with former Sec. Mar Roxas and Sen. Grace Poe on November and December. Together with the Sta. Elena Group of one of our trustees Alice Eduardo, the TV5 and the PLDT SME Nation shall also be our partners as the sessions will be televised in their network.