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Success is when your wife loves you and trusts you, your children respect you and admire you, your peers respond positively to your influence and the world knows you have left it a better place today than when you first entered it. —Francis Kong, Angelpreneur, motivational speaker and author
In my columns, I always mention the importance of giving back as part of success. An entrepreneur’s journey does not end with success. He must continue to think and act on how he can help others reach their dreams and achieve success.
Since the launch of our Negosems (Negosyo Seminars), we have benefited over 13,000 Filipinos nationwide. All of them have made their own small steps in reaching their dream through entrepreneurship. It is fulfilling to know that we have become part of their journey by means of negosyo mentorship.
Our Angelpreneurs, who serve as the mentors in the Negosems, are often asked why they decided to join the advocacy and share their time, expertise and wisdom through their lectures.
“It gives me a deep sense of satisfaction to see in the eyes of those who attend the Negosems the hope that entrepreneurship will change their lives for the better,” shared Angelpreneur Reuel Virtucio. “Having been a teacher of entrepreneurship for the last 16 years, I have seen how effective entrepreneurship has been in transforming the lives of those who practice it, especially for those who have less in life. Entrepreneurship, if practiced well, provides an opportunity for freedom from poverty. I have been a personal witness several times of how those with a low sense of self-worth are transformed into confident leaders and masters of their own fate through entrepreneurship.” Another Angelpreneur, Ed Pilapil, shares the same philosophy with Go Negosyo: “I have always believed that one of the best ways to build this country is by developing more entrepreneurs. The Negosems provide a solid overview of the basics of having a business. These free seminars are just fantastic for our countrymen. It is a form of nation-building.”
Sharing his expertise with people through the Negosems gives him an irreplaceable feeling. “Knowing that I was able to contribute in their learning even in little ways means a lot to me. I feel that I want to give more. It is just right to help our countrymen, especially those who cannot afford expensive seminar fees,” relayed Ed.
Angelpreneur Ardy Roberto also imparts similar thoughts. “Every ‘maturing’ entrepreneur who has experienced some level of success will reach the point of wanting to give back. Joining Go Negosyo was a natural venue for me to give back and share the lessons (including mistakes and failures) in entrepreneurship that my wife and I have been blessed with in growing Salt & Light Ventures.”
Ardy also values his experiences in our Negosems. “In Pampanga, a woman stood up at the end of the Negosem to give her feedback and thanks to the Angelpreneurs who presented. Then she started crying, saying how the talks were such a blessing to her. She felt that God had led her to come to the Negosem at the most trying phase in her life. Moments like that make the traveling and time invested in others very worth it. I feel grateful to be part of the Go Negosyo movement to help people get out of poverty.”
Last June, we conducted our 20th Negosem in Lubao, Pampanga. That was the last of our first run of Negosems with the Department of Trade and Industry. Former President and now-Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also graced the Negosem. It was studded with our entrepreneur advocates and, of course, our Angelpreneurs. Aside from the overwhelming support of guests and the participation of the Kapampangans, one more thing that made this Negosem special was the “crying lady.”
Marina Lawrence was one of the attendees of the Pampanga Negosem. Since she really wanted to go into entrepreneurship, she lined up early in the morning at the registration. She took down notes and listened intently to every speaker (so did every Kapampangan in the venue).
By the end of the day, we opened the floor to the participants for feedback. When it was Marina who took the microphone and started to say thanks, tears started welling up in her eyes. As she fought her tears, she talked about the lessons she learned from the Negosem. Marina was very thankful for the opportunity, above all for the how-to lessons, and she was most thankful for her newfound hope. She said that she further realized the importance of being optimistic in entrepreneurship and in life, no matter how hard things had been for her.
We were able to sit down with Marina after the Negosem. When asked how her experience was, she said in Tagalog, “Beautiful. I couldn’t afford to study in seminars like this. Of course, I want to boost my ability. I want to be filled with positive energy and boost my knowledge about these things,” she said.
Marina is a single mother raising a son. “My child has big ambitions. He wants to become a pilot. Before, he wanted to own a private plane, then he wanted a passenger plane, then he wanted an airline. I told him, ‘Okay, son, you dream.’ Of course I support him in whatever he wants.” The future of her son is the main reason that keeps her going.
Marina used to enjoy the luxuries of a wealthy life with a husband who was a British national. She admits that she wasn’t born and raised rich, so when she had the opportunity to live her “dream life,” she did nothing else but enjoy. All the enjoyment came to an end when her husband left her, leaving her with nothing. It was a huge blow for Marina and the first thing she thought of was her son. “How would I put him through school? Everything collapsed. I became a street vendor, selling various things. I didn’t know how to begin again and how to pick myself up,” shared Marina.
She slowly found her way through a small home-based baking business. At present, Marina’s pride is the cakes and cookies that she makes from her own recipes. “I needed to think about what to do because I don’t like asking people for help,” she said. Her failure in life made her a different person, someone who is more optimistic and persevering.
Living one day at a time, Marina is dedicated to pursuing entrepreneurship. She is now thinking of ways to improve her home-based baking business. “Before, I always thought that money was what I needed to start a business. At Negosem, I realized that your first need is not money. It starts with you,” she said.
Marina is also under the close mentorship of Go Negosyo, as we have already had one session with her and given advice to level up her business model. We are now challenging her to focus on her expertise, which is to produce the best banana loaf in town with good packaging, strong branding and clear positioning. We look forward to how she will be developing her business, of course with the help of the Go Negosyo mentors.
Marina is only one among the 13,000 who were touched by Go Negosyo and our Angelpreneurs. In this advocacy, there is nothing more fulfilling for us than knowing how we have touched the lives of others and contributed to their journey towards success. After all, according to Francis Kong, we become the best that we can be by “working harder on ourselves, having a great personal growth and development program and then giving it away in terms of love and service for others.”
E-mail me at email@example.com Join me on Facebook and visit www.gonegosyo.net. Watch the Go Negosyo: Kaya Mo! show on QTV, Saturday and Sunday at 8-8:30 a.m., with replays on NBN every Thursday at 11-12 p.m.