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Go Negosyo ended its caravan series for this year last Tuesday with PWD’s (People with Disabilities) Can Go Negosyo! at the DLS College of St. Benilde. In spite of the very short notice, several Go Negosyo entrepreneurs gladly came with the hope of inspiring the PWD’s. But instead, we all came out the ones who got inspired. We were very inspired that in all the sharing, the word “inspired” always got mentioned. Go Negosyo for PWDs can be considered the best among all the caravans we have done so far. CSB President Brother Vic Franco said it all when he addressed the participants that “It is not a matter of Aptitude but ATTITUDE that will determine your Altitude”. This is also what Go Negosyo has been advocating for, as we go around the country thru our caravans and events with different schools and with the various speaking engagements we attend to. In many of my talks, I always say that I was not gifted with superb aptitude having failed Grade 3 and barely making it thru college but maybe I have been blessed with the right optimistic entrepreneurial attitude, the same mindset change that Go Negosyo has been advocating for.
The five PWD entrepreneurs that we awarded last Tuesday also possess the right attitude. They have taken control of their lives and despite their disabilities, they overcome their physical challenges and came out having dignity, being productive, inspiring others and contributing well to the Philippine economy. PMS head Cerge Remonde and Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar and other entrepreneurs were very emotional as the five inspiring PWD entrepreneurs were being awarded.
The inspired entrepreneurs were Dra. Vicky Belo, Cecilio Pedro of Lamoiyan Corp., Carla Limcaoco of Philippine Transmarine Carriers Inc., Chit Juan of Figaro, Maoui Arroyo of Hybridigm Consulting, Les Reyes of Reyes Haircutters, Victor Tan of Bobson Jeans, Paulo Tibig of V Cargo, Chris Tan of Ideal Minds and Edmund del Rosario of 3M Pizza. We were also happy to see Jajo Quintos of IBM and known Australian business consultant Peter Wallace who came to witness the awarding of Antonio Llanes Jr. of ATRIEV, as one of our five Most Inspiring PWD Entrepreneurs. I was glad to see Peter Wallace in a Go Negosyo event and outside his usual economic briefings, as I found out that he is active in his own advocacy of mentoring ATRIEV school for the visually-impaired, as its chairman. Very encouraging indeed.
For those who were not able to attend the awarding ceremonies, let me share with you their inspiring stories:
Dennis Rhoniel Balan has been running his studio, DRCB Photography Services, for more than 11 years. Despite initially losing four clients due to miscommunication, he persevered and is now rendering his services to an average of three to four weddings a month. He was also a bronze medalist in the 2003 International Abilympics (photography category) held in India, and is an active member of the Wedding and Portrait Photographers of the Philippines. He also teaches photography to his fellow Deaf in the College of St. Benilde and employs them for his shoots.
Another awardee, Jocelyn Garcia, is the chief operating officer of Tahanang Walang Hagdanan (TWH), a non-profit organization that has been providing programs and trainings on livelihood and basic education for persons with disabilities. TWH has also been an active advocate of PWD concerns such as job placement, mobility aid assistance, sports and recreational development, and community-based rehabilitation. Believing that their products can compete in the international market, Jocelyn Garcia also helped establish the TWH Business Center, a venue where PWDs can showcase their products and services in order to facilitate access to local and international markets.
Antonio Llanes Jr., on the other hand, founded the Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration, and Empowerment of the Visually Impaired or ATRIEV, the first and only non-government organization in the country to institutionalize information technology access for the blind and visually-impaired. Antonio remains steadfast in revolutionizing ATRIEV and its services, especially its core project, the Adaptive Technology Training, Resource, & Access Center (ATTRAC), which revolves around computer training for the visually impaired, supported by social marketing, technical support, and related projects and activities.
Another awardee, Juan Benedicto “Dickoy” Magdaraog, is a magazine writer, industrial design expert and the creative director of a small start-up called Sparkplug Studios. Aside from his business endeavors, he is also a staunch advocating for the increased awareness of Pompe Disease, a rare and recessive genetic disorder which has not stopped him from becoming one of the notable figures in the PWD business sphere. He puts importance to his work not for money but for his sense of dignity and contributions to society.
Our final awardee, Ma. Gilda Quintua, directs traffic for MGLQ Deaf Tour Assistance, an agency which is managed by travel enthusiasts and dynamic young deaf Filipinos and is engaged in tour-related assistance. MGLQ has assisted PWD tourists from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Pakistan, Japan, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, and the USA. Since 2004, MGLQ has been providing deaf tourists with services like reservations and bookings for international and domestic flights, hotel accommodations, and tour management within the Philippines. As head tour guide and CEO of the agency, Gilda is very much exposed to the traveling industry, frequenting historic places to better know them for the benefit of her clients. She strongly believes that she can help deaf tourists from all over the world know each other’s cultures and traditions.
These stories have been truly inspiring for everyone who attended the event and we will be featuring our awardees again in the Christmas Special of the Go Negosyo Bigtime TV Show on Dec. 24.
Below is a heartwarming letter I received from one of our awardees, Mr. Dickoy Magdaraog:
Dear Mr. Concepcion,
I’m writing to thank you and the Go Negosyo group for the award. I am truly honored to have been chosen as a recipient of the award.
I am a ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¯Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Ârm believer as well that in order for our country to prevail over poverty we must encourage and inspire more people to be entrepreneurs. My being an entrepreneur was not planned. It was by circumstance that I started a business of my own. However I am thankful that God has granted me an opportunity to be one.
My path as an successful entrepreneur still has a long way to go. My business is very small. I am, however, inspired and encouraged once again, having experienced the GoNegosyo event this morning. The other awardees as well as successful entrepreneurs such as Mr. Cecilio Pedro inspire me to keep pushing forward. Business and social-responsibility can co-exist.
I honor you and the whole Go Negosyo group for the job you’re doing. I pray that God grant you the resources to be successful in inspiring more of our countrymen to be entrepreneurs and help improve the lives of Filipinos.
Once again, I thank you for the award. It means a lot.
Juan “Dickoy” Magdaraog
[For feedback, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or thru sms at 09175591245. For free business advice, visit www.gonegosyo.org or watch the Go Negosyo Bigtime TV Show every Monday, 10:30 p.m. in RPN9.]