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Last Monday, President Duterte delivered the State of the Nation Address in a different way. The simplicity of the affair was evident. He even folded up his barong sleeves. When we fold our sleeves, for me it means that we are getting ready to work. Definitely, it was a sign of being a hands-on president. I guess he wanted to make it clear to the audience that it’s the work that matters and not any other flair. His speech was easily understood by many simple folks, even our house helpers were glued to the television and understood the entire message he delivered. Pausing several time to add adlibs and extemporaneous speech, he made sure the speech was relatable. He also joked around which made the SONA more interesting to listen to.
The Duterte presidency was never expected. In fact even in his speech he said he never wanted to be where he is today and that he would just sit out in the audience. If we believe in destiny, this surely is one and I am sure for the better of many Filipinos. I can relate to how destiny works.
I have mentioned in my previous column entitled “Three Wishes,” I made a wish in a church which we visited for the first time. In my wish, I prayed Go Negosyo would be instrumental to this administration in helping scale up more micro and small entrepreneurs. This wish came true when I was offered a position and I gave it a lot of thought, but in the end I felt Ramon Lopez is the best person for the position of Trade secretary. He has been with me in the advocacy for the past 11 years and him being the secretary, I believe the position would give the micro and small entrepreneurs a better chance to move up in life.
One of the 10-point economic agenda of the Duterte administration is devoted to the development of the micro and small entrepreneurs. This has been the mission of Go Negosyo for many years. With the right mentorship, market linkage, and financial support, many micro entrepreneurs will have ways to improve and develop their enterprises. And Go Negosyo provides the mentorship through the various programs that we are conducting.
As an entrepreneur, I know the value of having mentors. For the start-up entrepreneurs taking their first steps in their entrepreneurial journey, it is an advantage to have someone who will support and guide them throughout the process. An adviser who will teach you how to make the next big step.
For micro and small entrepreneurs, it is also a plus to have big corporations lend a hand to their enterprises. Not just through corporate social responsibility programs, but also by linking them to their value chains.
To commit to the Duterte administration in helping entrepreneurs, Go Negosyo is partnering with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). This will be the first partnership among other related government agencies. We are launching the Kapatid, an initiative that aims to encourage medium and large corporations to help micro and small enterprises through the use of inclusive business (IB) models. We are considering the medium and large corporations as Big Brothers and the micro and small enterprises as Small Brothers, thus the term Kapatid.
I coined the term Kapatid, which is the Tagalog term for siblings because it is innate for Filipinos to help their brothers not just in the family, but also in the industry.
In the process of the Kapatid project roll-out, MSEs will be partnered with medium and large enterprises to develop industries as part of their value chain. To enable the MSEs to supply goods and services that meet the required standards of the medium and large enterprises and to eventually sustain their enterprise on their own, adequate capacity building will have to be provided.
And this is where the MENTOR ME Program of Go Negosyo comes in. Mentor Me, which have been executed in some Negosyo Centers like Mandaluyong and Calamba, provides the necessary capabilitiy and linkages to financing and marketing through a series of sessions with entrepreneurs and business mentors. This is Go Negosyo’s way of reaching out to more micro entrepreneurs and helping them develop the needed skills and mindset to reach success. This Mentor Me is the first program under the Kapatid Project which will soon be rolled out in all Negosyo Centers nationwide.
In the end, MSEs will then be efficiently producing goods and services that have waiting markets and will then be empowered to engage in more value-adding activities, thereby generating increased income for them. These interlinked enterprises make up industry clusters under the Kapatid will concretely contribute to industry sustainability, inclusive growth, poverty reduction and employment generation.
I have envisioned this Kapatid as a way for the micro and small enterprises to level-up and be sustainable. Despite having 99.6 percent of MSMEs in the country, only a small percentage of them aspires to grow and develop. This is why aside from inspiring Filipinos to venture into entrepreneurship, Go Negosyo’s role is to also provide the needed support for micro and small entrepreneurs and encourage them to strive to make their enterprises more sustainable and innovative.
We call out to the medium and large corporations to integrate inclusive business models in their value chain. Through the Kapatid with DTI, we hope we can address poverty, encourage entrepreneurship, and generate employment. Other government agencies like Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Tourism, Technical Education and Skill Development Authority and many more.
With the Kapatid, we are now building a network of different players in the value chain. With the different partners around, Go Negosyo, now acts as an accelerator that will encourage innovation, communication and collaboration among government agencies and private institutions that will direct efforts towards MSME development. Together, we can all create an enabling environment that create a stronger entrepreneurship culture.