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At the event of the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc., which was themed, “AFFinity 2019: A Summit on Relevance and Innovation”, I shared the beginnings of my entrepreneurial journey and failures in some business models which taught me lessons that may not always be learned in school.
Eventually, over the course of my entrepreneurial journey, I realized that the path towards success is not fast or easy, or even a straight line. I learned that it’s ok to recalibrate and change direction; you just have to keep on trying. Most importantly, one failure does not mean you won’t succeed ever. You just have to find out what works. In fact, it might be comforting to know that most of the successful entrepreneurs do not succeed on the first try.
In another event with the CITI Microentrepreneurship awardees yesterday, one entrepreneur shared that she had only finished high school and I told her that I, too, have not finished college. I have not graduated from the De La Salle University, failing to finish one subject. I told her that does not mean she will not succeed as an entrepreneur. She, too, has the same chance with those who graduated with honors. My point is that intelligence is a great advantage, but that doesn’t assure success. I think what is more important and critical, when talking about the needed qualities of a successful entrepreneur – is your positive attitude in life – how you look at it, and what you do with it.
Before, I was asked what is life without substance and purpose? For the past 14 years, I have met thousands of people, some of whom are now part of Go Negosyo. I have worked hard to spread our advocacy of helping others and develop our micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). These bountiful years are testament to that clear vision, want for unity, and strong partnerships. We together can uplift our nation.
It has also been more than 14 years since I was given the initial opportunity to extend my advocacies to the MSMEs in the country as the presidential adviser for entrepreneurship by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and subsequently President Duterte. With a vision of promoting inclusive growth and development that is felt by all sectors, we forged on with our projects aimed at building and strengthening the entrepreneurial capacity of each Filipino.
Last Nov. 15, my wife, Marissa, and I were recognized as the “Couple of the Year” at the Philippine Tatler Ball 2019. Let me share with you my speech during our recognition:
“This is a pretty unusual award. I was telling my wife that at least now, I am recognized as a good husband, officially. But seriously, I guess it is because of my work as an entrepreneur, helping the government help other entrepreneurs, small people, strive towards a better future.”
Help our overseas Filipino workers to dream that one day they can come back home to the Philippines because they do sacrifice their families’ time, their wife or spouse by leaving and working hard to generate income for their families just to give them a better future. Sometimes the problems of that are the social ramifications whereby they end up with a broken family and there is a lot of that now.
“Marissa and I have been married for 36 years now, and it has not been the perfect marriage. I mean, us, the Concepcions, we argue about the little things, too. To be able to nurture a marriage that will last until the end takes consistent effort and commitment between partners. I respect the late John Gokongwei and his wife, Elizabeth. To me, that is true love, when you pass away a week after your husband dies. And I told my wife, we better live long.
Thank you Philippine Tatler for this honor and I hope, we in our small way, serve as an inspiration to all of you.”
At the end of the day, family is the most important to both of us, and so we’ve dedicated our life as a married couple to ensure that we protect, provide, and give our children the best life possible and to mentor them.
Success is never easy; it is a continuous process of failing, learning, and recalibrating how we do things in life. It may be hard and confusing, but with great mentors, we are able to make the most of this journey.