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For the past weeks, Go Negosyo’s Mentor Me program, a component of Kapatid, Angat Lahat, travelled nationwide to bring the mentoring program to different provinces. We have launched the project in Baguio, Tarlac, Cavite, Iloilo, Tacloban, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, General Santos City, and Lanao Del Norte.
From these nine roll-outs, we have heard inspiring stories of many micro, small, and aspiring entrepreneurs. Let me share some with you.
First is Tatay Santi Tababa from Tarlac. He’s 81 years old and has 10 kids but he has proved that entrepreneurship does not have an age limit. Despite his age, he started his business, Ross Rothgar Agriventures Inc. His micro business produces and processes turmeric or luyang dilaw.
Tatay Santi’s mother-in-law, who is an herbalist, encouraged and motivated him to start this business model. He is a member of the Association of Tarlac Organic Producers, a beneficiary of the Shared-Service-Facility (SSF) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
From handwritten labels and logos, Tatay Santi was able to improve the packaging and the labeling of his products. Even without an endorser, he is a living testimony of the effectivity of the product because even at his age, he does not experience any illnesses. When asked what is his motivation to keep going despite getting on in years, his answer is simple: “Ang pamilya ko. Gusto ko i-angat ang buhay ng pamilya ko.” (My family. I want to improve the life of my family.)
The second is Jay Acosta, a student turned entrepreneur who we met in Tacloban. He was inspired to become an entrepreneur when he read one of our books. From learning business skills and knowhow from our book, he started the business Pixiliters Graphic Studio. Since then, he has used our book as his reference and guide in his journey.
We also saw how a former mentee has become a mentor. Andrew Cabillas, who was one of the delegates in our program Young Entrepreneurs Development Workshop (YEDW), used to be a mentee of Go Negosyo. He even shared that he was mentored by Sec. Mon Lopez and this helped him in his restaurant. Today, he is now one of the mentors in Lanao del Norte.
There are stories of triumphs, of trials, and of sacrifices. These simple stories of why people are into entrepreneurship keep Go Negosyo moving. There are many anecdotes of those who took the challenge of becoming an entrepreneur. Yes, being an entrepreneur is challenging, but with a positive mindset, knowhow, coupled with passion and perseverance, plus proper mentoring, one will become successful. Throughout our 11-year advocacy, we have heard many inspiring stories. And I believe we will learn more empowering entrepreneurial journeys in the future. The spark that we started for the entrepreneur community a few years ago continues to burn and is more ablaze because of the current support of the government and the active private sector.
On Friday, Oct. 7, we will launch the Mentor Me program in Cebu and Davao. This is a special event because it will happen simultaneously. Together with the local DTI headed by regional director Aster Caberte for Cebu and regional director Bel Ambi for Davao, we are bringing entrepreneurs and experts to the two provinces to start the mentoring.
I cannot stress enough the importance of mentoring. This is vital to every entrepreneur as they take their small steps in the business up to taking big leaps in the future.
If ever you are watching popular talent show America’s Got Talent, you may have heard of Grace VanderWaal. She’s a 12-year-old singer from New York. During her audition, her mom narrates how she, at the age of three, wrote songs and music. Since then, her mother and sister guided and supported her well in her craft. They were her mentors. Before her performance, Simon Cowell asked her if she believes she can win, and she proudly answered, “I know miracles can happen, so possibly.” As she performed, she was all smiles, singing her heart out, and the audience just felt her genuine talent.
But it is not just because of a miracle. This teaches us that whether we are young, old, rich or poor, with inspiration, courage and the right attitude, we can succeed in life. This is what the mentors of Go Negosyo and DTI do, they motivate, teach, and guide the aspiring, young, and start-up entrepreneurs. Eventually, these micro and small entrepreneurs will become the next big thing in our country!