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I was fortunate to have joined the forum last week at the BPI Foundation’s Sinag Challenge awards, to share my insights on the current entrepreneurship landscape in the country. The BPI group, thru BPI Family Bank, has long been a partner of Go Negosyo as they have set financing programs that focus on helping the SME’s grow.
The forum also had Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Dr. Cielito Habito, DTI Undersecretary Zeny Maglaya and Oliver Segovia of AVA Online Group. We covered many facets of entrepreneurship development. Dr. Ciel mentioned that while small entrepreneurs must strengthen financial business management, they must also horizontally integrate and be a stronger part of a value chain. Jaime, meanwhile, recognized the efforts of many entrepreneurs who have supported social causes and addressed social development issues.
The government works as one in empowering entrepreneurs as mentioned by Usec. Maglaya. DTI has programs which are focused on small entrepreneurs such as the Shared Service Facilities and the various trainings and business support services for SMEs.
Since we are now living in the digital era, Segovia, who leads an e-commerce company, shared we must continue to improve our technologies in order to keep up with the fast-paced digital developments.
As for my part, I shared that in Go Negosyo’s 10 years of going around the country, visiting provinces and small towns, we have seen the improving quality of entrepreneurship, now more idea-based and creativity. The need to create entrepreneurs is definitely there, but we have to look at the education system. As Jaime said, education is really important in shaping the proper mindset in the youth today.
We need to level-up further the quality of our teachers, beyond the academics but more of instilling the right mindset in terms of attitude and competence. The youth must believe they are the masters of their own destiny. They can dream, believe and achieve.
Our education system also needs to encourage more interest in math and science competencies. Technology is definitely the game of today and the future. And the only way we can create new entrepreneurs is to get them to a different level. Technology somehow breaks the barrier because there is a direct communication between the entrepreneurs and the consumers. Inspiring technopreneurs we have featured were Dado Banatao, Doy Vea of Smart, RJ David of OLX.ph and Nix Nolledo of Xurpas. Nix Nolledo is one young entrepreneur who in a few months has a marketcap of close to P25 billion and has overtaken the big guys.
But entrepreneurship is challenging for many. We have a lot of entrepreneurs out there, but many are what we call surviving entrepreneurs. They are the ones running their sari-sari stores and carinderias who remain micro-entrepreneurs. But how do we help them to level-up? This is where we must push for inclusive growth.
Go Negosyo’s network of entrepreneurs practice the inclusive development by guiding small entrepreneurs. The key is mentorship. We are glad Sen. Bam Aquino, who has been part of advocacy for many years, has authored the Go Negosyo Act. We are targeting to have over 1,600 Negosyo Centers over time that will act as mentors to many micro-small businesses. But these centers will be useless if we don’t bring in the experienced mentors who can really give sound advice. As I have seen in many start-up entrepreneurs, they really need guidance. In the upper AB market, kids are fortunate to have their parents as mentors. But when you go down to the bottom of the pyramid, the young kids will not have the same opportunity. Hopefully, these Negosyo Centers will have the right mentors for them. Young entrepreneurs who are guided with the right mentors have a better chance to succeed.
There is one advice I wish to share to the kids, “Do not start a business if you are not ready.” Just because entrepreneurship is being promoted and negosyo is the cool thing to do, one must not just follow if they are not into it. The right time will come when you will know it is your time to start a business. But you can start developing the same right mindset and values that make an entrepreneur successful in order to be successful in the organizations that you now work for. This is what we have to do in our organization; we get employees to think like entrepreneurs. And somewhere down the road you will see that, as they gain confidence and as they make mistakes in our own companies, they will be ready eventually to start their own business. I’m glad to share that many of our previous employees have left Go Negosyo to start their own businesses.
While we have a ready pool of mentors and lecturers, or what we call Angelpreneurs, we need to institutionalize and expand the structure to be able to support the mentorship requirements in the hundreds and eventually over a thousand Negosyo Centers located in all cities and municipalities. We will invite more enabler institutions and mentors with the heart to teach to join our Mentor Me program. We encourage those who can help to join us.
This is one volunteering task that can make a difference in the lives of others. Young kids or aspiring entrepreneurs from the mass-based communities will be given a better chance to succeed.
Congratulations as well to the BPI Sinag Challenge as they encourage more social enterprise concepts that aim for Profits with Purpose. I shall feature next time these inspiring social enterprises that are making a difference in the communities they serve.