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Throughout the years that Go Negosyo has been in existence, we gained the support of many well-abled Filipinos who have shared their time and talent in promoting the entrepreneurial advocacy. But some of our supporters have actually stepped up and went beyond our expectations in encouraging Filipinos to adopt an enterprising mindset, just like Bam Aquino. He was the co-founder of Hapinoy, a social entrepreneurship endeavor that helps stay-at-home mothers sustain their own negosyos. We have included their story in our book on young entrepreneurs. He also became a part of our team as the host of our TV show â€œSME Go!: Powered by Go Negosyoâ€.
As you can see, Bam has been with us since way back to help micro and small entrepreneurs reach higher levels. Now that he is running for a very important position this coming election, I asked him to share his thoughts about what he can do to sustain the advocacy. Here are his answers:
Entrepreneurship creates jobs. Do you think this is a very good alternative to the OFW phenomenon?
Entrepreneurship is definitely a very good alternative to going abroad. In fact, in my recent visit to Taiwan, almost all of the Filipinos I met there really wanted to go back home had there been opportunities in the country. It all boils down to opportunities. We have to make our country enticing for our people to stay at home and work here rather than working abroad away from their families.
However, for the people who are already abroad, we should be able to provide them with alternative programs to go back to the country. One way is to guide them in putting up their own business through the Go Negosyo Act, a bill which I am planning to author if I will be given the chance to do so. The Go Negosyo Act provides access to training, market and finances to ensure the businesses put up by Filipinos will be successful.
What are your platforms to support job generation through entrepreneurship?
The growing confidence of investors, both foreign and local, in the country is brought about by the leadership of the President and our commitment to Daang Matuwid. With these industries building their businesses in the country, the next thing we have to ensure is to provide them with skilled workers. In order to respond to this increasing demand from the business sector, we will legislate to improve on the skills training program of institutions accredited by TESDA and the like. This legislation not only responds to the problem of unemployment but underemployment as well. If Filipinos were given the opportunity to acquire and/or improve skills crucial to the industries we have in the country, social and economic mobility will be within their reach.
Contractualization is another problem to address. Alongside providing opportunity for Filipino workers, the legislation will also create an incentive system for companies to hire more regular employees, a win-win policy for the companies and the workers to contribute to the economy. This is a long-term solution to providing sustainable livelihood for Filipinos. Through this, these workers would be able to save up and be able to invest it into a business in the future.
The key to the growth of entrepreneurship is the expanding network of enterprises it generates. How do you think the government can help Go Negosyo, or other entrepreneur-friendly NGOs, champion the success formula of entrepreneurship further?
I am fully supportive of entrepreneur-friendly NGOs, especially Go Negosyo, so supportive in fact that I want to name the bill I will author Go Negosyo Act (should you agree). I came from this sector and I have seen how entrepreneurship has changed the lives of many people from the individuals to their communities. Legislating a bill that would be able to institutionalize entrepreneurship from the academe to practice would be able to make it more impactful in the lives of the people.
What do you think are the changes that we need to adopt to make our education more oriented towards promoting entrepreneurship?
The thrust of our education system, after K-12, is to make sure that we produce graduates that are industry competitive manpower, and this includes introducing them to entrepreneurship. I am all for the inclusion of entrepreneurship in the current DepEd curriculum possibly including it in the Home Economics program. The theories, the skills and the discipline behind entrepreneurship will be useful to the students regardless if they pursue entrepreneurship or not.
One of the things that hamper the growth of entrepreneurship is corruption and red tape in the local government levels. How do you think we can solve this problem?
There are local governments in Batangas and Cebu that already made putting up a business easy. In order to make this a national policy, we will legislate the GoNegosyo Act. The purpose of the bill is to make business licensing easy and cutting down the red tape to encourage more investors to put up their businesses. This project will also focus on giving entrepreneurs access to training, market and finances.
However, the greater goal is to change the mindset towards entrepreneurship. The government should be able to view businesses not just a way to generate taxes, but a mechanism that gives people jobs and an opportunity for people to get out of poverty.