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The Villar Foundation, through its managing director Cynthia Villar, has been a Go Negosyo advocate for quite some time now. Cynthia is the wife of Manny Villar whom we all know as the person who climbed his way up from poverty and has inspired many of us.
Cynthia has also motivated us with her own efforts. From being a congresswoman-turned-social entrepreneur, she has been recognized in Europe during the United Nations 2011 Water for Life Best Water Management Practices. And today, Villar Foundation and Go Negosyo are making another milestone as we mount the 2nd OFW and Family Summit.
We all know that OFWs are the reason why our country’s foreign reserves today have reached an all time high. Aside from the dollar inflows, this phenomenon has spurred the real estate sector and consumer spending that we are now seeing. Many OFWs are obligated to help their families whom they left behind — they do it to have a house, see their children get a better education, and hopefully, to save so that they can give their families a better life. But this comes with a social cost. Not having a parent or even both parents around compromises the value formation of the children. A number of broken marriages became the result of the very long separation between couples. But what is the alternative? There are not enough jobs generated, and as the population grows fast, they would rather leave and seek greener pastures abroad than fall into extreme poverty. To their minds, being an OFW is the best alternative that will give their children a chance to have a better future.
Yes, they are the new heroes, as we owe them for bringing the dollars in. But what happens after 10 years? What is the impact to the lives of their families? The Villars sell a lot of real estate to many overseas workers, but like Go Negosyo, they too are concerned about the plight of our OFWs. What Go Negosyo and the Villar Foundation hopes to achieve in this one-day summit is to show them the roadmap to success and happiness. And it has to be both—one can be financially successful but not happy, as success will not be definitely worth it if their children lose the proper values.
Our program will start at 9 in the morning, which will be highlighted by speeches from myself and from Cynthia as well. There will a forum that will feature OFWs who actually turned into entrepreneurs, and they will be sharing their experiences during their “Saudi days” that I am sure the audience can relate with. We have invited engineer-turned-agriculture entrepreneur Engr. Rolando Acain, Mike Cases of Tito Mike’s Food Company, James Alenton of Bigasan Ko, and PR Gaz franchisee Ronald Operana as panelists. The second forum, on the other hand, will feature business ideas that an OFW or a member of his family can try. Go Negosyo supporter and FERN Inc.’s president and CEO Tommanny Tan will be there, as well as AFFI’s vice president Richie Cuna, Finds convenience store COO Wilfredo Camarillo, and Ivy Hayagan of Tindahan ni Aling Puring.
For the afternoon session, we have prepared a different program–the basics on starting a business by angelpreneur Pax Lapid will still be there, but the skills sessions are a notch higher than what Go Negosyo usually provides. Specifics on salesmanship, negotiations, and financial literacy will be discussed by Salt and Light Ventures’ Raju Mandhyan, Al Ian Barcelona of Camella-Vista Land, Tersa Sahilan of Tech Pacific College, and angelpreneur Armand Bengco.
We will also be doing a series of raffle draws throughout the day. Camella Homes will be giving not just one, but two house and lots to lucky OFWs and their families. I recall the story of Furesa Morada, the wife of an OFW, who struggled to send their three children to school. She and her husband cannot afford to save for a house so they continued to rent a place to stay. She went on to bring home the house and lot which was raffled last year during the first OFW summit. In addition, RFM will also give away two dealership packages, plus other items from our partners from FERN Inc., Puregold, among others.
This is a chance for our former and current OFWs and their families to realize that there is life after their stints abroad. The Philippines has been full of opportunities, and now is the perfect time for all of us to maximize these and build our lives together with our families here. Admission is free, so feel free to drop by at the World Trade Center today.
Yesterday, we did the Managing Enterprising Families Program at the Manila Polo Club. More than 50 participants were there, and I was told that some of them even came all the way from Cebu and Davao just to attend. The majority of them are second or third generation owners of businesses who wanted to learn more about how they can manage their negosyos. I guess they must have felt the importance of continuing the business that their ascendants have established, and they grabbed this opportunity to learn more from the experts. We have invited a longtime Go Negosyo advocate and angelpreneur Andy Ferreria, who is also connected with the ACE Center for Entrepreneurship and Management Education, to help us with this program. He also brought in Ricky Mercado of the John Gokongwei School of Management of the Ateneo de Manila University to be his co-speaker. They covered topics on The Nature of Family Corporations, Successful Models of Enterprising Families, Governance Systems for Family Enterprises, among others. These topics are aimed to help families preserve the mutual interests of all members while increasing the shareholders value of their company.
Like most of the entrepreneurs who attended MEFP, I am also involved in a family corporation. My grandfather and my dad started RFM in 1958, at the time when the country had somewhat recovered from the war. Growing up, I get to see my dad working hard for the business, and this somehow ignited my entrepreneurial spirit and inspired me to carve my own niche in the industry, and eventually I took over the reins. But even after exposing myself to how things are done on the ground, things get different when you are already up, especially in a family corporation. There are times when family members will have conflicting takes on different matters affecting their negosyo, and I cannot deny that this also happened a couple of times with us. The delicate thing in running a family corporation is that the boardroom debates may turn into sour personal grudges against each other, and we are lucky that our foundation as a family is stronger than any material wealth. Other families are not as lucky, and they find their business down into ashes, as well as their relations with each other.
We hope that yesterday’s session tapped the entrepreneurial spirits of our participants, teaching them how to go about their business affairs and still remain as a family. Entrepreneurship is a gift; you either have it or you don’t. And we are looking forward that these individuals who heed the call of entrepreneurship would emerge successful in business and in their family lives.
Our good friend Winnie Go will mount a pottery exhibit titled “Seed” next week. It will run from November 28 to December 16 at the Main Gallery, Artinformal, Greenhills East, Mandaluyong. Gallery hours are from 10 am to 6 pm, Mondays to Saturdays.