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For the past few years, I have been honored to be part of many awarding ceremonies recognizing entrepreneurs from various sectors. One of which is the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards presented by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Citi Foundation, Citi Philippines, and Microfinance Council of the Philippines Inc.
I have been part of their national selection committee for many years and I am glad that they have reached a milestone of 15 years of recognizing outstanding micro entrepreneurs in the country.
Last year, they searched for micro entrepreneurs who, through the help of microfinance institutions and rural banks, have scaled up to where they are today. Year after year, I am impressed and inspired by their perseverance and will to succeed. Indeed, with an enterprising mindset, an individual will succeed. But one thing I noticed as well in this search is that the majority of the nominees are women. If I remember correctly, the recent past winners are also women.
This year, the national winner is another Filipina entrepreneur. She is Merle Paete who manufactures pili nuts and its by-products. Merle, who hails from Sorsogon City, started her entrepreneurial journey as a sari-sari store owner in 2002. She soon expanded to buying and selling pili nuts and woven mats. Soon, she discovered another by-product of pili which is pili, oil or locally known as lana. The oil is extracted from the pulp of the pili nuts and is used to improve skin conditions, regulate cholesterol levels and help in weight loss. She then bought an additional three-hectare land to grow pili trees.
In her acceptance speech, she said, “Sa mga barangay sa malalayong isla man or mauunlad na siyudad sa Pilipinas, maraming nanay ang nagpupunyagi araw-araw upang makatulong sa asawa, magkaroon ng dagdag na kita at mapagtapos ang mga anak. “
She continues to think of ways to further help her community, most especially the women whose main source of livelihood is from pili nuts. To her, she is blessed to have the ability to help fellow entrepreneurs in her community. And with the livelihood that she is sharing, the mothers no longer worry about having food on their table or sending their kids to school.
This is one of the great characteristics of women entrepreneurs – their willingness to share and help other women earn a living. According to DTI’s Sex Disaggregated Data 2016, 53 percent of the 579,794 registered MSMEs are led by women.
This is why we aim to empower women entrepreneurs.
On March 6, in line with the celebration of the National Women’s Month, we will once again host our annual Filipina Entrepreneurs Summit. This will be the 10th year of reinforcing the entrepreneurial spirit of Filipinas and recognizing them in their capacity to be agents of change and progress.
Every year, we present successful Filipina entrepreneurs who can provide inspiration and support by sharing their stories of triumphs and struggles to fellow aspiring, start-up and micro and small entrepreneurs. As it is a milestone year for Go Negosyo and the Filipina Summit, we promise that this will be the biggest women event of the year.
While many stories have been shared for the past years, there are a lot of inspiring entrepreneurial stories waiting to be told. Additionally, we are recognizing another batch of inspiring women entrepreneurs from different industries for being role models because of their passion and dedication to their craft. The Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Awards is an annual recognition of Filipina entrepreneurs who have taken the leadership role in their respective enterprises and led it to its growth and prosperity.
The Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Awards is now accepting nominations and applications for this year’s search. An inspiring Filipina may or may not have come from humble beginnings, but must embody the following characteristics: Passionate, positive, and inspiring. She must also have an innovative business model and must have the ability to care for her community through livelihood projects and entrepreneurship advocacy.
For interested applicants, you may visit the Go Negosyo website, www.gonegosyo.net or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you can join us once again as we celebrate the success of Filipina entrepreneurs!