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Great Britain’s HRH, The Princess Royal or Princess Anne is in town for a series of high-level visits of British officials to strengthen relations between the two countries.
It seems that the Princess’ diary will be filled up. We were told that she has a full schedule of meetings with various groups such as our social entrepreneurs’ round-table, meetings with top Government officials and the legislative, visits to projects and beneficiaries supported by Save the Children, as well as an elementary school in Leyte, and a visit to some microfinance groups.
The Princess Royal is the president/ patron of some 320 organizations. The Princess Royal’s work with the Save the Children, of which she has been president since 1970, has given her great insight into the needs of children worldwide. She also serves as President of the Register of Engineers for Disaster Relief.
This is the second visit of the Princess Royal, a title given to the eldest daughter of the monarch. Her first visit was March 1999.
Few days ago, my little daughter, Bella, forced me and the entire family to watch Cinderella. It was a great family movie. I told her after the movie that I will be meeting a real princess this week and her name is Princess Anne.
So the other day, we had the rare opportunity to sit beside her in a small meeting. Unlike perhaps the typical image of a princess waiting for her prince charming and strolling in the gardens, I met a princess who is so driven in social development works and economic upliftment programs in developing economies.
So when we sat down with her, she was engaging in our discussion as we talked about the Go Negosyo advocacy and how we attempt to improve the lives of common Filipinos by being entrepreneurial and by having the right mindset and competencies to move up in life. As we shared our programs, she supported the direction to empower the least in society, the underprivileged sectors like the women, the out-of-school youth, the poor rural people and the disabled. Efforts from the private sector to create activities that will nurture opportunities for these sectors must be encouraged and supported. We mentioned of course the proactive role that the British embassy has taken in the field of entrepreneurship development and social entrepreneurship in the country ever since Ambassador Asif Ahmad and Deputy Head of Mission Trevor Lewis assumed office in the country. They got the Philippines involved in the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) which happens every 3rd week of November and for the last two years, the two embassy leaders have been at the forefront with us in mounting programs even beyond the GEW to push for entrepreneurship at all levels, from micro and SMEs to the youth and even the students. We have also been working with the British Council for their annual social entrepreneurship competition called ‘I Am A Changemaker.’
The princess seems to have strong interest to meet the social entrepreneurs and development advocates as we were just about 25 guests and I noticed most were social entrepreneurs and socially-oriented CEOs, and many were part of the Go Negosyo community. ‘Mr. Hapee’ Lamoiyan Group founder and CEO Cecilio Pedro was with us since his group has been helping the deaf and mute sector, hiring many of them and they account for about 30 percent of his workforce. We were also joined by couple Dylan and Anna Wilk of Human Nature. It is one of the few social enterprises I admire and who has managed to scale up and sustained operations, benefitting over 20 GK communities around the country, which supply their needed raw materials for their soaps, shampoos and other personal care products.
One of the first social entrepreneurs and world-renowned creator of Nardas handwoven arts and crafts, Ms. Narda Capuyan also joined us in the table. Narda of course has been recognized for her great works on ikat woven tapestries and panels which are exported worldwide, and her all her products are woven by indigenous families working from their communities. She confided that that’s her way to give opportunities to her town mates for several decades now to prevent them from leaving their town and working overseas. Another successful social enterprise who was there was Resse Fernandez-Ruiz of R2R or Rags to Riches. Her innovative designs are now exported worldwide and the mothers in Payatas communities who produce these creations have really gone a long way and we have seen how their lives have been improved.
I believe that this trip of Princess Anne will give her greater exposure and appreciation of the many good things happening in the country today especially in the field of social entrepreneurship, microfinance and upliftment programs for the underprivileged sectors in the country.