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Happy New Year Go Negosyantes!
2017 is a milestone year for the Philippines as we host ASEAN on the occasion of its 50th Anniversary. It provides a great opportunity for both our government and the business sector to show meaningful leadership in ASEAN as it shifts to a much higher gear in achieving the goals enshrined in the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint 2025.
Of particular interest to me is the focus given by the blueprint to MSME development which we at Go Negosyo have been championing since our inception.
Last Sept. 6, 2016, I was appointed chair of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) for 2017. The ASEAN BAC serves as the APEX private sector body which will provide advice and recommendations to the economic ministers and leaders to facilitate the aims of our economic regional integration. The council is also mandated to harness private sector support and cooperation in seeking inputs and undertaking meaningful projects towards the AEC cause. With such a daunting role, it is critical that I rely on the strength and inspiration that I draw from our Go Negosyo partners and programs, which is a story we can be proud to share with our ASEAN counterparts. It is a clear model of how the “big boys” in business can effectively help and promote its “small brothers” towards genuine and inclusive economic development and prosperity.
Ever since I started Go Negosyo, the real focus is MSME development- helping our MSMEs scale up and become sustainable. As I serve as this year’s ASEAN BAC’s chair, I hope for a more active participation of the entrepreneurship community and the whole country. It is very important to synergize the different efforts and programs that will be done in conjunction with our hosting of ASEAN so we can consolidate all the help that can be extended to our “smaller brothers.”
Promoting fruitful and productive collaborations, ASEAN BAC is actively partnering with the government and other institutions that will roll out ASEAN- related programs for 2017:
Together with the Department of Trade and Industry – Bureau of Small and Medium Enterprise Development (BSMED), we will conduct two legs of the ASEAN MSME Mentor Me Summit (April and November 2017) to engage MSMEs and enablers of ASEAN to establish a productive and innovative entrepreneurship landscape in the region.
The program aims to help capacitate ASEAN MSMEs with a productive business mindset and needed skill sets and to conduct a mentoring session for them to understand the market and become competitive in the region. This will also create a networking platform for the new and established ASEAN entrepreneurs and foster business development and relationships.
We will also co-organize the EU-ASEAN Business Summit 2017 in March with the EU-ASEAN Business Council and in association with the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ECCP) to bring together leading businesses from Europe with their ASEAN counterparts and also policy makers from both the EU and ASEAN.
During the summit, there will be presentations from high ranking government representatives and prominent businessmen, and discussions covering different sectors and industries.
Since entrepreneurship is now one of the career choices of more Filipinos, many young adults are also venturing into different businesses.
So in partnership with the Philippine Young Entrepreneurs Association, we will hold the 2nd ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Carnival and 9th ASEAN- China Young Entrepreneurs Summit on Sept. 7-9 which aims to provide a networking platform among the young entrepreneurs from the ASEAN region. Among the topics to be featured are: youth entrepreneurship, food, agriculture, Information Technology, financial technology, logistics, the Business Processing Outsourcing Industry, start-ups, Internet of Things (IOT), and other tech–related topics.
To heighten the regional awareness on inclusive business as an innovative solution in making economic growth trickle down, we will hold the Inclusive Business Summit on Sept. 7, which will feature concrete and successful IB models. This is in collaboration with the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI). Our Kapatid, Angat Lahat program also includes inclusive business as one of the ways to help micro and small enterprises. Inclusive business means including micro and small enterprises in the value chain of larger corporations either as supplier, distributor, or retailer.
Women entrepreneurs are growing in number and they are making a mark in their own respective fields. So with the ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN), Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and Philippine Women’s Economic Network (PHILWEN), we will share and consolidate success stories of women entrepreneurs in the region through the AWEN Women’s Business Conference set to happen from Aug. 28- Sept. 1 to further promote and scale up women entrepreneurship in the region.
Aside from the partnership events, we will also organize from Nov. 10-14 the ASEAN Business Investment Summit (ABIS) 2017, which is the premier platform for the business community to engage with ASEAN leaders, business leaders, entrepreneurs and key decision makers. We will also have the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) 2017 with the objective of recognizing outstanding ASEAN enterprises and put the spotlight on promising SMEs which have the potential of becoming global economic players. This will also serve as a platform to spread information concerning the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).
These are just some of the many programs we are rolling out for the year to help and empower our MSMEs. Expect a stronger partnership between private and public sector with this ASEAN chairmanship of the Philippines because with everyone coming together, prosperity will indeed come for all!