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Christmas is fast approaching, and in a few days this year will end. I must say that contrary to earlier expectations, it has been a very difficult year for many of our countrymen especially those hit by quite a number of calamities. While we always try to look at the bright side, it is but a reality to deal with the present challenges and help each other recover from the emotional and physical traumas brought about by these disasters. We see the outpouring of support to those affected and it is like seeing the spirit of Christmas happening a month earlier.
However, there is this one massive calamity that needs a lasting solution. It is poverty that remains pervasive in over a quarter of the countryâ€™s population. Dole outs and donations are temporary remedies. As they say, â€œgiving a man a fish will feed him for a day, but teaching him how to fish will feed him a lifetimeâ€. How can we help to teach a man how to fish? How can we help change a mindset of entitlement, that government and other sectors must give them everything they need? How can we empower them to take a different kind of thinking, that one can pursue his or her dream, and move up in life? How can one take action and have better control of his or her destiny?
Yes, it is true the country has been progressing well, with all the positive macroeconomic indicators, investment grade credit rating, GDP growth over seven percent, over $80 billion international reserves, growing foreign investments and many more.
But the trickledown effect will never happen if many of our countrymen are not part of the economic system. And government cannot do it alone. Everyone can contribute to empowering the less privileged sector, to be a more active player and take part in any economic surge.
Creating inspirations and role models, helping them with right knowhow and tools to level-up, technical and management competencies, presenting negosyo opportunities to farmer groups, or cooperatives where a company can source their raw materials, training and developing small entrepreneurs to become micro distributors or direct sellers are just a few of the assistance we can give.
These are some initiatives we all can take, and somehow, Go Negosyo and its corporate and institutional partners and hundreds of advocates have joined forces to give all these support. For many of us, itâ€™s time to give back. It is never enough, and thereâ€™s always room to give more as there are many more out there who need help.
There is also a very active micro finance sector addressing the needs of micro entrepreneurs. In many of our fora, financing is always cited as an issue. What we learned is that financing is abundant. There are a lot of funds, from over 200 micro finance institutions and over 2,000 rural banks and thrift banks. What are needed are good and bankable projects that are sustainable and innovative which micro-entrepreneurs can develop.
In effect, what are needed are value-adding micro entrepreneurs, who can differentiated products. In entrepreneurship, that is important because that is what makes a product sell. We have many micro entrepreneurs in this country and they account for about 91 percent of all enterprises in the country, but they contribute only about 30 percent of GDP, which suggests that many are in low value-adding activities. They are not registered but at the very least, they employ themselves. The challenge is to level them up to be more value-adding, having more innovations and eventually become bigger enterprises in the future.
Last Dec. 3, we recognized winning examples of microentrepreneurs at the Citi-Micro Entrepreneurs of the Year Awards at the BSP. They are the stories of nobility and their situation did not prevent them from excelling in microentrepreneurship and in growing their business successfully, and most of all helping other people have a source of living.
Awardees were Marylyn Cleto, for Luzon, who proved that one does not need to work overseas to find greener pasture; Visayas awardee, Regina Paller, who saw the opportunity to put up a business amidst adversity; Necy Ann Ty of Higher Ground â€“ manufacturer of mountaineering gear and apparel in Davao City; Jennilyn Antonio of EHJEâ€™s Peanut Butter, Special Award for Microenterprise Leadership recipient; Special Awardee for Agri Micro-business Maria Guidella Argabio, a former sugarcane farmer who now owns a sugarcane farm. Rosario Caparas of Buchi King,Special Awardee for Innovation and The Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year, Enrico Fojas.
Fojasâ€™ Cookie Mill Feeds is exemplary for its use of old breads as base products which are then processed to create an all-natural animal feeds. His vision is to help people have a source of income; ensure that their product is nature-friendly and beneficial to all stakeholders concerned. He also ensures that his employees are well compensated and his primary aim is to uplift the lives of others. â€œWalang sinasayang na oras para magtaumpay ang negosyo. Isipin ang kapakanan ng mga taong tumutulong saâ€™yo sa tagumpay dahil hindi ka nila iiwan,â€ Said Enrico.
You see, anyone can beat poverty. It only takes will power, a right attitude and a proper mindset to change the game. Success is for those who chase it and who want it most. 2014 is another year of challenges and surprises. It is never too late to start empowering yourself and others.
Let’s get in touch.
We’d love to hear from you.
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