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For the past eight years, Go Negosyo, thru the entrepreneurs who have become part of this journey of empowering the marginalized sector of negosyantes which is the micro-entrepreneurs, they, the entrepreneurs continue to remain passionate in sharing their resources.
The movement of people empowerment is clearly what is needed to help those at the bottom of the pyramid to start to feel the economic benefits that our country over the past three years has started to enjoy. We talk about inclusive growth, well, this is it.
Last Tuesday, we had the privilege of attending the Senate session for the sponsorship of the GO NEGOSYO BILL by Sen. Bam Aquino who, himself, is also a leading social entrepreneur in the country today, with his empowering Hapinoy program for the nanays in the sarisari store retailing business. He understands the plight of the small and micro entrepreneurs.
What was admirable in his talk was his continuous commitment to make a difference, by aiming to reduce poverty as the billâ€™s main goal, and this can be achieved by empowering the micro and small enterprises, to level-up and beat the odds in business.
We are one with that objective ever since we started the Go Negosyo advocacy eight years ago, and Bam has been one of the strongest advocates, joining us in many parts of the country, inspiring and mentoring especially the young aspiring entrepreneurs and the micro ones.
Go Negosyo next year will embark on a massive training program together with TESDA, Hapinoy and other government agencies. We shall be doing a Dream Big Caravan that will provide the basics in negosyo for the smallest of entrepreneurs out there. It will train micro-entrepreneurs on how to run their existing businesses. We donâ€™t intend to change their business model but rather train them on what is the right attitude and financial tools that are basically needed in running a business, examples of which are managing personal and business money, managing inventory, looking on how to expand etc. We will be joined by companies in the consumer field who use the retail stores as part of their ecosystem; this will not be confined to sarisari stores but carinderias, junk shops and all other micro-businesses, with the objective of making them all sustainable and giving them the chance to dream bigger. The dream big caravans will go all over the Philippines.
Growing the bottom of the pyramid in the entrepreneurship world, to us, is very important if we are to really develop an inclusive kind of growth. Imagine empowering the 99.6 percent of our business, that now employ around 70 percent of the workforce and contribute 32 percent of the countryâ€™s GDP. Empowering them to be more creative, innovative, more value-adding can lead to higher employment figures and greater value-added, and as we know in business, these translates to better income not only for the negosyos, but to the people behind them. Building this segment of entrepreneurs is the one that can lead to more INCLUSIVE growth in the country.
Sen. Bam commended how the Philippines transformed from being the â€œsick man of Asiaâ€ just a decade ago to now among the â€œBreakout Nationsâ€ and one of â€œAsiaâ€™s Rising Starsâ€. It is true, that while we have all these positive numbers, they wonâ€™t matter that much if they donâ€™t translate to creating more jobs and livelihood opportunities to the many poor Filipinos.
We support how the Go Negosyo Bill connects and intends to unlock further the potential of the two existing laws: the Magna Carta for MSMEs and the BMBE law. The bill intends to establish Negosyo Centers supervised by DTI in each city and municipality as a hub for MSME registration and development. This signals to the entreps and would-be entreps that there is an institution they can go to for any assistance in setting-up and growing their business, as they get access to the relevant training, mentoring and market linkages. Very important to know is on how the micro and small can link up to the value chain of existing businesses because this is the model that can give them sustainable market for their outputs.
In a huddle with Sen. Bam, our Executive Director Mon Lopez also found out that Sen. Cynthia Villar is one of the co-author of the bill as she has also been known to be a seasoned and action-oriented social entrepreneur with her projects in Las PiÃ±as on empowering communities with training and equipment that converts the polluting water lilies in their river into marketable handicrafts and gift products.
She replicated the same with coconut husk waste when she got communities to convert the 40,000 coconut husks daily into coco coir that are used for rip-rapping. Sen. Villar supports the Bill as she would like to help the under-privileged communities.
The Bill shall promote ease of doing business at the city and municipal level by integrating a single business processing system for registration, permits, set-ups and management. It will also facilitate access to grants and other forms of financial assistance, shared-service facilities and equipment and other support.
As in a Go Negosyo activity, the Negosyo Centers shall organize mentoring programs and offer continuous training, financial literacy and marketing development programs, including the linkage with the relevant market opportunities. It will also coordinate with schools and organizations on the development of youth entrepreneurship program, like in Go Negosyo advocacy, we believe in the need to start developing the enterprising mindset while they are young.
We hope to see the smooth passage of the bill as this can make a big difference to the lives of many Filipinos wanting to have a change in their life, towards fulfilling their dreams and beating poverty. More power to all the Senators who will support the bill.
I also texted Sen. Bam saying â€œThank you for making your first bill the Go Negosyo Billâ€ and his heart warming reply was â€œOf course! Thatâ€™s to honor all of your efforts.â€