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The power of transformation is for real; it can be seen and it can happen if a person or a nation wants to see transformation happen. The power of prayer helps in transformation, but it does not happen without action. Go Negosyo pushed to the next level in claiming it through Pilipinas: Now is Our Time. It is indeed our time, and it is happening right now in our country. Others will be left behind if they do not have that attitude of wanting to partake in the country’s surge towards prosperity.
Yes, there are those who are not as fortunate, not being given the same privilege of going to school due to poverty. But it is not always a hopeless situation. There will be good Samaritans out there who are willing to help.
Go Negosyo’s Negosyo Mo, Bukas Ko is a project that gives opportunities, as it links the entrepreneurs with the out-of-school youth (OSY) after he or she goes through a value formation program. Not all make it through this transformation process, as it is a test of character.
One of the graduates from the NMBK program is Dandy Boy Bentoso, a 26-year old OSY from Quezon City. Before he joined the program, he was unemployed because he does not meet the standards of most companies. As a Computer Science major, he only managed to reach one semester in college due to lack of money. It was not his choice to be unemployed, but he really cannot do anything with his situation.
Despite these obstacles, he is determined to find a job and work for his family. He was in and out of work on a contractual basis; he was a cook in a fast food chain, and then he did housekeeping work at a 5-star hotel. As soon as his contract ended, he worked as a carpenter. It is in his mind that if he cannot secure a permanent job, he must at least use his strength to earn.
When he heard about NMBK, he thought that the program will give jobs and will help OSYs like him go back to school. Personally, he never prioritized finishing his studies because of the need for him to help his family. Dandy agreed to go through the program with the hopes that he would land a better job than doing carpentry, and it was during the training itself when he realized that NMBK has a lot in store for an OSY like him.
During the training, he learned how to dress up and present himself as a professional. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that he would be dressing up “like a boss”. They had sessions where they are required to speak in English in order for them to get used to it. He was also encouraged to go out of his comfort zone as they underwent workshops that tested their confidence and leadership skills.
The training opened Dandy’s eyes that it is not too late for anyone, including the OSY, to dream for themselves and fulfil it. The program gave him a chance to work and save up for himself and for his family. But more than anything, he was transformed to think that he is capable to touch other people’s lives and inspire others.
Like entrepreneurs, what the OSY needs is an opportunity for them to show what they are capable of. Each one of them has a dream, but they are often hindered by their status in life. They grew up thinking that only those who have completed their education would have a better future. This becomes a cycle that affects their personality and their attitude. NMBK gives that opportunity to the OSY so that like Dandy, they can have a better chance of reaching their dreams.
And so, as a beneficiary of Negosyo Mo, Bukas Ko and as a living proof that training for positive transformation of the out-of-school youth is truly possible, does Dandy believe that now is our time? And if so, how does he see it happening? How does he intend to help see this come to reality personally and through his own endeavors in the future?
This was his reply:
“Yes, now is our time! The program helped me to change the way I think. Now I know that poverty is not a reason for not fulfilling my dreams. The program gave me the opportunity to be employed and to save money for me to continue my education. I’m glad that NMBK employed me. Now, my goal apart from fulfilling my dreams is to make sure that the programs will reach more OSYs and transform more lives the way it transformed mine. I want to be an example for the next batches of NMBK participants”
Exactly a week ago, Go Negosyo participated in the 2nd ASEAN SME Advisory Board Meeting, which was held in Kuala Lumpur. The Philippines, led by DTI director Jerry Clavesillas and Go Negosyo executive director Mon Lopez who attended on my behalf, chaired the meeting which was attended by key government and private sector representatives from all the ASEAN countries. There were active deliberations on the policies and programs that will increase the competencies and narrow the gap of SMEs in the region. SMEs account for more than 90 percent of all enterprises in all these countries.
Mr. Robert Yap, CEO of YCH, the leading supply chain and logistics company in Singapore, attended the meeting. He is a very good friend of my father and is our partner in Igloo, our joint venture which is the leading provider of logistics and cold storage in the Philippines today. Others in attendance were CEOs and presidents of the respective business associations of ASEAN countries.
Another highlight of the meeting was the closing dinner, where Dato Mukhriz bin Tun Mahathir, Deputy Minister of Malaysia’s Trade and Industry and son of the former Prime Minister Tun Mahatir was the guest of honor. Our delegates had the privilege of sitting beside him to brief him on the key discussions of the ASEAN meeting, as well as other issues like the developments in the EU region and entrepreneurship development efforts in our country.
Go Negosyo also joined DTI during the first ASEAN SME Board meeting last year. We are confident that these initiatives will level-up the competencies of our SMEs to create more income and employment opportunities, as well as to increase their contribution to the country’s GDP.