Let’s get in touch.
We’d love to hear from you.
When I was still a young boy, I dreamt of reaching certain goals in life. Aside from aspiring to become Batman someday (a dream which I know is next to impossible), I wished for stability and for me to be able to provide a comfortable life for my family. I know for a fact that everyone also dreamt of being someone or attaining something at one point in their lives. And it is worthy to note that despite the differences in our backgrounds, the roadmap towards success does not change. Our fate will depend on how hard we are willing to work and how far we are willing to take sacrifices towards reaching what we want in life.
That is why it is very encouraging that there are sectors in our society today that is willing to help Filipinos reach their goals, especially those who have less in life. Selfishness is starting to end as more and more of us are embracing a change in mindset, abandoning the negative attitude we are used to that the privileged few are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. The assistance coming from the private sector and the non-government organizations such as Go Negosyo, Citi Philippines, and Villar Foundation are not just limited to dole-outs and financial assistance: they are now working with the government to empower citizens in building and taking charge of their lives through education and training. This way, we are not just giving Filipinos “the fish”, but we are actually teaching people “how to fish” for themselves.
Just yesterday, I was with a Go Negosyo advocate and multi-awarded social entrepreneur Cynthia Villar to formally announce the second run of the OFW and Family Summit. Last year, we had an amazing attendance, as we did not expect that there would be more than 5,000 former and current OFWs and members of their families who would go to the World Trade Center. As we all know, the OFWs are one of the main driving force why our country continues to sustain economic stability and prosperity. With over $20 billion remittances a year, still growing at 5-6 percent despite the crises in some parts of the world, the purchasing power of the sector keeps consumer confidence at high levels. But we all know that they cannot be OFWs forever. One day they will go back here in the Philippines, with their future depending on how well they are able to manage their hard-earned money. Some return with no savings generated, only to realize they are back to where they started, or probably even worse than before. Plus we are aware of the attendant social problems resulting from their absence in the family.
This is why Go Negosyo and the Villar Foundation have thought of giving our OFWs and families free learning sessions on how they can have a sustainable livelihood. We believe that empowerment is our greatest tool against poverty. OFWs may not have the right idea or concept on how to manage their savings or how to start a winning negosyo. Our program hopes to give them the tools on how to move forward. The summit that will happen on November 22 shall feature inspiring OFWs who have succeeded in entrepreneurship, resource speakers who will share the basic knowhow on starting a business, plus the existing business models that OFWs can try out. Our OFWs must consider grabbing opportunities like these, to increase their chances of success in life. We hope to make them smarter negosyantes, with the right mindset, creativity and knowhow. Plus, borrowing the lines of Sen. Manny Villar, all that they have to add to the formula to succeed are sipag at tiyaga.
Last Tuesday, the members of the National Selection Committee of the Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year Awards (CMA) gathered in Manila to do the final deliberations and selection of this year’s awardees. This is the 10th year that Citi Philippines has been mounting this program in partnership with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines. Since 2002, Citi has been recognizing the success of microentrepreneurs who have shown hardwork and perseverance in fighting poverty, and emerging as successful individuals who are now positively contributing to their respective communities. But more than highlighting their personal stories, the recognition is aimed at encouraging other microentrepreneurs that there is indeed hope to succeed despite being poor, and it is not impossible to reach their goals in life as long as they have adopted the right attitude and adopt the right strategies.
There are 11 finalists for this year’s awards: Merlyn Epres of Cavite, a single mother who used to be a vegetable vendor before embarking on her condiments business; Marilyn Fajardo of Manila, who currently employs 41 ex-convicts as pedicab drivers under her Loverboy Enterprises; Lourdes Gempes of Batangas, who is a high school undergraduate who took entrepreneurship as a means to get by while her husband was seriously injured;Floraiwin Cainglet of Iloilo, who used her abilities to introduce innovations in their community’s piggery industry; Abella de Dios of Cebu, who spotted a business opportunity from a transportation problem in Malapascua island; Argelen Jorca of Iloilo, who founded her business from her desire to give a comfortable life to her family; Nelia Mahalay of Zamboanga del Norte, who now has 12 regular employees in her handicrafts business from starting with four; Rabia Mangumpig of Cotabato City, who put up a wedding dress shop, especially for the Muslim market, to fulfil her teenage dream; Emma Bustillo of Cebu, who was a fulltime housewife-turned-shellcraft entrepreneur; Milagros Hiyas of Laguna, who used to rely on jueteng but is now getting a legitimate source of income; and Lenieflor Ico of Nueva Vizcaya, whose earnings from her meat processing business helped her get medical access to cure her depression and her husband’s cancer.
Microfinance has indeed gone a long way since it started, and it definitely served as a bridge between the poor people and their dreams in life. In fact, these stories are just some of the thousands of happy endings through its help. While microfinance is facing new challenges, which were not present 10 years ago, CMA continues to validate how it can contribute to uplifting the life of the poor families. By recognizing the best examples of the individuals who were able to successfully cross the poverty line by establishing businesses through microfinance, we are showing that this is indeed the way to go.
Tomorrow, we will be in Cagayan de Oro to conduct the Go Negosyo Youth Entrepreneurship Summit at the Cagayan de Oro Citi College, in partnership with the Phinma group. We hope to reach out to many aspiring young entrepreneurs in the area.
We are also still open to accept participants for our November 21 Seminar on Managing Enterprising Families, which will be held at the Manila Polo Club. The whole-day seminar will be conducted by no other than the entrep guru from the Asian Center for Entrepreneurship Prof. Andy Ferreria and his partner Prof. Ricky Mercado. It is about time family corporations level-up and become more enterprising families to sustain the kind of growth they may be having now.