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If there is one thing being a parent has taught me, it is that young minds are the most creative ones. As kids, we all had our fair share of living in a world of fantasy and having imaginary friends. Ideas and thoughts are limitless. But as we grow up and grow old, as we get to know boundaries and limits, rules and restrictions, brought about by the socio-eco cultural academic environment, the creativity in us somehow fizzles out. Good thing we still hear of stories, here and there, about young inventors, innovators.
This is why as an entrepreneurship advocate, I have always been a firm supporter of young entrepreneurs. I believe the youth are great innovators. Not only are the youth imaginative, they are also resourceful, inspired and more importantly, they are technology and digitally-oriented, having great exposure and access to information and ideation. They know what the modern world needs and what the people want.
But no single businessman ever became successful doing it alone. We all need a little help from people who are more experienced. And while many people have amazing business ideas, not all are given the opportunity to start a venture.
We are fortunate to have a partner who shares the same vision and willingness to help innovative young entrepreneurs in the Philippines: The United States Embassy. With the partnership of the US Embassy, Go Negosyo launched the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Workshop (YEDW) 2015.
YEDW is a developmental three-day workshop for existing Filipino young entrepreneurs and young aspiring entrepreneurs (with actual business ideas). We held the first leg in Makati, to be followed by Iloilo on Aug. 26 to 28 and Zamboanga City on Sept. 9 to 11 and Batangas in October.
The four initial workshops will include training, networking, and mentorship opportunities, with Go Negosyo angelpreneurs, as well as US exchange program alumni. At the conclusion of each workshop, a panel of judges from the American and Filipino business communities will vote on the best plans to innovate and expand their businesses. One finalist from each city will receive a P30,000 grant with the exception of the grand prize winner, who will receive P100,000.
Finally, the top 10 participants from each workshop will be invited to Manila to participate in a final workshop that will coincide with the 2015 APEC Ministerial meetings in November 2015. This final workshop will build upon previous workshops by giving participants an opportunity to reflect on the progress and challenges they encountered since the initial workshop, further hone their business models to be more relevant and innovative, upgrade their development skills, network with counterparts from across the Philippines, tour successful US and Philippine companies, engage with special guest speakers, and meet with APEC Ministerial meeting interlocutors.
If you are interested to join the next run, the minimum qualifications are as follows: (1) Must be a Filipino citizen, (2) Should either be a young entrepreneur with existing enterprises, or young person with profound interest with starting his/her own business (has a well thought-out innovative idea that he/she is committed to pursuing or growing into a venture) (3) Should be below 35 years old at the time of the deadline of application and (4) Requirements: business pitch (existing business and business idea.)
This is the perfect opportunity for young entrepreneurs who believe in their innovative business idea. Do not forget all successful businessmen started with just an idea and worked hard on it. I hope several young people join this workshop. Because in Go Negosyo, we believe entrepreneurship leads to innovation, and innovation leads to progress. And we all know how innovative the youth can be. We all need to support and do our share in giving a healthy environment that will harness, enhance, incubate and nurture innovative business models that could be the next big thing in the world of entrepreneurship.
For more information on YEDW, visit www.gonegosyo.net/YEDW