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Inspiration can spark anywhere, anytime, or at any given circumstances. Go Negosyo has always believed that inspiration is one of the ingredients to become a successful entrepreneur. Recently, we honored and awarded inspiring Filipina entrepreneurs who were able to move up in life and successfully combat poverty. Whatâ€™s more inspiring are their success stories and how they managed to further grow their business and eventually give back, help the community, and empower others.
I hosted a gathering in my house and invited the 50 women we selected for this yearâ€™s women with passion. Among the 50 are thriving entrepreneurs â€“ founders and next generation trailblazers; social entrepreneurs â€“ innovators and trendsetters for the greater good; and intrapreneurs â€“ corporate executives who worked their way to the top with an enterprising and entrepreneurial mindset. We had just four days to prepare for this special event and close to 200 women attended which included Senator Cynthia Villar and Senator Grace Poe.
It was an amazing night full of inspiration because of the special guests that we had who shared their insights and lifeâ€™s success story. It was a privilege to have in a mini-forum three exceptional Filipina women/entrepreneurs namely Sheila Marcelo, Fil-American CEO of Care.com, Jessica Cox, the first Fil-American licensed armless pilot and motivational speaker and Rapplerâ€™s CEO Maria Ressa. Karen Davila of ABS-CBN, who herself shared her views, moderated the forum.
In the forum, Jessica noted the importance of not giving up; reiterating the importance of saying â€œI canâ€ and saying â€œI canâ€™tâ€ only sets us up to failure. For her, giving up is not an option. Maria wittily gave an example of how one sees a glass half-filled with water. She noted that she learned, understood, and looked at everything in a positive way because she chose to see and celebrate the half-full glass.
On the other hand, Sheila reminisced and looked back at the hardships that she had when she was starting as an entrepreneur. She noted that entrepreneurs have the drive to fight. All we need to do is to keep going. Sheila said, when asked about their lifeâ€™s turning point, that she learned to become independent at a very young age and is thankful to her loving family because of the support that they gave when she decided that she did not want to become a lawyer but become an entrepreneur instead. Maria on the other hand, mentioned that she wanted to have financial independence so she became a working student so she can be financially able and do the things that she wanted to do.
One young entrepreneur asked how they decide on what they really wanted to do. Maria said â€œyou donâ€™t have to know where you are going if you make the right choice to learnâ€. Sheila shared how she took the risk of leaving her employer and ventured into putting up her own company. She said that we need to know if what we are doing is true because it is more important than what is expected of us. Jessica mentioned that she never realized the positive impact of telling her story until one day it received much attention. Now, Jessica is being invited as a motivational speaker around the world.
When asked about their most memorable failure, Maria shared a very touching story when she and her team were covering a war in East Timor. Not sure if it was a failure or the right thing to do, she narrated that on their way to the location; a man desperately seeking for help approached their vehicle and asked if they can join them because he was being hunted. Maria made the call of not letting the man join them for she knows that it can endanger the lives of her three other team members who have families and their reporting might be hindered. She told the man to just stay and wait for them to come back. Unfortunately, when Mariaâ€™s team came back, the man named George and his family was killed in a massacre which happened that afternoon. Maria took it as a test of her character and that situation pushed her to grow better.
As parting words, Maria said that the choices we make have to do with our character and what we believe is right. For Sheila, it is always doing the right and sound decisions and for Jessica, persistence is the key to reaching your dreams.
I was also able to meet a successful Filipina entrepreneur whose life story is very touching. Senator Grace Poe told her story during her speech in the women summit. Norma Lim, or Tita Norma as Sen. Grace calls her, worked as a caterer to FPJâ€™s staff and crew during shoots. Because of the trust that FPJâ€™s family gave her, she have been regarded like a part of the family. She had a small carinderia in Shaw Boulevard which was destroyed when a bus accidentally run into it causing her to lose their only source of income and her motherâ€™s life.
But that incident changed her life for the better when she used the P2,000 that she collected from her motherâ€™s wake as a capital to start a new business. Her carinderia grew into a company. Today, she owns a siopao, pancit-noodle and a hopia factory. Aside from the food factory, she also owns a trading and importing company.
You see, these amazing women do not only have very inspiring stories, they also have the passion to enrich other peopleâ€™s lives and touch their hearts through their entrepreneurial endeavors. I am also glad that a lot of Fil-American entrepreneurs are coming back to help our nation.