International and local mentorship

Photo Caption: AMEN was officially launched in Singapore last August 27, 2018 during the ASEAN Responsible Business Forum.

It has been an eventful week as we have brought mentorship not only here in our country, but also to the international field. Mentorship is an asset to growth and acceleration of a country’s economy and the advancement of its MSMEs’ budding industry.

After launching in Manila (November 2017), Australia (March 2018), South Korea (June 2018) and Malaysia (July 2018), ASEAN BAC recently launched the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) in Singapore in partnership with ASEAN CSR Network, ASEAN-BAC’s Sector Champion for Responsible and Inclusive Business.

I was joined by ASEAN BAC 2018 chair Robert Yap, together with ASEAN CSR Network CEO Thomas Thomas and ASEAN CSR Network chair Yanti Triwadiantini.

The partnership aims to jointly develop and undertake programs, projects, and advocacy initiatives pursuant to the development and operationalization of Responsible and Inclusive Business and AMEN in ASEAN and ASEAN Dialogue Partners.

While mentorship takes off internationally, we take a look on how its essence is felt by our aspiring entrepreneurs in our latest leg of Mentor Me on Wheels at The Block Atrium, Quezon City. I will share with you the stories of our budding business owners and how we guided them in their endeavors.

I was joined by the pool of experienced mentors including Fe Agudo (Hyundai Asia Resources Inc.), Henry Lim Bon Liong (SL Agritech Corp.), Natividad Cheng (Multiflex RNC Philippines Inc.), Chiqui Escareal-Go and Josiah Go (Mansmith and Fielders Inc.), Dr. Vivian Sarabia (Sarabia Optical), Marife Zamora (Convergys Philippines), William Belo (Wilcon Depot), Feliciano Torres (Yazaki-Torres Manufacturing Inc.), Rey Lapid (R. Lapid’s Chicharon and Barbecue), Richard Sanz (Philippine Franchise Association), Alice Eduardo (Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corp.), Myla Villanueva (Novare Technologies), Myrna Yao (Richprime Global Inc.), Rick Santos (Santos Knight Frank), Gerardo Borromeo (PTC Holdings), Felix Ang (Auto Nation Group Inc.), Jerome Ong (CDO Foodsphere Inc.), and over 150 entrep-mentors in sharing our business expertise. Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte also graced our event and joined our mentoring session.

One of the mentees I interacted with was Alexandra Esponga, who owns a business called Jess and Pat’s, a live music place in Maginhawa, Quezon City. She is a testament to the growing number of young people who venture into business and brave the challenges brought by the nature of their fields. Alex is eyeing to set up Crazy Cone, a new business that offers churros. I advised her to take the risk and just do it because if she’s not going to do it, she’ll never know the outcome of her decision.



Go Negosyo had the Mentor Me On Wheels in Quezon City last August 24, 2018. In photo (L-R) Feliciano Torres, Joey Concepcion, Alice Eduardo, Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, Fe Agudo and Henry Lim Bon Liong.


Luckily, she was also mentored by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and Richard Sanz of Philippine Franchise Association. I believe that through their mentoring session, Alex gained more knowledge and skills about marketing and product pricing. I am certain she got helpful ideas to expand her enterprise since it would be her first business that has the potential to be available for franchising.

Armilou Ann Lazaro, another mentee, sought advice on how to start her own business. I learned that she also wants to venture into churros making. I told her to go ahead and recommended some ideas in making the said pastry. I also suggested to start small until she reaches her target.

I also mentored Sandra Gutierrez, an entrepreneurial management student whom I believe is competent and open for creative suggestions that could help prosper her startup business. She mentioned the struggles of putting up a business and the lack of knowledge in proper marketing strategies. I recommended a modification of her brand name, focus on one product, and improve her packaging details.

Andrew Silvestre, an aspiring entrepreneur from Baler was fortunate to be mentored by Myla Villanueva on how to expand his network and take risks in business. I know that they both gained insights from each other. At his early age, Andrew was exposed to farmers and cooperatives in Baler, Aurora giving him the idea to start his own enterprise. Luckily, as Tessie Sy-Coson of SM was passing by after her mentorship, Myla introduced Andrew to her and presented his product, Cocoa Meric, a fusion of turmeric and cocoa tea. Tessie offered him to a space in Kultura, SM’s shop which features Filipino artistry and craftsmanship. I know that with his passion and innovative skills, he will be able to succeed in his future feats.

I hope all these ideas I shared will serve to boost everyone’s budding business and I wish nothing but success to their endeavors.



The Cabinet Spouses Association led by Madame Honeylet Avanceña during their visit to a child-minding center.


Last week, the Cabinet Spouses Association led by Honeylet Avancena visited a new child-minding center in Davao City. My wife, Marissa, also joined the activity wherein they gave away books, toys, and other goods to the children. The child-minding centers, where parents can leave their children while they are at work, have been existing in Davao for many years. Honeylet encourages other local government units to develop their own child-minding centers to help parents care for their children. I am sure that many entrepreneurs will benefit as they can assure that their children will be taken care of while they run their businesses.

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