A Great Inspiration

Last Monday, we opened the Go Negosyo: Babae, Tagumpay ka ng Bayan; Women Entrepreneurship Summit, together with the Philippine Commission on Women headed by Chair Myrna Yao. This was our second run for the summit. In fact, we made sure that we doubled the space for the venue, from one to two halls of the World Trade Center, as last year’s summit was quite scary with the huge turnout. We also doubled the number of booths from last year’s 200 to 400 exhibitors. The Go Negosyo advocates and I were truly inspired with the participation and strong interest of people. This shows the increasing consciousness and wants of people to learn more, to be inspired and be guided on how we all can be successful in life.

As early as 8 o’clock in the morning, the streets to World Trade were clogged with buses and cars entering the venue. Many had to park far and walk. As I entered, the place was so hot. I asked what was wrong with the air conditioning, and my team told me that there were just too many people. We were also asked by World Trade to close the doors because it was already full and people were barely able to move inside. But, we didn’t close because it would be unfair especially for participants coming from the provinces. Everyone must be given the chance to listen and learn from the rich array of forums and seminar topics we prepared for the day.  Aside from the plenary forums, we had two seminar rooms on how to start and grow their business and on topics related to women’s concerns and the new Magna Carta for women and development. With the jam-packed crowd, even in the seminar rooms, we felt for a while we were doing a Wowowee or an El Shaddai event.
We thank all our guests, awardees and those who were part of the forums who braved the heat. One of the awardees, Marixi Prieto, and husband Alex could not believe that Go Negosyo has already reached this level of awareness and success. Even Go Negosyo trustee Harley Sy, who stepped out of his office to attend part of the morning session, barely made his way inside. PGMA, who graced the event, was also happy and (I guess) surprised to see the number of people who greeted her.

Many thanks to our trustees Myla Villanueva, Rica Limcaoco, and advocates who were there, Dioceldo Sy, Les Reyes, Ronald Pineda, Gaita Fores, Vir Angelo, Mylene Abiva, Maoi Arroyo, Cathy Turvill, Corazon Ong, Dean Pax Lapid, Ping Sotto, Butz Bartolome, Paulo Tibig, Joy
Abaquin, Annabelle Santos-Wisniewski, Vicki Belo and Crystalle Henares, Cory Quirino, Kristine Gabriel, Heny Sison, Fe Mariano, Jackie Alleje, Cynthia Gonzales and many more who joined our Summit and Forums.

Nursing a bad cold during my intro speech, which I normally do extemporaneously, I greeted Secretary Peter Favila as Peter Yap. It took a number of people by surprise and Peter just smiled at the incident. I guess it’s one of those goof ups, especially as I was a bit dazed with the huge crowd we had.

The event went well, with a great pink stage similar to that of a Beyonce concert. Even I had to wear a Go Negosyo pink shirt. My ever supportive wife, parents and children were there. Go Negosyo trustees, entrepreneurs and so many people wanted to be part of this event that it was so difficult to accommodate.  We also invited to a forum the women-partners of our leaders or the women leaders themselves.  Sen. Loren Legarda, Cong. Cynthia Villar, and Mayor Marides Fernando made it. In another forum, we had 17 lady entrepreneurs that represent various business models that our audience can learn from. Vicky Belo came in late, wanting to catch up and be part of inspiring women to go for it. These huge forums were ably moderated by Rico Hizon (who flew in from Singapore just for this Summit), Paolo Bediones, RJ Ledesma, Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan, Gladys Reyes, Chal Lontoc-del Rosario.

Once again, we congratulate Leonarda Camacho, Pilita Corrales, Gina Lopez, Maria Cristina Medina, Winnie Monsod, Marixi Prieto, Esther Vibal, Rosalind Wee, and, Linda Legaspi for serving as excellent role model Filipinas.  May you continue to shine and inspire many more Filipinas to succeed and to be great.  Congratulations also to the 100 small entrepreneurs who are featured in the book and who were also there. They came from different provinces all over the country and were honored by no less than the President herself.

I commended the government departments that have been instrumental in working with us in mentoring aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. We thank DTI Sec. Peter Favila and Usec. Merly Cruz, former DA Sec. Arthur Yap, DepEd Sec. Jesli Lapuz , NLDC President Lina Amata, and Landbank President Gilda Pico and EVP Wilfredo Maldia. These people have been working with Go Negosyo for the last four years in helping Filipinos fight poverty. Of course, we also thank our private sector partners like Eric Alberto and Kat Luna Abelarde of PLDT, Sanjiv Vohra
of Ctibank, Doy Vea of Smart, Yogi Salcedo, Herbert Tuason and Cedoy Roces of BPI Family, Sandeep Khanna of Nokia, Roland Hortaleza of Splash, Fernando Fernandez and Chito Macapagal of Unilever, Amy Tamayo of Insular Life, Fred Ramos of National Bookstore and Ton
Concepcion of Condura, just to name a few. Allow me to mention them at the latter part of this column, since we have a lot and they have been supporting our cause.

The challenge of fighting poverty will always be there. But, it is very clear that we have a solution. It is through an attitude change and the realization that one’s destiny is determined not by any government nor by luck, but by sheer hard work, perseverance, creativity and persistence. In Filipino, sipag at tiyaga. These are the values that the 100 entrepreneurs have with them. Through their negosyos, they are now armed to fight poverty. There are more than 100 successful small entrepreneurs out there. These people are just examples of the thousands out there who want a better life for themselves and their families.

Filipinos are not born to be poor, nor is our country destined to be the sick man of Asia. Our fortune will change thru a change in attitude, a Go Negosyo attitude.

To the more than 20 thousand people who attended our summit, maraming salamat. You actually inspire us to continue helping more and more Filipinos.

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Go Negosyo would like to thank PLDT SME Nation, RFM, Nokia, BPI Family Ka-Negosyo, Smart, Citibank Savings, Insular Life, Splash Corp. Direct Selling, Creamsilk, National Bookstore, Condura, Mang Inasal, PAGCOR, Globe, Nissan Urvan, Cats Motors, BDO Unibank, Prudential Guarantee, Paramount Life, Security Bank, QTV, NBN, Philstar, Businessworld,
World Trade Center, Joey Pepperoni and Kettle Korn, Manila Bulletin, Inquirer, 88DB, Multiply, 100 Magazine, Magic 89.9, Wave 89.1, 99.5 RT, Jam 88.3, V Cargo, Belo Medical, Ever Bilena, French Baker, Creative Voices, McDonalds, LBC, RA Gapuz Center, Brother Phil., and