20,000 now believe

Last Friday, I got an early call from a Go Negosyo staff reporting that the SMX Complex was jam-packed for our Youth Summit. I was advised to come early to make it through the crowd.

It has been four years now since we launched Go Negosyo in Victory Center at The Fort and Market Market Trade Hall. It was a time when a coup was being attempted. Our security had to close the doors because the venue might not take the volume of people from all over the Philippines.

This time, during the Youth Summit, we did not close doors. We opened the other halls to accommodate the thousands of young and aspiring negosyantes who definitely want to be smart and be enterprising.

As I entered the place, it was as if we had Lady Gaga performing. The crowd was excited to see what was going to happen. Paolo Bediones had a helicopter landing in his Survivor outfit. Chris Tiu also brought the thousands of students jumping and screaming. The excitement was surely there.

Our goal was to send a message to the youth that you can be smart and you can be enterprising; and this is how you can do it. We played the new video of Go Negosyo, with the song entitled “Believe” made by Boom Dayupay. Here is the chorus:

“We’re so much further now
We will rise somehow
Pray for changes gonna come along
We’re so much closer now
We will overcome
Miracles can happen
If you just believe…”

Yes, Go Negosyo has created a mark today. We have started to plant the seed within Filipinos. It is for them to nurture this seed and grow it into a plant for harvest. Yes, the “presidentiables” were there, but they were there to encourage the Filipino youth that this country has a promise and a future. And, that Filipinos can be successful.

We felt like rock stars with so many participants wanting to take pictures and have me sign autographs. They thanked me and the other speakers for inspiring them. Let me share with you a response that speaks for the 20 thousand young Filipinos who attended the Summit. Jabez Flores, a young entrepreneur who owns a coffee shop in Los Baños, wrote something about the summit in his Blog

“Opportunities. Choices. Decisions. I was pondering the meaning of those 3 words last week while I was at the cafe. And I found out that all three relate to the concept of our future, individual and collective. The opportunities we grab may start our future and mark the beginning of something good…or bad. But of course, we always have the choice to either grab that opportunity or not. The choice to whether grab it or not, needs some big time decision-making.

When my friend Jenni and I went to the SM Mall of Asia last Friday to attend the Go Negosyo Sigaw ng Kabataan event, we were looking forward to get a lot of inspiration from the speakers. And yes, we did get inspiration. But not just inspiration, as a young entrepreneur myself, I got a lot of encouragement and affirmation.

The speakers mentioned about starting young, staying in the country and being your own boss, taking risks, utilizing what we have and not being hindered by finances, being creative and innovative, and all that. I was really glad that the high school and college students who attended the event were getting this much positivity and encouragement from not just “old business people” but from people who are in their 20s and 30s. Not really “a generation away”.

The entrepreneurial spirit – not everyone has this. But for the people who do have this and have yet to find this, you all know what your heart wants you to do. It sure is risky and involves a lot of ground-up hard work and a lot of heart, courage, and determination…

…I’m a sociology graduate, and I was good at what I’m doing: field research, writing, and reporting. I could have made a career out of that. But deep inside my heart, I wanted to serve people food and drinks and make coffee. If I had strict parents, they could have me imprisoned the moment that I tell them that. But thankfully, I do not have those kind of parents. That’s why it was easy for me to do what I wanted. My parents had faith and trusted in us. They knew what we were capable of in our fields of interest. Because that’s where our hearts are.

For our parent readers, I’m asking you that you give your children a chance to be who they want to be. It may be a cliche already, but it is the way to go in this day and age because we are so capable of so many different things. Like it or not, it’s the youth who makes the world go round today.

The Go Negosyo program is very very good. Empowering the youth about entrepreneurship is definitely a good thing. But the youth have parents, and it’s these people who make their world go forward. I hope that we can also empower parents to support their children in their endeavors. Because if we’re talking about heart and desire, we (the youth) already have enough. What we need now is support. Especially from our parents. God bless everyone!”

Go Negosyo has reached this level of success not just because of Joey Concepcion. I just lit the first candle, as what my father also did during NAMFREL. More than 500 entrepreneurs joined me in this advocacy, together with our sponsors who believe that the solution to poverty is through negosyo and a more enterprising Filipino.

Every Filipino has that chance to fight poverty. The desire of not wanting to be poor will spur more people to be enterprising. As we move around the country with our Go Negosyo caravans, Angelprenuer Negosem program, TV shows, ad campaigns, and books; we hope to keep planting the seed in more people. In the following months this year, we are off to Davao and Bataan. Next year, we will kick of with Tarlac and more regions.

Again, thank you to our partners and sponsors for helping us reach this far. Let’s continue to give hope to more Filipinos. Salamat.

* * * * *

Thank you to our guests and speakers during the Youth Summit: Sen. Manny Villar, Sen. Chiz Escudero, Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, Sec. Peter Favilla, Sec. Arthur Yap, Gov. Lray Villafuerte, Chris Tiu, Karen Davila, Myla Villanueva, Francis Kong, Butch Jimenez, Henry Tenedero, Dean Pax Lapid, Joy Abaquin, Maoi Arroyo, Gladys Reyes, Vicky Belo, Crystalle Henares, Ronald Pineda, Anton Ramos, Mylene Abiva, Jay Aldeguer, Abbygale Arenas-de Leon, Carlo Ople, Topax Colayco, Benel Lagua, Randell Tiongson, Tess Dimaculangan, Cary Campasit, Nicolehiyala, Christuper, Eco dela Salla and Chal Lontoc. Thank you also to all the performers and artists who did a great job.

Thank you as well to the sponsors and partners for their support: Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, Smart Communications, PLDT SME Nation, Nokia, RFM Corporation, PAG-COR, Citi Philippines and Citi Foundation, Insular Life, Alo Youth, Vitwater, Rexona, Creme Silk, National Bookstore, Philippine Star, Profoods, Splash, Department of Trade and Industry, Philweb, BPI, SMC, Landbank, Globe, Department of Agriculture, Cebuana Lhuillier, MTV Philippines, SMX Convention Center, QTV 11, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, GMA 7, LS-FM Ayos!, DZBB, Solar Entertainment, NBN 4, Business World, Multiply, 88DB, Pinoy Parazzi and Meg Magazine.