My dream for the Philippines

As I arrived in Vancouver the other day, I received great news from my staff in Manila. The Go Negosyo book on 55 women entrepreneurs is now the Number One Bestseller in National Bookstore’s Non-Fiction Category. We have just launched this book in NBS Rockwell last Feb. 26, but it is now No. 1 in the list. Another great news is that PGMA has signed an Executive Order, making GoNegosyo the official banner program of the government.

Our first book on 50 inspiring entrepreneurs was a continuous bestseller for a year. To date, we have three books. For this latest third book, I felt that it was going to be a best seller from the moment I conceptualized it. As we launched it, I felt more strongly about the book. Almost all the women featured in the book were present. This was followed by the biggest women entrepreneurial event in the World Trade Center, which had a record attendance of close to 15 thousand attendees who were mostly women. It caught everyone by surprise. It has given me more confidence that we are indeed on the right track; and that many people indeed want to be inspired.

The best way that successful entrepreneurs can give back is to continue to encourage others not to give up. These stories of encouragement give them the fuel to keep going, despite the challenges and hardships. It is not easy. Many do not make it, but one would never know unless he tries. The women who shared their stories in the book are definitely inspiring. Many of them personally attend our forums, sign books and continually share their stories.

With all the books we have published, our TV show, columns, forums, and caravans; we share inspiring stories, business ideas and tips. We bring you the stories of a lot of entrepreneurs who have fulfilled their own dreams. These are the dreams that others also have and will achieve one day.

Being recognized as a bestseller elates us that more and more people really want to be inspired. We are also grateful that more and more people wish to be part of our book one day. Many of them are tired of being poor. This is what GoNegosyo stands for. We stand for the dreams that people want to accomplish. We stand for change in people’s attitude in life. While there may be some who may not make it as an entrepreneur, they can definitely be enterprising in whatever role they have in life. If GoNegosyo helps achieve this dream of creating an enterprising Filipino, there are high chances of seeing the level of poverty go down.

I am glad that PGMA, who has been with us in many of our caravans, sees the importance of creating an enterprising Filipino. There is no other answer to the eradication of poverty but through the creation of more negosyos. Let us have more Filipinos build an enterprising attitude to move up in life. The Executive Order will strengthen the partnership between the private sector and the government, which has always been there since PGMA appointed me as the pro bono adviser for entrepreneurship. This was further strengthened with the appointment of Sec. Cerge Remonde as then Chairman of the Inter-Agency Committee for MSME Development. Now, as I serve as Chair of the Executive Committee on MSME Development Council, and with Sec. Peter Favila as the overall Chair of the MSME Development Council, I hope to really strengthen this partnership.

We appreciate several government agencies that have programs to help the MSMEs. The private sector advocacy groups simply have to complement those programs and provide support. And, we do this through sharing stories and experiences of entrepreneurs that would inspire and teach the people how they can also grow their businesses. The private sector can also provide good networking base for the MSMEs. We have a growing number of entreps and mentors who help because they believe that the private sector especially the MSMEs is the engine of growth and the hope of the country moving forward.

We have met many people in government who are very honest and sincere in doing their tasks of helping this country move forward. We need to really see what each one of us in the private sector can do. The process will take time. It is important that the government-private sector entrepreneurship development framework be laid down for all sectors to work together. This will be a continuous process. Many of the leaders that PGMA has chosen today are key players in developing a holistic approach towards MSME development. They are the likes of Ace Durano, Arthur Yap, Peter Favila, Cerge Remonde, Jun Esperon, Merle Cruz, Estrella Alabastro, among others.

Right now, we have a large number of struggling and surviving entreps. The challenge is to help them grow from micro to a more proactive and innovative small and medium-sized enterprise, and even to becoming large one day. Let’s us share the knowhow, the resources, but more importantly, the enterprising attitude needed. But, I would also say that 80 percent of their success lies in their own attitude.

My grandfather, Dr. Salvador Araneta, had a dream. He dreamt that one day the Filipino will be respected in the world. He came back during the Marcos days, even while still on exile, as he wanted to die in the Philippines. My father stayed behind even during the Martial Law days. He never went on exile, but was jailed. Despite that, he pursued his fight through Namfrel.

My dream for our country is to see more and more Filipinos have an attitude change. We are definitely seeing this happen. Filipinos who have decided to work abroad and sacrifice to support the future of their families is a sign of an enterprising Filipino. We are now seeing more Filipinos being less critical about the future of this country. Now, we are not ashamed to wear clothes that bear the Philippine flag or map. A greater nationalistic spirit is now present.

Many have drawn inspiration from Susan Boyle – the underdog. Manny Pacquiao resembles the Filipino underdog. Timid and coming from poverty, he has proven many people wrong. Now, he is one of the world’s greatest fighters. Anything is possible. The people and their stories in our books are some of the things that can ignite change. Amazing and brilliant things can definitely happen to those who believe, work hard and want it most.