The Passion and Creativity of an Entrepreneur

Last week’s column touched on our purpose driven life. A number of people asked me if I read the book. I haven’t actually, but I am familiar with the gist. It definitely has a very inspiring message. It was written by Rick Warren.

Last Tuesday, I attended the Rajo Laurel Fashion Show. Rajo is a Go Negosyo advocate who was featured in our book. I was in a table with Philippine Star Executive Vice President Grace Glory Go and CEO Kevin Belmonte. PhilStar has also been a key supporter of Go Negosyo’s projects to inspire regional entrepreneurs. These people have the passion and creativity that led them to success. Like them, Rajo started with his young dreams. He started building his vision through passion and hard work until he succeeded.

Rajo’s fashion show was a success. From the work he has done, you can see his gift of creativity with the unique clothes that were modeled. As my wife and I were seated on the side, we could see him making the sign of the cross so many times when his models went out to show his line. Clearly, aside from his creativity, you could see the passion he has for his business and the God-centered values he has kept all these years.

These are key factors for an entrepreneur to be successful. In a way, Go Negosyo has reached this level of awareness. It has the passion from many entrepreneurs who really want to help inspire people. The passion for our cause is even shared by our corporate partners and sponsors and those who have adopted the Go Negosyo programs in promoting entrepreneurship, like the Nokia’s Search for the Mobile Entrepreneur of the Year and P&G’s Ariel Angat sa Negosyo Promo. Condura has even launched its line of Negosyo refs for small retailers and sari-sari stores. Emperador brandy also gives seed capital for Negosyo. Both PLDT, Smart and Globe also have their respective units focusing on upgrading the technology solutions for SMEs. We are happy to see that our country’s leading companies share in a common cause to help build an entrepreneurial nation.

In our desire to further spread the good news of finding solutions to poverty through Negosyo, we are now heading for Iloilo tomorrow for our Go Negosyo Caravan. We continue our advocacy to change the mindset of people and encourage them to be successful entrepreneurs, or at least to have an entrepreneurial mindset that can help them succeed. We hope to share with micro entrepreneurs how they can make their Negosyo grow and move beyond livelihood levels.

Together with the Iloilo Business Club, we will also be awarding Iloilo’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs and Micro Entrepreneurs. They are the entrepreneurs and micro entrepreneurs who rose from the challenges of life, serving as role models in their own businesses. Their successes have proven the Ilonggos’ ability to utilize their innate sense of resourcefulness, determination and enthusiasm in developing profitable entrepreneurial ventures.

Let me share with you their brief profile and why they stand out as the Most Inspiring Ilonggo Entrepreneurs.

Arsenio Rafael has transformed an unfortunate situation of being unemployed into an opportunity to establish A.M Builder’s Depot. It is now one of the largest tile manufacturers and distributors in the region. Arsenio is now generating employment not only for himself but also for other members of the community as well.

In the spirit of giving back to his father’s hometown, Antonio Steven Chan has developed the Central Azucarera de San Antonio into one of the largest sugar mills in the province today.

With an entrepreneurial attitude, Tomas Hautea has established numerous business endeavors such as the RETCEM Bangus Hatchery and Fish Farm.

Iloilo’s Original Biscocho Haus is one of the first to create a brand for the local delicacy. Over the years, Jose Gerardo Guadarrama has kept to the corporation’s core values of perseverance, hard work, fiscal discipline, community service and generosity of spirit.

We also recognize Alfonso Uy for continuing the La Filipina Uy Gongco Corporation’s tradition of excellence for more than 100 years. His family has created a dynamic and diversified company in the country that benefits many Illongos.

Edgar “Injap” Sia II has created the distinctive and proudly Filipino Mang Inasal brand that promotes the local style of cooking and also achieved recognition not only in Iloilo but all over the country.

Salvador Sarabia succeeded in establishing the Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center as one of Iloilo’s foremost landmarks.

In the transport service industry, Joseph Vincent Go continues to set standards for customer service satisfaction through the Light of Glory Taxi Services.

Waffle Time is known for its service, cleanliness and high-quality waffle products. We congratulate Johnny Que for laying the foundations for the business and constantly undertaking steps to expand its business.

A Most Inspiring Ilonggo Entrepreneur Special Award will also be given to Angel De Leon Jr. for laying the foundations for Taytay Sa Kauswagan, Inc. His enterprise has played a big role in entrepreneurship development over the years throughout the country.

Go Negosyo will also be awarding Most Inspiring Ilonggo Micro Entrepreneurs. They are Grace Javelosa of Rgies Delicacies, Lucita Sionosa of Sionosa bakeshop, Candido Delgado with his candy-making business, Visitacion Ducay with her fish processing and retailing negosyo, Ana Cordova of Oton Women Products, and Agnes Tirol of Sweet’ness Fine Homemade Delicacies.

They are the Most Inspiring Ilonggo Entrepreneurs and Micro Entrepreneurs whose stories serve to motivate and push for an entrepreneurial mindset among Filipinos.

The Go Negosyo sa Iloilo Caravan will be on September 12, 2008 at the Rose Memorial Auditorium, Central Philippine University, starting at 8:00am. This year’s caravan promises to be more informative, dynamic and inspiring, with more learning sessions in our program. As always, we have made the admission free, and we expect close to 3,000 attendees.

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Let me also share with you parts of a feedback on last week’s column that I received through my sister.

“Dear Michelle,

What an amazing article. Your brother has such a big heart. Bless him… He is not afraid to wear his emotions on his sleeves for the causes he believes in. He said he is not a good writer but he certainly is right-on with this one. We all have to find our purpose in life.

His cause is to promote entrepreneurship. This is key to our country’s well being. Education is key to encourage people in starting small businesses. Some people may want to do it but are intimidated. Some people do it but fold up because they do not know how to run a viable business. Some people get discouraged with red tapes. There’s a lot of work to do. This is a lifelong commitment Joey has undertaken. There are actually a lot of entrepreneurship being engaged in this country but mostly underground and usually by women as a source of second income. One of the challenges is to make them surface to mainstream.

Microfinancing, if handled well, is another venue of promoting entrepreneurship. This is exactly what Gloria Arroyo is promoting thru Bangko Sentral. According to Pia, this is also what Washington Sycip is doing now, promoting microfinancing to spread money to the grassroots. Our bank is also engaged in microfinancing for this same reason, to promote and encourage responsible entrepreneurship.

I’ve learned a lot about your brother from these articles. Thank you for sharing them with me. He has touched many lives and like your father, he is a dedicated person to do public service because he loves this country and he believes in the Filipino people. We Filipinos are actually very good entrepreneurs with our creativity, wit, and our resilience. Although I do not know Joey personally, my admiration for him has grown tenfold. He is not only a good businessman, he is also a good husband, brother, a model citizen, and a hero of this country.

Coincidentally, it’s this same book that also gave me solace when my brother passed away. When Michael was gunned down and he died immediately, we did not have the opportunity to say our goodbyes nor was he able to pray to the Lord for absolution. I was worried how his soul would pass on out of this world in peace. Reading this book made me realize that he will be fine. This book was literally my therapy. With prayers, they became my saving grace from those very dark moments.

Joey is right. We have to find our life’s purpose. Thanks. Take care.