Yes You Can, Go For It

I was in the Hongkong airport with my family on the way to San Francisco when a fellow Filipino approached and congratulated me. I asked him for what and he said for inspiring Filipinos. I asked him what he does and he said he frequently goes to the trade shows in Hongkong to get ideas and organize tours to expose people to new ideas. He also bought the Go Negosyo book and it inspired him to really pursue a negosyo by organizing tours for Filipinos to attend trade events. It felt good that in my 5 minute walk in the terminal, someone was happy to have been inspired by what we are doing. This leads me to believe that Go Negosyo has done more than just selling books, it has started the fire that has been in a lot of Filipinos all this time. Yes, the Filipinos can do it and they just need the reassurance that they really can.

Go Negosyo, together with the mentors from the Entrepreneurs School of Asia (ESA), has been going thru the National Bookstores and Powerbooks in the malls every weekend doing book tours as well as providing business mentoring services. This shall continue this summer at Powerbooks Greenbelt on May 10-11, and Powerbooks Trinoma on May 24-25. We will be joined by some celebrity entrepreneurs featured in the book and other Go Negosyo mentors to do mini-forums and mentoring sessions.

It is also encouraging to note that Go Negosyo is not alone in this advocacy since a lot of private corporations have also started to launch efforts to build a negosyo climate. Recently P and G has joined the negosyo campaign with the “Ariel Asenso sa Negosyo” promo, which is in partnership with Go Negosyo. Consumers can buy Ariel detergent powder products to have a chance to win seed money for a negosyo, supported by Go Negosyo and Entrepreneur School of Asia mentors to provide them with training on the basics of entrepreneurship. Perhaps you have seen some ads on this campaign with Vivienne Tan of ESA and me, with Gov. Vilma Santos endorsing the project. Go Negosyo mentors will also be assigned to the winners for few months to see through the implementation of his or her business undertaking. P and G realizes that a lot of entrepreneurs are women and it is fitting that their primary target market are also the more dynamic and responsible women so this is where they would like to put their efforts. This campaign will run this summer.

Some companies are also focusing on promoting and developing platforms specifically for SMEs to present more ideas on various business models or to help them achieve better efficiencies in business operations. An example of this is Nokia who also partnered with Go Negosyo for the Nokia Mobile Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, a search program for innovative entrepreneurs that use mobile technology for their business. This search aims to recognize local Filipino entrepreneurs who utilize mobile technology and encourage greater use of mobile technology in their business. The search is ongoing and we have received a good number of entries. We are now in the process of screening and shortlisting and we shall announce the awardees by the end of May.

Aside from promos and contests, companies are also starting to create negosyo packages which cater to start-up entrepreneurs. Telecom companies like PLDT/ Smart and Globe have started to offer business solutions services not only for big companies but for SMEs to help them achieve greater efficiencies and productivity, lower their costs and enable them to have a faster and more affordable business-to-business and business-to-customers transactions. PLDT SME group, under Eric Alberto and Kat Abelarde, has also branded their campaign as SME Nation and they are also doing a roadshow in different cities in the country to present their business solutions.

Vehicle companies like Hyundai have also been promoting their pro-negosyo vans and Porter models as essential “tools of the trade”. This only goes to show that companies are now beginning to gear towards having special packages which support not just the big time players in their respective industries but also those entrepreneurs who are just starting out.

To come out soon is the project of Concepcion Industries. Without my persuasion, they saw the opportunity in helping Filipinos get started in business. This is similar to the vision of my grandfather Jose Concepcion Sr., who started Concepcion Industries when he was in his late 60’s. Concepcion Durables will soon launch the first ever negosyo refs which are presented as the essential partner of stores and retailers nationwide. They will give out free Go Negosyo books and other Negosyo starter kit for every purchase.

The private education system has also started to adopt more entrep courses to complement what DepEd and CHED have done in integrating entrepreneurship development programs in their schools. Aside form ESA, we have received numerous requests for entrepreneurship materials for private high school institutions. I know our mentors Angie Resureccion, Dean Pax Lapid, Andy Ferreria and Jay Bernardo have accelerated their respective campaigns in training the trainors, and offering courses for teachers. Gina Lopez and Ed Morato of Bayan Foundation have also launched their Bayan Academy that focuses on entrepreneurship training and this is to complement their micro financing activities. Worth mentioning also is the Multiple Intelligence school of Joy Abaquin who has devoted her time molding the young minds at grade school levels on the basics of entrepreneurship and giving the children practical exposures on these activities.

We have also seen the emergence of more private sector and NGO micro financing institutions nationwide. Ed Jimenez and his group under Dep. Governor Nesting Espenilla of the BSP, have been doing the rounds in the country to do trainors’ training on financial literacy. Of course Plantersbank has always been there on SME financing. PS Bank has also started special financing for micro SME’s. But we need more private banks to allocate a bigger portion of their funds for MFIs, to augment the efforts of DBP, Land Bank, People’s Credit and Financing Corp, Phil Exim Bank, Small Business Corp. and other institutions in serving all the micro financing requirements in the country.

Media is also playing a big role in helping create this Negosyo culture. GMA7 and QTV are actively supporting programs that promote this entrepreneurship advocacy. This includes broadsheets like Philippine Star which features inspiring entrepreneur awardees and other broadsheets that cover entrepreneurs’ stories. The weekly Radyo Negosyo program of Carl Balita at DZMM has also been very helpful in providing useful Negosyo information and advice to listeners.

Again, all of these efforts are important if we really want to make the Philippines negosyo-friendly. THE BIG BROTHER – SMALL BROTHER HAS STARTED WITH HIGH INTENSITY. Every one is willing to help the Filipino entrepreneur succeed. America is a great model for small and medium sized entrepreneurs. Its economy which is now in serious threat due to a recession has been built by these entrepreneurs. This is the way the Philippines will be able to solve the poverty problem. The food crisis today presents a lot of opportunities especially in the agri and food categories. In every problem there are opportunities and the food crisis, while it presents a problem, also presents opportunities for Filipino entrepreneurs.