Partners in Nation Building

As partners, Go Negosyo and Gawad Kalinga jointly recognized inspiring entrepreneurial GK communities during the GK’s anniversary last Saturday at the SM Mall of Asia grounds. I would like to thank PGMA for attending the GK Go Negosyo awarding despite the short notice, with the help of Sec. Cerge Remonde and Usec. Marilou Frostrom. Her presence meant a lot to the fifty thousand people who were present that day, including the awardees of the 3 most inspiring entrepreneurial communities and the young high school students who participated in the ESA’s Teenpreneur challenge.

During my talk, I mentioned what both Gawad Kalinga and Go Negosyo offer to the Filipino people, which is HOPE. It is through a change into an optimistic and entrepreneurial attitude that we can move up in life as an individual and as a nation. The GK – Go Negosyo slogan placed together is kabahayan as in building homes and kabuhayan as in building livelihood. I cited as an example how Congresswoman Cynthia Villar helped GK Sunshine Village transform water lilies, which are common problems in our rivers, into raw materials for handicrafts. This project has become a sustainable source of livelihood for that community. Even PGMA was surprised to see that the basket I showed to the crowd during my talk was made out of water lilies. GK Sunshineville was one of our most inspiring entrepreneurial community awardees, along with Selecta Village for their urban farm and Freedomville for their candle-making business.

Gawad Kalinga, despite the departure of Frank Padilla who has decided to focus more on spiritual mission works, has become stronger with Joe Tale as the Chairman and Luis Oquiñena as Executive Director. Of course the driving spirit behind all these is GK founder and 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Tony Meloto.

The Entrepreneurs School of Asia also had the final judging of the 2007 Teenpreneur challenge that day and the winners for Best Product Improvement were San Beda College (1st Place), Kostka School (2nd place) and Makati Hope Christian School (3rd Place). For the Best Selling category, winners were Manila Waldorf School (1st Place), Kostka School (2nd Place) and St. Paul QC (3rd Place). It was inspiring to see young students passionately presenting their creative outputs and innovations that they have worked out with their respective GK community, of course with the help of our Go Negosyo and the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc. (AFFI) mentors. Amazing realization was on how early the students were exposed to actual experience of developing product innovations (the kind of entrepreneurial mindset we promote), while gaining the consciousness to share their talents and resources to help other communities.

It’s still a long road and it may take generations to see the vision of Gawad Kalinga and Go Negosyo happen but we need to dream the impossible and start doing something to attain the impossible.

Next stop is the search for the Citi Microentrepeneurs of the year. This is an annual search that is supported by Citi Group, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Micro Finance Council of the Philippines and Go Negosyo. Candidates include Allan Geron who operates a bakery and mini grocery, Mr. Henry Bayaua who is engaged in the production of agricultural equipment such as rice threshers, kuliglig, and trailers, Ruel Limpin who owns a junkshop/waste recycling business, Marciel Quiap who together with his husband is in the business of making home furniture, doors, door jambs, and window jambs. Milagros Dorado who apart from raising ducks that lay eggs suitable for balut also buys whole or unhusked coconuts from local farmers, processes the coconut meat into copra and converts the coconut shells into charcoal, Rosa Mayordomo who has a daing business, Saturnina Diez who is into vegetable farming & trading of farm products and Virginia Dimayuga who manufactures banana chips and coated peanuts.

The success of these microentrepreneurs can be largely attributed to the Micro Finance Institutions from the Microfinance Council of the Philippines who really mentored them such as Bangko Kabayan, First Isabela Cooperative Bank, Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, Rural Bank of Dulag (Leyte), Inc., Cebu Micro-Enterprise Development Foundation, Inc., Bangko Kabayan Center for Community Development Foundation, Inc, Alalay Sa Kaunlaran, Inc., Rural Bank of Sto. Tomas (Davao del Norte) and KFI Center for Community Development Foundation, Inc. Citi’s Country Head Sanjiv Vohra, BSP Governor Amando Tetangco and I shall award the winners on November 13 at the BSP Galleria, Metropolitan Museum of Manila.

We have also been partnering with various agencies such as the member agencies of the MSME council, DTI in their “one-town-one-product” project, PTTC and BSMED group, SBGFC, PCFC, DOF National Credit Council, DSWD, TESDA, TRC, CDA, Philexim, NLSF, NAPC, PIA, BSP, DBP, Quedancor, LBP, NCRFW and UP-ISSI, For our Go Negosyo forums and expo, DOST for Techonegosyo, DOLE and OWWA for OFW Negosyo, the Department of Education in Teen Negosyo every July, the Department of Tourism and PCVC who fully-supported Tourism Negosyo, Gawad Kalinga and DA for Go Negosyo sa GK. For our Go Negosyo caravans, the various regional branches of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the LGU’s, the regional MFI’s and the local print, TV and radio stations, Rotary Club International, CHED and RBAP. ABS-CBN Bayan Foundation in producing the How-To Go Negosyo Book, HSBC and ENEDA in promoting business plan competitions, the Entrepreneurs School of Asia for the Teenpreneur Challenge. Our corporate sponsors Globe, PAGCOR, Hyundai, San Miguel Corporation, PLDT, Smart, PAL, Splash Corporation, SM Supermalls, Islands Souvenirs, RFM Corporation, Unilever, Concepcion Durables Inc., TMLF, National Bookstore for the Go Negosyo book, Hinge Inquirer Publications for the Go Negosyo Magazine, our media partners The Philippine Star, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Manila Bulletin, RPN 9, GMA 7, ABS CBN, ANC, NBN4, Ideal Minds Corporation, Creativoices Production, Aspac Law, and Fullcircle Communications. And of course, the countless Go Negosyo advocates who continue to support the advocacy by sharing their time as forum panelists and online mentors. This column won’t fit if I mention all their names. The list goes on and on and all of these partners have in more ways than one contributed in building an entrepreneurial nation. They are truly our Partners in Nation Building. Nothing is impossible we do our own little share to help move the country forward.

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The Friedrich Naumann Foundation together with the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals and Acton Media will host the Manila film premiere of The Call of the Entrepreneur on Saturday, 10 November at 5:30 p.m. at the Ateneo Professionals Schools Auditorium, Rockwell Center, Makati City. Admission is free so please do come and see this inspiring film about the lives of three different entrepreneurs. For more info, please visit: or call: 840-37 28/29.