Dream the Impossible

Over the past few weeks, the headlines again had a feast from the ZTE and into the alleged gift-giving at the palace, and then the accidental explosion that rocked Glorietta. Frustrating at it may be, the cycle of misery somehow continues to hound as some try to see if we will again fall into this cycle which we have been trying to break for many decades.

Despite the stock market crash last Friday in the US, the Philippine Peso stood its ground in all these negative news and even appreciated in the recent days. Our stock market fared pretty well, had a minor correction but was immediately back on its momentum. This is a good show of the solid fundamentals and demonstrates how Filipinos get tired of all the negatives and would rather look now at the positive side of things.

We should show less interest on the political reality shows that don’t get us anywhere. The controversies even derailed the very important cyber education project of DepEd Secretary Jesli Lapus. The cyber education is what we need to empower the poor children whose only hope is good education. This would have given them the chance to learn from other teachers and also surf the cyberspace and learn about new things and developments taking place worldwide.

Having done eight Go Negosyo caravans around the country just this year gave me a lot of positive insights. As we select the most inspiring entrepreneurs from each region, a lot of consultations and research were done with the different local business communities. All awardees had accepted the awards and taken on the challenge to help pursue the Go Negosyo advocacy of promoting the spirit of entrepreneurship in their respective areas. Big and small entrepreneurs have been awarded and it was clear that our choices were good as they are also the popular choice of the residents. We had our forums always full-house with many people taking down notes, while Go Negosyo book-signing can also be tiring.

Moving forward, Go Negosyo embarks on a bigger mission which is to help Gawad Kalinga in their community-based livelihood projects. Gawad Kalinga, one of the most recognized and respected development organization, will partner with us as we share common objectives and aspiration in nation-building. As they help in “kabahayan” or community-building, we can help in “kabuhayan”. Both of us would like to bring hope. Building homes, building negosyo.. Go Gawad Kalinga, Go Negosyo.

For a sustainable development momentum in the GK communities, we have to help them have sustainable sources of income. As we say in Go Negosyo, teach a nation to fish, feed the nation many lifetimes. This is where we see the synergy between our two organizations. After helping change their mindset and outlook in life, it is equally important to help them in raising their productivity, knowledge and skills.

The plan is to set up learning/productivity centers in the various regions, which will teach them relevant skills and basics of entrepreneurship and managing businesses at the community-level or in a cooperative set-up. They have already started with pilot projects supported by Globe and Shell, while other organizations are joining to help. We will now work on in organizing a council of advisers for the GK- Go Negosyo community projects to provide continuous mentorship. You can just imagine if all the communities around us would have vibrant and robust businesses that will uplift the quality of life of the residents, what a brighter Philippines it would be. To the other businesses, that spells a more vibrant Filipino consumer market. Thus let’s all join hands in making this work.

Big vision? Nothing is impossible, if we dream of it and at least try to make it happen. This is very common in many successful entrepreneurs. And I am glad we have the Philippine Star backing the good news of Go Negosyo and Gawad Kalinga.

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After the huge success in Pampanga last October 8, we immediately moved on to Cagayan de Oro last Friday October 19. It was again a jam-packed forum with over 3,000 kagayan-ons and we saw a better mixture of attendees with more micro-entrepreneurs and MFIs’ clients as well as college and senior high school students. We partnered with the very active Oro Chamber led by its President Elpi Paras and immediate Past President Ruben Vegafria.

MSME Chair and Presidential Management Staff head Cerge Remonde and Governor Oscar Moreno, who is another lead proponent for micro enterprises in the country, joined me in giving the awards to the most inspiring entreps from Northern Mindanao.

Knowing the dialect, Sec. Cerge and Gov. Moreno engaged a very good interaction with the crowd during the forum. We were joined by Go Negosyo advocates Jay Aldeguer of Islands Souvenirs, Joel Santos of ESA, BSP microfinance consultant Eduardo Jimenez and celebrity entrepreneur Dominic Ochoa. Hard-hitting moderators Cito Beltran and Cheryl Cosim moderated the forum.

Kagayan-ons had the chance to interact personally with the entreps as well as the awardees. The afternoon forum which focused on how one can start and grow a business was equally engaging as good relevant questions were thrown. Joel Santos moderated the session with Ronald Pineda of Folded and Hung, Chris Tan of Ideal Minds, Chinkee Tan of Vision Unlimited and corporate entrepreneur and PCE Executive Director Mon Lopez. They had a fulfilling time sharing their knowledge with the attendees. Not to be outdone, Dean Pax Lapid of Entrepreneurs School of Asia captured the full attention of the crowd with his fantastic lecture on the basics of entrepreneurship, from opportunities-seeking to vision-setting and importance of financial discipline. He was so passionate that he held on to the full house crowd up to the end of the session at 5:30pm.

We thank the hard-working kagayan-on DepEd Director Joey Pelaez and the Oro Chamber who got all possible support from the local business community and corporate friends like STEAG Power Inc. to help make possible the successful holding of Go Negosyo in the region.

The PCE Go Negosyo team of entreps also had the great opportunity to speak in two other forums with students. One with the Cagayan de Oro College headed by our good friend Chito Salazar of the AIM circle and the other forum was with the big conference of student leaders in Cagayan de Oro and Misamis Oriental, organized by Director Pelaez. We went there hoping to give hope but we were the ones who saw hope in the very good quality of student leaders in the region. That trip to Cagayan de Oro was indeed a very inspiring experience for all of us.

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Join us in this weekend’s annual celebration of GK at the SM Mall of Asia . For Saturday at 10am-3pm, GK Go Negosyo shall have their forums and exhibits. Our major partner ESA shall have their judging and awarding of winners in their Teenpreneur Challenge. This will be followed by forums with successful entrepreneurs who helped in the project. DA Secretary Arthur Yap, Sec Remonde, ESA’s Vivienne Tan and Joel Santos, Les Reyes of Reyes Haircutters, Toto Barcelona of Harbest and previous Go Negosyo inspiring entrep awardees. So see you there as we Go GK- Go Negosyo !