The C-Factor

The past two columns talked about how the education system should nurture the e-factor for their students to have a greater chance of becoming successful entrepreneurs. I also cited the top negosyo professors who mentioned how they would nurture the e-factor. Now what is the c-factor? These are the traits quite common among Filipinos, but one that we have to eliminate in our culture. C stands for the Crab mentality that becomes one of the greatest hindrances of a successful entrepreneur, aside of course from being pessimistic.

While in San Francisco last week, I had dinner with Dylan Wilk of Gawad Kalinga and his wife who is about to give birth to another baby girl anytime now. A couple of years back it was my wife who told me I had to meet this guy, a foreigner who talks so passionately about the Philippines and what Gawad does. I was asked to co-chair a Pitoy Moreno fund raising event for Gawad Kalinga and this is where the friendship started with Greg Monteclaro, Boy Montelibano, Tony Meloto and his son-in-law Dylan Wilk. We did have a successful fund raising event but more than that, it was the start of a relationship that allowed greater trust. I have been able to convince the whole Concepcion clan to donate close to 400 homes to Gawad Kalinga beneficiaries which is now called the Concepcion Village behind the RFM building, beside the Pasig River. Selecta also started its own village with my brother John and is now piloting eco-farming units with Gawad.

Dylan, prior to marrying Tony’s daughter, has a great story to tell, being one of England’s wealthiest at a young age who started as an entrep and sold his gaming business. He was supported by the Prince’s Trust program which he says was the reason for his success as a negosyante. Dylan today works for Gawad for free. He is now in San Francisco giving almost 10 speeches a week in different schools, parishes and universities, getting Filipinos there to support the Gawad cause. During our lunch, I asked him a very frank question about the changes I see in Gawad. He did say his father-in-law which he calls Papa, whom he greatly respects, has continued to remain silent all this time.

Among us Filipinos, we somehow get jealous when people do better than us and it is something that we need to change. When Tony won the Ramon Magsaysay award, Inquirer’s Man of the Year and so many other awards, I knew problems will start. Couples for Christ which was founded by Frank Padilla provides the important component in Gawad Kalinga which is the value formation. It is not a matter of building houses but homes and communities and the reformation of residents in the GK communities. Apparently, some of the advisers of Frank Padilla have somehow been successful in convincing him to set up a new group and get the new Couples for Christ (CfC) organization to focus only on developing spirituality and continue the mission of increasing its fold. Frank is a remarkable man who founded CfC, which is the largest Catholic charismatic organization which I am told has close to a million members.

More than the material awards given on earth, the greatest award await these people in heaven. Both Gawad Kalinga and CfC need each other and we hope they would continue to be together. As for CfC, it is where they can practice their spiritual belief and nourishment by helping GK communities change their lives. Being part of Bukas Loob sa Diyos many years back, and after attending a lot of prayer meetings, I started to realize that spirituality must be practiced, and what a great way to complement it with Gawad Kalinga, the best outreach ministry ever started by Couples for Christ thru the stewardship of Tony Meloto. I have also great admiration for Frank Padilla who has inspired a lot of people spiritually.

GoNegosyo actually has drawn great inspiration from the Gawad Kalinga program and today we continue to work with them. Vivienne Tan, a trustee of PCE has gotten the Entrepreneurs School of Asia to work with about 24 high schools for their selected students to mentor GK communities to improve the marketability of their existing products and make these negosyo projects really feasible and sustainable in the end, on commercial basis. Each high school and GK community is assisted by a GoNegosyo mentor and they form a team that will compete in what we call the “Teenpreneurship Challenge.” A very encouraging challenge indeed, and one that supports the vision of sustainable community-based “kabuhayan” projects of GK. The “kabuhayan” projects we believe are important undertakings complementing the “kabahayan” component of GK.

Let us not allow the evil one to draw up on the c-factor that destroys many good things that we have. We Filipinos take good pride in what GK has been doing, which has also been adopted as a very sound and workable development model in many countries. As with GoNegosyo, we are happy when programs like these succeed in helping people. Let’s continue to inspire people. Let’s enhance the e-factor in us and destroy the c-factor.