Spreading the Spirit of Entrepreneurship

It’s barely two weeks before Christmas and Go Negosyo has continued to be very busy in spreading the spirit of entrepreneurship this yuletide season.  Just last week, we had the Go Negosyo Go Rotary Forum at the Manila Hotel which was a tremendous success.  The District Convention this year was headed by the very entrepreneurial CEO of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Butch Francisco. The Fiesta Pavilion was packed with close to 1,000 Rotarians who listened to Nanay Coring of National Bookstore, Vivienne Tan of Entrepreneurs School of Asia, celebrity entrepreneur Paolo Bediones, Rotary Governor Elect Renato Magadia, PAGCOR President Rafael Butch Francisco, and myself.   Cito Beltran did his usual lively and interesting moderation of the forum.

The discussion covered basically the inspiring stories of the guests in putting up their respective businesses, the challenges they went through and important learnings.  Paolo talked about how he lost 8 million pesos at the start of his venture due to aggressiveness and over trusting of some people which according to him, was a “very expensive tuition fee”.

But, due to his creativity and sheer determination, Paolo was still able to recover and develop even newer business ventures like the I-Tech Phils., which not only handles the marketing and advertising of X1R (engine treatment oil), but has also expanded into a network marketing and IT solutions company.  Paolo is a good example of how a celebrity can serve as a role model for others to follow.  He believes that people in the entertainment industry must learn to invest their earnings wisely since their popularity may not be forever. 

Vivienne on the other hand was able to expound on why she chose to focus her school on entrepreneurship, and how she decided to do it on her own rather than take the easier path of joining her father’s successful conglomerate.  The Entrepreneurs School of Asia is totally in synch with what Go Negosyo stands for, and it is admirable for Vivienne to be driven as well in doing something to help alleviate poverty in the country by having her school focused in teaching entrepreneurs. 

She also mentioned that their students also offer free assistance to the urban poor by putting up their own business.  This for her is not only a chance to help out the community to guide them in managing their business but it also teaches her students to realize and appreciate the value of  every money spent or earned since they are working with very limited capital.
Nanay Coring also talked about the challenges she had to face like the fire that gutted their store in Escolta during the early years of National Bookstore in the 1950’s and just recently, their new store in Legaspi which upon three weeks of operation was destroyed by the typhoon. 

Entreps like her just knew how to deal with challenges and rise above those trials.  She also emphasized that hard work, perseverance and attention to detail, are the qualities that every entrep should have.

Successful entrep Butch Francisco on the other hand talked about his experience when he was asked to head PAGCOR which is one of the biggest revenue generators among government corporations.  As we say, being an entrepreneur in a structured organization is what we call an intrapreneur and Butch was able to blend entrepreneurship and professionalism in running this corporation. 

Renato Magadia shows that is never too late to be an entrepreneur and that one should use his expertise, in his case acquiring properties, in succeeding in business.  He was the acquisitions manager and CEO of Zuellig for many years until striking it on his own as he acquired big corporations like the Waterfront Group, Metro Alliance, Acesite Philippines  and Mabuhay Vinyl Corporation.

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The Go Negosyo for OFWs and Balikbayans will be launched tomorrow, December 15, and will run till December 17 in Market! Market! Trade Halls A & B.  One of the highlights of the event will be the awarding of the Most Inspiring OFW Entrepreneurs on December 16.  Two of the awardees will be flying from Europe to personally accept their award.  First on the list is Consuelo Valencia, the Filipina millionaire who is now based in London.  Consuelo started out as a domestic helper and thought of providing assistance Filipinos in sending their money back home thru a door-to-door cash delivery service. 

Thru her hard work and excellent networking skills, she was able to put up her own remittance service called Farochilen Group of Companies.  There is also Norma Macalindong who had eleven children and did not even finish high school when she went overseas.  Her job as domestic helper was not sufficient to provide for her children so she sold bags, food and other products in tram stations during her free time.  She strived to finish her formal education in Italy knowing that it was the only way she can legalize her business.  Her hard work paid off upon earning her high school degree and getting clearance to officially put up her own retail store.

We also have awardees that put up their own business here in the Philippines.  First on the list is Engineer Michael Abubakar from Sulu.  Along with his wife, Engr. Abubakar is among the pioneer professional Overseas Contract Workers who went to Saudi Arabia.  After working for 23 years there, he came back to the Philippines for good and ventured into the real-estate business.  He is now the General Manager of M. Abubakar Consolidated Engineering (MACE) which builds decent and affordable homes for the First Sulu Estate Subdivision and has been helping the local community through various infrastructure projects.  There is also Letecia Marrero from the Mt. Province, a 69-year old lady who used to be a dressmaker and sari-sari store owner before working overseas.  She now owns a garden resort in the Mt. Province which has three swimming pools, a lawn tennis court, picnic cottages and tables, a playground and a convenience store. 

She also owns a dry goods store and a banana plantation and has also been very active in helping out their community ever since she came back to the Philippines.  We also have Dr. Eugenio Dayag from Tuguegarao who worked as a medical officer for a stevedoring company.  He now owns a cattle ranch along with hectares of rice lands, sugarcane and cassava plantations.  Apart from supplying jobs to his community thru his various businesses, he also provides medical assistance as the City Health Officer of Tuguegarao City. 

It is about time we recognize the accomplishments of these notable individuals so that they may inspire their fellow OFWs and Balikbayans to not only persevere in overcoming the hardships of working overseas, but to also invest their hard-earned money to sustainable business ventures.

Apart from the awarding the OFWs and Balikbayans, we will also give an award for the Most Inspiring Maritime Service Provider/Entrepreneur.  This year’s recipient is Mr. Carlos Salinas, President of the Philippine Transmarine Carriers Inc. for his outstanding achievements and contributions to the development of the Philippine maritime industry particularly the Philippine overseas sector.   

We will also give a special award to the Philippine Association of Service Exporters Inc., (PASEI) for their active involvement in promoting the professionalization of the overseas employment industry and protecting the rights and welfare of its stakeholders.  President Arroyo will personally give out the awards and will also take part in a short forum with the awardees and representatives from various government and non-government organizations that have programs related to the OFWs and balikbayans.

I am inviting everyone to go to Market! Market! Trade Halls A & B tomorrow till Sunday to participate in the Go Negosyo Para sa OFWs and Balikbayans.  Admission is free so bring everyone you know even if they’re not OFWs or Balikbayans.  We will have very interesting and informative forums and booth exhibits that should give everyone exciting business ideas.  There will be film showings, game shows and celebrity guest appearances.  Let’s all participate in this festive event for the new breed of heroes of this country — the OFWs and Balikbayans.  Go Negosyo!

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Dear Mr. Cabulay,

I recently just wrote a book, 134 pages long, about entrepreneurship and the school system. Its currently being edited and proofread, and will begin printing by December. It should be out and printed by January 2007.

The book is about the school system, specifically college, on how college does not produce entrepreneurs, rather it produces employees. I go in depth from the academics, to the behaviors, to the mindset of students, and the teachers and classroom.

It puts focus on how we usually learn through experience, and not through reading books and lectures. Students usually feel boredom and fear in the classroom, rather than inspiration and joy. Students memorize facts and ideas, rather than understand.

4 out of the top 5 richest Americans in 2005 from a study in Forbes show that they do not have college degrees. This includes Gates, Allen, Ellison, and Dell.

I want to tell you more about my book, and hopefully be able to get my ideas across many people.

Hi Chris,

I completely agree with your data on the richest Americans because that was the output of the traditional educational system here and abroad. But now, things have changed. In fact, there are many schools abroad and a few in the Philippines that have carefully designed academic programs (courses) that prepare well the youth to become entrepreneurs. Completing or not completing a degree has nothing to do with being an entrepreneur (more so, success in entrepreneurship).

There are at least 20 Philippine schools that have best practices in entrepreneurship education. This was, in fact, a subject of a research paper I delivered during the 2006 International Conference of the World Council for Curriculum and Instruction held at Manila Hotel last August 2006. Best of luck on your book.

Danny Cabulay
( Danny Cabulay is the Dean of the Institute of Accounts, Business and Finance of Far Eastern University.  He is also the coach of the winning Philippine teams in the 2005 and 2006 Entrepreneurial Idol of the World Competition in Harvard University)

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Good day Sir Victor!

I’m Allen, a recent college graduate with lots of dreams of having my own business. A few weeks ago, I am thinking of setting up a clothing store that offers cute-designed T-shirts from China that caters for the teen-young adult market. 

I’m thinking if importing this kind of product will be good as my sole business. I’m aware that the peso-dollar exchange rate is performing well, and trade relations with other countries like US and China are going really well too. Hence, I would like to ask what would be the advantages and disadvantages of going for importation of T-shirts? Thank you and more power to entrepreneurs like you.

Sincerely yours,

Hi Allen,
Thanks for your e-mail. In clothing business, importation is good. Just make sure your suppliers produce quality items.   Open and clear communication with them is important. See to it that they will follow every detail that you will give them to avoid problems in design, delivery, term of payment, etc. However, you also need to balance the ratio of your imports and locally produce items. Do not rely 100 % of your stocks on import.  You can also outsource good suppliers here in Manila.  Also, be updated on the fluctuation of peso-dollar exchange.

Good luck on your endeavor.

Victor Tan
(Victor Tan is the founder of Crolific Garments Manufacturing Corporation which is famously known for the brand Bobson Jeans.)