Go Negosyo, Go Gobyerno

For more than a year now, we are happy that in our own little way, our Go Negosyo advocacy has reached a number of sectors in terms of promoting an entrepreneurial mindset. Through different formats such as TV show (RPN 9 at 10:30pm), website, book, magazines, forums and expos and this article, we were able to somehow reach out to our kababayans, and more importantly allowed them to have easier access to free advice from the Go Negosyo entrepreneur mentors. We have mounted well-attended forums and expos, from the Entrepreneurship Summit last February 2006, to having Micronegosyo, Teen Edition (with DepEd), Marikina, Techno Negosyo, for Gawad Kalinga communities, OFW and Balikbayans to Tourism Negosyo last month.

Feedback has been encouraging and so we are now poised to do the Go Negosyo forums and expos in the provinces, based on invitations we are getting. We shall start in June with Cebu and then Bacolod and Baguio in July and Cagayan de Oro in August and San Fernando Pampanga thereafter.

But before we go to the different provinces by June, we just conducted yesterday the Go Negosyo Go Gobyerno forum at the PTTC. We thought it best to conduct a Go Negosyo forum for the government sector, to bring to their families the entrepreneurship mindset, or probably strengthen further the entrepreneurial inclinations that they may already have. “Teaching their families how to fish” is I guess the least we can do to help those in government service.

Yesterday’s forum was organized jointly by PCE and the Presidential Management Staff, headed by its Director-General Cerge Remonde. I would say that he can be referred to as the “chief entrepreneurship advocate in government” as he actively heads the Micro SME Council that is composed of over 30 agencies that directly provide services and assistance to the micro SME sector. Principal line agencies like DTI, DA, DOST, DSWD, DEPED, DOT, DOLE, NLSF and their attached agencies are all active members of the Council.

The forum was graced by no less than President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who has been a strong supporter of entrepreneurship development in the country as she attended almost all Go Negosyo forums and expos whenever she is in the country. Â Other government officials were present such as DTI Secretary Peter Favila, Edgar Generoso of People’s Credit and Finance Corporation, Rey David of Development Bank of the Philippines, Gilda Pico of Landbank and Benel Lagua of Small Business Guarantee and Finance Corporation. The Go Negosyo mentors were also there such as Johnlu Koa of French Baker, Ray Gapuz of R.A. Gapuz Review Center, Entrepreneur of the Year 2006 Senen Bacani, PCE Trustee Carla Limcaoco, Doyee Tumpalan of First Vita Plus and Gaita Fores of Cibo.

The sessions hoped to inspire and give advice to the families of government employees with respect to entrepreneurship. There’s a session as well for government employees regarding INtrapreneurship or how can a government employee adopt an entrepreneurial mindset or attitude while working as professionals or technocrats. This mindset equates to being pro-active, innovative and creative in developing programs that are more meaningful to target beneficiaries of government service.

To be able to create an enterprising culture among Filipinos, we cannot just focus on creating that culture within the private sector. To a certain extent, a number of private companies have started to push for a more enterprising culture within their organization to be able to fight it out with competition, and one can get sanctioned or even fired if he fails vis-a-vis competing brands or if he consistently missed out on several opportunities.

Quite often, we hear criticisms on the government bureaucracy which I think is inherently a trait of a big organization. But there are efforts to re-energize the organization and I believe that integrating an entrepreneurial culture is one way to help achieve that. A research can be done by an independent outfit on how else we can motivate government employees, who we know are somehow protected by their security of tenure.

This is why after the continuing partnership with Gawad Kalinga and the Go Negosyo for OFWs and Balikbayans and tourism, we felt it was equally important to support the government’s efforts in wanting to create an enterprising culture among its employees which will also help augment the income of government employees by helping their families get into business.

Hopefully this effort will be the start of many other activities that will expose government employees to an enterprising culture. One good example is Ernst and Young Master Entrepreneur 2006 Mr. Senen Bacani. He was a former government official having served as the Secretary of Agriculture under the Ramos administration. He left government and started his own agri-business called La Frutera Inc. which is now one of the top 10 banana exporters. Mr. Bacani is a living example of a government employee with an entrepreneurial mindset. And now conversely, even as an entrepreneur, he continues to possess the key traits of a government employee by promoting peace and national unity thru his plantation in Mindanao which is known to employ both Christians and Muslims in the area. This is why we have invited Mr. Bacani to be one of the key forum panelists in Go Negosyo, Go Gobyerno.

This is only the start of a series of Go Negosyo, Go Gobyerno forums as there will also be follow-thru forums in Cebu on May 11 and in Davao on May 25.

Creating a culture of entrepreneurship within the government will not be an easy journey. Some people will even say that it is hopeless and a waste of time. But rather than criticize the efforts that it won’t work, we should remain optimistic and simply channel our efforts to start that journey. This is the process we have to go through in teaching a nation how to fish- teaching the families of government personnel on how to fish will help augment their income and in the process also develop the government’s intrapreneurial mindset. Go Negosyo, Go Gobyerno!