How Do Entrepreneurs See 2007?

From people who read the column last week on my father, the social entrepreneur, I didn’t expect that kind of response.  A lot of them were deeply touched by what I wrote and a lot of kleenex were probably sold that day. 

We celebrated my Dad’s birthday last Friday in my parent’s hideaway in Balai Taal.  My uncle celebrated his birthday in their new house in Antipolo but both families paid a tribute to them.  The video we prepared for Dad was quite emotional, which showed what he has done for this country and how he served as a mentor to our family. 

Many successful families tend to forget all these as they get so busy with work. They become so preoccupied with material wealth that their work becomes their god. We can all fall into this trap of false gods and it is in these different events that we hope to come back to the realization of important things in life.

My father gave an emotional speech and was touched by the column even if his real age had to be revealed.   When my time came to give a response why I wrote the article, I told my dad’s guests that something that morning woke me up to write it even as I already prepared an article for the next day . My wife said it was the Holy Spirit and it probably was.  It was indeed a very emotional column for me and I’ll always be reminded that we should never forget to say how much our parents mean to us.

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As we welcome the New Year, both Star and Inquirer came out with the headlines that 9 out of 10 Filipinos believe that 2007 will be a good year. This to me is excellent news and it clearly shows that optimism is prevalent and pessimism is losing out. Those who had this attitude in 2006 made a killing in the stock market.  Philippine bonds also did very well and real estate as well as IPO fever is on its way.

I asked 30 entrepreneurs what they thought of 2007 and 100 percent had a positive outlook.  What we need to do to is sustain this momentum.  Here are the first 15 replies of some of the country’s most successful entrepreneurs.  I hope everyone who will read this will be inspired to have the same positive outlook all throughout the year.

JOEY ANTONIO (Chairman, Century Properties Group)
We see the economy maintaining its momentum.  To sustain this, the government must implement its major infrastructure projects as many roads, and other facilities which are more than 20 years old.  The expansion of tourism for example can also be realized if the new airports are built to lure investments in hotels and lodging without which tourists cannot be served.  With single digit interest rates are being experienced, banks should start prudently lending for expansion of businesses.  I am betting that if the mega projects announced during the President’s SONA is implemented, among others, we will see the longest economic boom in the country.

GUILLERMO LUCHANGCO (Chairman and CEO, ICCP Venture Partners)
Looks positive, to maintain, we need continued fiscal discipline and avoid major political scandals or abuses during elections.

EMERSON YAO (General Manager, Lucerne)
I feel the economy will be good in 2007.  The positive results in 2006 will continue on backed by positive outlook from most businesses.  Growth will be sustained if government can implement good policies and continue with reforms.  We just need control, peace and order and to empower entrepreneurs!  The start up entrepreneurs today will be the future source of growth for the economy.

AMBASSADOR DONALD DEE (President, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry)
It is definitely positive but we must massively work on infrastructure and work on factors to improve productivity.

DORIS MAGSAYSAY-HO (Chairperson and CEO, Magsaysay Maritime Corporation)
I think you and Go Negosyo are proof that effort, hard work and determination with a clear vision can motivate and galvanize society towards progress– one bit at a time. 

DENNIS VALDES (President, PhilWeb Corporation)
We must try to sustain economic gains into 2007.  We need more  encouragement for entrepreneurial efforts, encourage more Filipino companies to innovate new products and services, save money to invest in new businesses and urge Filipino companies to venture abroad and conquer foreign markets.  I have full faith in the Philippine economy for 2007.  We have always been resilient people, and if we build on our pride of being Filipino and have faith in our abilities, then we will have a stellar 2007. 

2007 looks positive, with Asia likely to decouple from the slowing US economy.  The Philippines would continue to grow but at a slower pace.  Sustainability will depend on political stability and good governance. 

ROBERT YUPANGCO (Yupangco Holdings Corporation)
Considering that election time is around the corner (money will circulate etc.), economy will be good!  To sustain it, confidence with peace and order will be imperative. Also the 7 sins we have to avoid in 2007! Politics without principles, wealth without work, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, commerce without integrity, knowledge without wisdom and justice without compassion.  Happy New Year ahead!

CECILIO PEDRO (President and CEO, Lamoiyan Corporation)
Economy will move forward in 2007.  Government should continue to invest in infrastructure that will promote foreign investment.

RICARTE GAPUZ (President, R.A. Gapuz Review Center)
I am very positive that the economy will continue to grow at a better and faster rate.  The President’s economic reforms have brought tremendous economic gains.  We need the support of all sectors to sustain the gains of the country.  Filipinos should unite for a new revolution – the GMA economic revolution.

ANTON GONZALEZ (President, Planet Sports)
Being in the retail business, I see positive growth in 2007 especially in the restaurant and services category which should drive the retail sector growth.  We need to maintain the strength of the peso versus the dollar and keep the peace and order situation stable.  With those two things in place, same stores sales should have double digit growth.  There should also be economic focus in the areas other than Metro Manila so we can see level growth in the country.

JOSIAH GO (Chairman and Chief Marketing Strategist, Mansmith and Fielders Inc.)
It’s going to be bullish.  We just have to watch out our own attitude.  Blue oceans ahead!

PATRICK GO (Paramount Life and General Insurance Corporation)
2007 will be what we make of it.  Certainly always room for improvement to do things better and make our lives more meaningful.  Sustaining our gains will always be a challenge but always look ahead and count our blessings.  Onwards and upwards!  Mabuhay!

MICHAEL TAN (CEO, Asia Brewery)
I see 2007 ending in a positive note.  In order to achieve this we need to have a successful midterm election.  The government should continue its long term pro-investment and pro-job creation policies and should win its fight against terrorism and insurgency. 

J.ROBERTO DELGADO (Founder and Group Chairman, Transnational Diversified Group)
The Philippine economy has started to roll.  In order for it to be sustainable, I think the politicians ought to stop fighting each other and work together instead to create a healthy environment for business and the Filipinos.  A stable environment with low crime, health care and education for the poor, and provide synergistic incentives and legislation for business.  The church should focus on saving souls and not interfere in government.  Both church and state should focus on their goals and allow business to focus on theirs.  Meanwhile, all sectors should help alleviate poverty, cooperate in providing opportunities for education and meaningful employment.