Celebrating Women’s Month

Our Women of Impact awardees during a courtesy call with President Duterte after the summit.

Founded in 2005, Go Negosyo has been, for 15 years now, actively supporting micro, small, and aspiring entrepreneurs, the bulk of whom are women. Their enterprises were born out of their passion and their desire to step up while fulfilling their wish to help others. When women pour their hearts into what they do, they create wonderful things and make such a meaningful impact in their communities and industries.

In the numerous mentorship sessions that we have led as well as the various forums we have hosted, we’re always reminded of the exceptional abilities of women especially as leaders. They move and reshape the landscape of the different sectors and fields they participate in while contributing to society. Women hold power in very important sectors such as beauty and wellness, agriculture, tourism, and digitalization/technology.

Last March 2 and 3, we were proud to have hosted another successful forum and summit that highlights the contributions of women in the country and in the ASEAN. The Forum on Philippine Indigenous Weaving brought together more than 500 artisans and enablers, including UNESCO Artist for Peace and Bangladeshi fashion icon Bibi Russell, Sta. Elena Construction & Development CEO and WOMEN 2020 Entrepreneurship Summit co-chair Alice Eduardo, and Honeylet Avanceña.

In the forum, we were also able to train the spotlight on the four Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan (National Living Treasures) on Weaving, namely Manlilikha ng Bayan Ambalang Ausalin for Yakan Tennun, Estelita Bantilan for B’laan Igem, Magdalena Gamayo for Ilokano Inabel, and Yabing Masalon Dulo for B’laan Tabih. We hope that through the forum we’re able to nurture a supportive and dynamic ecosystem where our weavers and private and public-sector enablers can work together to help further transform the Philippine weaving industry. 

Honeylet, a Philippine weaving and traditional arts advocate, shares that the key to the success of our local weavers is to empower them and equip them with the proper tools and know-how. During the forum, we were also joined by staunch supporters and key enablers, Rep. Loren Legarda and Maribel Ongpin.

For the WOMEN 2020 Entrepreneurship Summit: Perspectives of the Global Woman of Impact, more than 9,000 participants filled the three halls of the World Trade Center in Pasay City. As early as six in the morning, eager participants lined up at the venue, hungry to learn from our speakers. The impressive roster of panelists included local and international women icons, leaders, enablers, MSMEs, as well as delegates from the academe.

During the event, nine exceptional women were also recognized at the Women of Impact Awards for their achievements and contributions to the ASEAN and global economy. These inspiring women include Kemariah Duraman (Brunei), Veronica Colondam (Indonesia), Manola Daravong (Lao PDR), Tan Hooi Ling (Malaysia), Khin Lay (Myanmar), Ambassador Delia Domingo-Albert (Philippines), Dr. Gan See Khem (Singapore), Mom Luang Preeyapun Sridhavat (Thailand), and Nguyen Thi Nga (Vietnam). The four Gawad ng Manlilikha on Weaving, Bibi Russell (Bangladesh), and Sopheap Chen (Cambodia) were also recognized.

At the summit, we were also able to hear the inspiring stories of Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray and Charo Santos-Concio of ABS-CBN in a panel discussion moderated by Boy Abunda. The summit also hosted a curated expo, featuring successful women-led enterprises from varying industries across the country and the businesses of our Go Negosyo partners.

In the Philippines, 99.6 percent of micro and small entrepreneurs are women. Filipinas are naturally enterprising, but strong competition, lack of access to network and market, and low productivity often hinder their development. In this regard, WOMEN 2020 aimed to shed light on their plight and offer different ways they can overcome their challenges and achieve their full potential. 

WOMEN 2020 was a successful two-day celebration of women, and due to the amazing turnout, I look forward to seeing more women take that leap as entrepreneurs and flourish as businesswomen — passionate in what they do and fearless in facing their goals.

Happy Women’s Month!