ASEAN Business Launch

Photo Caption: The ASEAN Business Advisory Council led by its chair Joey Concepcion together with DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and President Rodrigo Duterte.

It is a privilege for the Philippines to host the momentous 50th anniversary of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). It has been a milestone of success for ASEAN as we observe the economic progress in the region.

As the 7th largest economy in the world, we are contributing $2.3 trillion to the world’s GDP. With a diversity of culture, we have created an active ecosystem for various businesses and industries. We have linked companies to companies, industries to industries, and countries to countries.

For the Philippines, we are the fastest growing economy in Asia. We have a strong business sector and public sector who work hand in hand in making the lives of all Filipinos progressive.

Last Tuesday, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez launched the ASEAN 2017 Business and Investment Program in Malacanang. Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and our President Rodrigo Duterte were among the attendees of the launch of business programs for ASEAN this year. Close to 400 guests composed of government officials and businessmen witnessed the successful presentation of the year-long programs of the business sector.

Secretary Lopez said, “Philippines, through DTI, wants to highlight business programs and events that will complement the ASEAN efforts to champion the inclusion of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the international trade, and the strengthened promotion of youth and women entrepreneurship.”

The four pillars of ASEAN Economic Community for ASEAN 2025 were reiterated. These pillars include: the establishment of a single market and production base; a highly competitive economic region; a region equitable economic development; and a region fully integrated into global economy.

2017 will be a busy year for the Philippines as we host many activities. With President Duterte as the chair of ASEAN, Sec. Mon Lopez as chair of ASEAN economic ministers, and I as chair of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, we will make sure to mount programs that will fulfill the agenda of “inclusive, innovation-led growth.”

ASEAN BAC will partner with DTI for the programs on micro and small entrepreneurs, women, youth, and inclusive business.

For the MSMEs, we have created the ASEAN Mentors-Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) which will become the mentors for our small brothers in the industry. Former ASEAN Business Awardees are now being pooled together to create a mentoring session for the ASEAN MSMEs-Mentors Conference. This will feature ASEAN mentors who will share best practices and business insights.

ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network led by Go Negosyo entrepreneur Chit Juan have also partnered with us and DTI for the ASEAN Women’s Business Conference on August. This will be a chance for women entrepreneurs to address issues and concerns focusing on market access and finance.

In September, there will be an Inclusive Business Summit which will feature the best practices in inclusive business and will recognize companies who have implemented inclusive business models in their system. This is also one of our pillars in the Kapatid, Angat Lahat – to promote inclusive business models in the entrepreneurship community. We are currently working on a book that will feature more than 50 companies in the country who have tapped small and micro entrepreneurs to be part of their value chain.

As for the young entrepreneurs, ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Council led by its chair Rommel Gerodias will host the 2nd ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Carnival which will harness the network of young entrepreneurs in the region in the industries of food, agriculture, information technology, logistics, business process outsourcing, start-ups, and Internet of Things (IOT).

Another ASEAN MSME Summit will be held in November which features inspiring MSMEs who have benefited from the mentoring program of DTI and Go Negosyo and other partner agencies. This year, we are launching more Mentor ME programs in different Negosyo Centers in the provinces which will then equip more micro and small entrepreneurs with the needed business techniques and knowhow.

Other programs of ASEAN Committee on Business and Investment Promotion are the following: ASEAN Creative Cities Forum and Exhibit which will showcase innovation, creativity, and culture; ASEAN International Food Exposition Philippines which will feature best food brands of the ASEAN countries and partner nations; Creative Marketplace; and Slingshot ASEAN which will create an ecosystem of start-ups, mentors, angel investors, incubators, academe, and industry experts.

I shared during the launch, “This year, ASEAN turns 50 years. It is indeed a milestone. But in the end, a milestone has to achieve certain objectives for the greater welfare, not only of the Filipino people, but of all the 10 ASEAN countries. 10 years ago, the Philippines hosted ASEAN. My father then was the head of ASEAN BAC and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was the president at that time and the event was held in Cebu. In the past 10 years, the Philippines is really in quest for a solution towards the greatest problem of our nation which is poverty. That is why the ASEAN BAC adopted “Partnering for Change, Prosperity for All. That to me, will really put meaning in the ASEAN as we turn 50 years. We cannot achieve prosperity just for the few. Our president’s principle is equalized by his passion for change which has to happen in the next six years. We are counting on our nine ASEAN brother nations to provide the valuable insights and advice and mentors to be able to help the Philippines in reducing the poverty level. Many of our youth are looking towards a brighter future. We have countless of Filipino people moving overseas to seek better opportunities, better pay, and a better future. This has to change. We must promise them a great future in our country. So prosperity for all will really bring about greater meaning to our ASEAN 50 this year.”

President Duterte who has been very vocal in helping micro and small entrepreneurs, stressed on creating prosperity in the region.  “Our ASEAN today presents many real opportunities for investments to grow, for investors within and outside our region. ASEAN needs to sustain its momentum towards inclusive growth, ensure businesses and industries continue to thrive, and secure a policy that supports meaningful economic change and reform.”

President Duterte also encouraged business leaders to tap the MSMEs and integrate them in the national and regional value chain.

Together, let us partner for change!