The biggest women negosyo summit!

From one mentors’ conference to the biggest mentoring session, we are proud to share the success of the 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit. A record-breaking 15,000 participants attended the summit which aims to empower our Filipino women and the youth to venture into entrepreneurship. This is the biggest crowd we have had over the past 10 years of holding this special summit for Filipino women.

As early as 5:30 in the morning, we saw buses of students arriving, and soon the lines to the entrance were crazy. We saw eager participants hungry to learn from our speakers.

US Ambassador Sung Kim was among the first to arrive. He was stunned to see the large crowd inside the World Trade Center. Other ambassadors who attended include Amanda Gorely (Australia), Raszlan Bin Abdul Rashid (Malaysia), Win Naing (Myanmar), Kok Li Peng (Australia), Ly Quoc Tuan (Vietnam), John Holmes (Canada), Harald Fries (Sweden) and Igor Khovaev (Russia). All of them were amazed on what we do to empower women and the youth.

The keynote forum was star-studded with women entrepreneurs such as Tessie Sy-Coson, Vicki Belo and Natividad Cheng who all shared their stories of growth and success over the years. Lizzie Eder Zobel and Clarisse Delgado also shared their experience and how their social enterprise Teach for the Philippines aims to provide relevant and excellent education.

When our hosts Chal and Mike announced the name of Georgina Wilson and Anne Curtis, the students all shouted and cheered for the celebrity entrepreneurs. They shared how they started their own businesses out of their passion. Georgina related that for their first branch in SM Mall of Asia, she personally arranged their stocks on the shelves.

As for Anne, she appreciates her business partner and mentor Jacqe Gutierrez who has guided her through the whole process of setting up her own business, BLK Cosmetics. Micro entrepreneur Merle Paete also inspired many as she shared how she started her business with just P2,000 as capital. Now, her pili pulp oil is slowly gaining traction in the market. Even Vicki Belo revealed that she was once bullied in her younger years for her looks, that is why she made it a mission to make Filipinos beautiful.

But more than being the biggest women negosyo summit, we also had the biggest mentoring session through our first mentoring café, which had around 200 mentors who volunteered and tirelessly gave advice and business tips to the attendees in the audience. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., people lined up to get their chance to be advised by our mentors in different areas of entrepreneurship. In fact, some of the participants even brought their own products during the mentoring.

One of our mentors, Thelma Dumpit shared, “I mentored four from varied backgrounds. The first was a nurse who had inherited a lot from her father. The second was a manufacturer who wanted to expand her product lines. The third was a writer who needed help in getting published. And the fourth was from the academe, but has an existing farm she does not know how to run as a business. Quite an interesting lot!  More importantly, I realized I had a lot to share and they were all so grateful.”

The keynote forum featured Georgina Wilson, Merle Paete, Clarisse Delgado, Anne Curtis, Natividad Cheng, Tessie Sy-Coson, Lizzie Zobel and Vicki Belo. Joining them in the photo are PA Joey Concepcion, Filipina Summit co-chair Alice Eduardo and forum moderator Issa Litton.

The keynote forum featured Georgina Wilson, Merle Paete, Clarisse Delgado, Anne Curtis, Natividad Cheng, Tessie Sy-Coson, Lizzie Zobel and Vicki Belo. Joining them in the photo are PA Joey Concepcion, Filipina Summit co-chair Alice Eduardo and forum moderator Issa Litton.

Max Yap, another mentor shared, “A lot of people still wanted to come. Also some came from Bulacan and even the Visayas! They wanted more, they queued and wanted a one-on-one.”

One of the highlights of the summit was the awarding ceremony for this year’s Inspiring Filipina Awards, which was graced by no less than President Duterte himself. We awarded 20 Filipina awardees, including legacy awardees Dr. Lourdes Montinola and Helen Yuchengco-Dee, for their leadership in Far Eastern University and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., respectively.

When President Duterte saw the attendees, he was glad to see the number of people who attended. In his speech he said, “I thank Go Negosyo for its effort in providing opportunities for the country’s MSMEs, particularly for women entrepreneurship to expand and improve their business.” He added, “I assure everyone that in line with the theme of this year’s National Women’s Month celebration, government is supportive of the initiatives to make change work for women.”

President Duterte accommodated all photo requests with the awardees, our partners, ASEAN mentors, selected micro entrepreneurs, and all 105 student representatives.

In my speech, I said, “This administration is pushing for inclusive growth. We want everybody to have better lives. We want the rich to share their wealth to enable many micro and small entrepreneurs, and for them to become one of the next awardees someday. Us, the men in the government, with our President leading the way, will provide the right environment to make this economy robust, as a favorite destination for tourist to come, and as a favorite place for businessmen to invest.”

It was a successful 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit! I was amazed to see that we filled the three halls of World Trade Center. We thought the two halls would be enough for this year, but because of the interest of the people, we had to get all three the halls to accommodate everyone.

With this turnout, I look forward to more businesses managed and led by women who are passionate in what they do, persevering in achieving their goals, and fearless in facing challenges.

Thank you once again to all those who attended the summit!