Through the years, people have been asking me the question Why and What made me start this advocacy on entrepreneurship.
In 2004, a year before this Go Negosyo advocacy started, my wife told me that I should meet the organization called Gawad Kalinga. I ignored it at the start, but somehow things fell into place that I got to meet its leaders Tony Meloto and Boy Montelibano. At that time, they were just starting and they explained what they do, until I got to attend the huge GK event that year, which was also attended by President PGMA.
The exposure in those communities made me realize the need to have an environment that can create more entrepreneurial opportunities, or on a broader scale, the need to have a country of entrepreneurial Filipinos. Fortunately, at about the same time, I was offered by then President Gloria Arroyo to help the country. She offered me to be a Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship. It was not a Cabinet rank and it did not have any budget or salary. But Tony did touch my heart, so I viewed the offer as probably the time to give back to our society, a great opportunity to help others.
So I began to think of how to structure the advocacy.
So we put-up the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) Foundation Inc, a non-government organization, that has since then been working on many programs that will elevate the awareness and competencies of Filipinos on entrepreneurship. We adopted a battlecry called Go Negosyo, which I remember was a slogan that we were considering when I was brainstorming with my team way back in 2005. We used the word Negosyo since it is more easily understood (and spelled) than entrepreneurship. And I thought that taking the two letters in the middle of Negosyo which is GO gives it the energy of GO (to do it now).
That Go Negosyo battlecry became the slogan and in effect the brand that we are now known for. It is a call to action for Filipinos to have a change of mindset into a positive and progressive one. A culture change is what we aim to achieve for Filipinos to beat poverty and move up in life.
Go Negosyo has been privileged to do its share and to partner with many groups to help build a country of enterprising Filipinos. We are committed to take this advocacy to the next level. We thank everyone who has been part of this cause.
Fellow entrepreneurs and advocates supported our first summit. More than 50 respected entrepreneurs and 50, 000 participants joined the Go Negosyo Summit and Expo in 2006. Despite the military uprising currently happening in Makati at that time, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo arrived in the venue and expressed her support to our advocacy.
Before we had our first summit, 2005 is a year for series of consultation meetings with fellow advocates and trustees. (In photo: Seated – Vivienne Tan, Vicki Belo, Anna Periquet, me, Socorro Ramos, Rolando Hortaleza, Les Reyes. Standing – Victor Tan, Jay Aldeguer, Richie Cuna, and Ben Colayco.)
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo actively joined our programs. Here, she interviewed young participants of our Teen Negosyo Summit in 2006.
One of the icon entrepreneurs, Henry Sy was given the Big Brother of Filipino Entrepreneurs Award in 2006.
To empower more Filipinos, Go Negosyo published relatable and inspirational stories of many champion entrepreneurs in its first book entitled 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories in 2007.
It was Tony Meloto of Gawad Kalinga who inspired me to give back to our society. He has inspired me to help many Filipinos.
We are fortunate to have the support of many influential leaders of our country. Here I was joined by now Sec. Kiko Pangilinan, Sec. Mar Roxas, former Senator Manny Villar, now FEU Chairman Aurelio Montinola and Anna Marie Periquet.
We had a series of Go Negosyo Caravan in different provinces all over the country. Bataan was one of the few provinces we visited.
Henry Sy is truly one of the inspiring entrepreneurs of the country. His inspiring story was featured in our first Go Negosyo book.
Go Negosyo partnered with Gawad Kalinga in one of our first programs. We were also joined by Arthur Yap.
In our mission to empower all Filipinos, we also reached out to people who are physically challenged and showed them ways on how they can start their own enterprise.
Part of our Young Entrepreneurship Summit program is to recognize young entrepreneurs who are inspirations to the next generation of young entrepreneurs.
We also recognized micro entrepreneurs in our provincial caravans.
Pampanga was also one of the provinces we visited and shared our advocacy to Cabalens.
Even celebrity-entrepreneurs were part of our mission. We launched our Celebrity Book filled with stories of celebrities who also bravely ventured into their own businesses.
Go Negosyo sa Bilibid. We successfully had a seminar for around 200 inmates of the New Bilibid prison in Muntinlupa City in 2010. The mission is to empower inmates to be enterprising and entrepreneurial even before they leave the steel prison cells.
It was in 2014 when Pres. Aquino signed into law the Go Negosyo Act which was authored by Sen. Bam Aquino, one of the staunch supporters of Go Negosyo and was once Go Negosyo’s television show host.
Thousands of participants flocked every summit we launched.
Women entrepreneurs have a growing number in the country. This inspires us more to empower Filipina mompreneurs through our yearly Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit.
Our recent program, Building Enterprising Students of Tomorrow (BEST) Program aims to empower the outstanding students of different universities and colleges to become the next change-makers of this country.