As we approach May 10, all eyes are set on who will be the next president of our country. A number of Filipinos still believe that each Filipino’s destiny fully relies on the next president.
If the new leadership can continue or better the macro environment, there will be a conducive setting for business in the Philippines. But, the rest is up to us to create our own destiny. Let us stop blaming government for all our misery, unless we fall back to a dictatorship. For as long as we are in a democratic rule where free enterprise is respected, everybody has a good chance to succeed. Many who are below the poverty line will blame the government or other groups for where they are today. This is what Go Negosyo wants to change.
Let me share with you my introduction in our latest book entitled “GO NEGOSYO 100 Inspiring Stories of Small Entrepreneurs: Tagumpay Mula sa Kahirapan”:
Tagumpay is not bound by poverty. Dreams of success are not only for the rich, educated or privileged.
We have been to different cities, provinces and regions all over the Philippines through our Go Negosyo caravans. In all the places that we have been to, we have encountered countless inspiring stories of success. These are the stories of micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs). These are the stories of people who have started a negosyo from literally almost nothing.
It is amazing how things turn out in our caravans and other activities. One of our goals is to inspire the local community. But, as we leave, we find out that we are the ones being inspired. Nothing compares to the drive and determination of a person who badly wants to beat poverty. A pile of trash, a handful of peanuts, a piece of tattered cloth or an alkansya filled with five-peso coins can turn into a thriving business venture. We are honored to have met and have known people who changed their destinies through sheer hard work and solid determination.
As we meet these inspiring negosyantes, we are likewise encouraged to be a part of their continuing growth phase as we extend to them our network of entrepreneurs and mentors, our training, seminars and learning fora, which can all help them take their businesses to the next level.
Featured in this book are inspiring stories of 100 small entrepreneurs. They are Go Negosyo’s Most Inspiring Awardees in our caravans; Citi’s Micro Entrepreneur of the Year awardees and finalists; National Livelihood Development Corporation’s SIPAG awardees and finalists; Department of Agriculture’s featured agri-entrepreneurs in their The Art of Agribusiness book; and entrepreneurs under DTI’s One Town One Product program.
In our activities and programs all over the country, together with our partners and sponsors, one of our goals is to share inspiring stories of struggle and success of the entrepreneurs who have beaten poverty.
This book is our way of celebrating the success of the many MSMEs that serve as one of the backbones of the Philippine economy. Their stories are the journeys to be shared. A lot of Filipinos are suffering a low point of depression because of poverty. It is easy just to give up, let things be, and do nothing. They chose not to. We hope that the stories of these entrepreneurs will ignite their hearts and minds, for them to be able to start new lives.
We need to let people know that it is possible. No matter how buried you are under poverty, there is no reason why you cannot make it. These are stories of people who have faced the` worst, who reached a turning point in their life, beaten the odds and who have risen above the challenges of life. These are the stories that have changed and will change lives for the better.
Filipinos are neither destined to be poor, nor is the Philippines destined to be the sick man of Asia.
Go Negosyo’s fifth book also stands proof that not all people in the government are corrupt. Many of them work hard to help. Some just lack the guidance and inspiration.
I would like to thank PGMA for giving me the opportunity to serve our Filipino people during the last four years as an advisor on Entrepreneurship Development. I would also like to thank the people who have worked with us in Go Negosyo: from the late Sec. Cerge Remonde who was initially tasked to head the MSME task force and was passionate in helping the sector; to the different government agencies and heads led by Department of Trade and Industry Sec. Peter Favila and Usec. Merle Cruz, who have consistently supported the micro and small entrepreneurs; together with National Livelihood Development Corporation President Lina Amata, Landbank of the Philippines President Gilda Pico, Department of Agriculture Sec. Arthur Yap, Department of Tourism Sec. Ace Durano, Department of Science and Technology Sec. Estrella Alabastro, Department of Education Sec. Jesli Lapus, Commission on Higher Education Chairman Emmanuel Angeles, and the many hardworking partners in government. The success of Go Negosyo in helping inspire Filipinos for a better life will not be possible without the support and the efforts that we have placed together.
These 100 entrepreneurs are just examples of the many that have been helped. The quest to fighting poverty continues. Let this be just the start of showcasing many entrepreneurs who have beaten poverty. As what most people say, God only helps those who help themselves.
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Let me extend my deeply-felt condolences to Fred Uytengsu and his family on the passing away of his father, Wilfred Uytengsu Sr., who founded General Milling Corporation and served as one of the long-standing pillars of the Philippine flour industry. While we competed in the same field, we have always looked up to him with admiration as the classic entrepreneur, one who knew the risks but always kept his faith in the local market. This was exemplified by his brave decision to focus on the milk business and to build up the Alaska brand, which together with his son Fred, he eventually transformed into the market leader that it is today.