President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivering his speech in the ASEAN Business Awards 2017

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his speech addressing the ASEAN Business Awards audience, emphasized the leading role of ASEAN Enterprises of various sized in the growth and prosperity of the region.

“As chair of the ASEAN in its milestone 50th year, I consider it a privilege to usher in a new age in our regional economy. One that is motivated not by the desire for profit, but by the drive for entrepreneurial spirit of our peoples. To recognize the finalists for their outstanding performance in their respective fields, we also acknowledge outstanding companies that made significant social impact through inclusive business models which enable us to achieve inclusive growth and prosperity for all. For serving as the role models of the ASEAN enterprises you have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN Economic Community.”

The President proceeded to rally the call for the honourees present to champion innovation and change for the betterment of all in the ASEAN. Addressing the awardees, President Duterte said that it is now their responsibility to help their fellow entrepreneurs to “do better and achieve more to propel micro entrepreneurs to become small, and the small to become medium, and so on. You are the next breed of role models and I look forward for you to becoming the future mentors.”

Duterte also addressed the other entrepreneurs in the room saying “I also call on entrepreneurs in the region to follow their example and become beacons of innovation and change towards poverty eradication and economic development in your respective countries. Let the accomplishments of our honourees serve as an example for the region the MSMEs are key drivers and contributors to greater employment.”

Lastly, Duterte drives his point home through the call of championing MSME development across the region. “Embrace MSMEs in your supply chains, open up your retail stores, and embrace the small entrepreneurs in the way you do business. We need concrete action if we are to eliminate inequities in the region. That is why it is my fervent hope that all ASEAN Member States would continue to support local businesses through governmental and private endeavours that would make it easier for them grow, flourish, and contribute to the development of our communities and their countries and the entire future.