Business organizations who are now part of the Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance discussed programs for stronger money, market and mentorship for MSMEs.

Over the years, Go Negosyo has gathered many entrepreneurs who are all willing to be part of the advocacy of inclusive growth. And now, since my appointment as the presidential adviser for Entrepreneurship in the Duterte administration, I am uniting all business organizations to form a stronger private sector which is in full support of the government’s programs in MSME development.

Recently, I met with leaders of business organizations who have long been part of Go Negosyo and led the creation of the Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance. The alliance is composed of private and public organizations that come together to alleviate poverty in the Philippines. Members of the alliance each presented their efforts in building an avenue for inclusive economic growth, especially the underserved sectors of the society.

If you can remember, we  launched a similar group last year. This time, we have tapped more organizations and associations to form part of the group together with key public sector stakeholders.

The alliance meeting was attended by George Barcelon and Bing Limjoco from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Rex Daryanani of the Federation of Indian Chambers Philippines, Ben Castillo from Bankers Association of the Philippines, Ramon Fernandez and Marife Zamora of the Management Association of the Philippines, Jun Ortiz-Luis of Philippine Exporters Confederation, Samie Lim and Richard Sanz of Philippine Franchising Association, Paul Santos of Philippine Retailers Association among others.

Aside from gathering the members, the main objective of the meeting was to apprise them of the Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance launch with President Duterte which will formalize the alliance and the strategic framework laying down the priorities of the group which is  digitalization of microentrepreneurs, particularly the sari-sari stores and other nano-entrepreneurs, island tourism roadmap and agribusiness development. These will help us identify what we want to achieve in the next four years to help the government and how we will achieve them.

There is a need to digitalize our micro-entrepreneurs to help them become more efficient. In the case of sari-sari stores, making them go online will help them separate their own money from the money their business generates. By equipping them with e-wallet and enabling them with fintech solutions, it will be easier for them to access money even from their mobile phones.

The next one, which is tourism, is now seen as one of the priorities of the government, after having to close down Boracay. One major action that should be done here is airport rehabilitation. Last month, I chaired the meeting joined by the economic team together with the conglomerates to discuss the unsolicited proposals that will help the government align with its Build Build Build program. Airport rehabilitation will eventually further boost tourism in our country.

Lastly, the agribusiness development. A model that works well is the Yazaki-Torres model wherein the 3Ms converge. Mr. Feliciano Torres of Yazaki-Torres hired a mentor to help the farmers while providing the money through his rural bank and basically buying all the rice produced for all his employees.

Initially, we presented the programs of the government sector which are directed or can be linked to MSME development clustered under the 3Ms of MSME development (mentorship, money and market) as an inventory of the initiatives where the private sector could be of help.

Other programs led by the private sector was discussed as well, which includes our Kapatid Mentor ME Program and the Kapatid Agri Mentor ME Program.

I agree with George when he shared that through the alliance, business organizations working as a team would provide a leverage for MSME owners to be equipped with the right skills and knowledge. The alliance will help on continuing and sustaining actions geared towards the 3Ms, Marife added.

People Management Association of the Philippines president Ramon Segismundo asserted the need to have a “start-up society” to build an entrepreneurial culture with hard work, frugality, risk-taking, and innovation. He also mentioned recognizing the role models, implementing a rewards-and-consequences system, promoting learning to fail, developing a grassroots innovation process, and developing the entrepreneur’s competency and values as ways on achieving the said goal.

Meanwhile, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines president Dan Lachica suggested to reach out to retirees who can become mentors to Go Negosyo’s programs and other endeavors. He also mentioned the need to improve the electronics industry which can eventually contribute to the infrastructure programs of the government.

Both PFA and AFFI agreed that franchising could help MSMEs expand. Jorge Wieneke, director of AFFI who is also one of our pioneer mentors pledged their commitment to the mentorship program. Richard Sanz, who is now the president of PFA, supports the digitalization initiatives. PFA has also partnered with Go Negosyo for their program Franchising Intervention in Rebuilding Marawi (FIRM). I suggested to these two groups of franchisers to lead the digitalization by putting QR codes in their stores for the cashless payments and to incentivize their entrepreneurs who are executing this projects.

I also would like to highlight the suggestion of Jun Ortiz-Luis on converting a portion of the Conditional Cash Transfer of the DSWD and reallocate it to fund programs which will create more businesses and more jobs. This is one of our initial ideas when we were consolidating inputs on 3Ms.

Bankers Association of the Philippines managing director Benjamin Castillo suggested that since there are different providers of digital money (ex. Globe and Smart), interconnectedness system should be implemented in order to push for digital growth. By year 2020, as mandated by BSP, BAP would lead the formation of structure and regulation for digital payments.

MJ Panganiban, one of the directors of the Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines (DCOM), reported that DCOM is working on digital platforms, marketplace, payment solutions, and logistics to help provide a better e-commerce roadmap. According to him, DCOM is developing a platform where customers can order directly to sari-sari stores.

With this alliance, we hope to bring growth to the money and market aspect as it goes side by side with the mentorship programs. I would like to highlight that Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance is how private and public sector can come together to bring down the level of poverty and hopefully bring prosperity for all.