The Outstanding Filipino Awardees 2018 include presidential adviser for entrepre- neurship Joey Concepcion, Fr. Benigno P. Beltran, SVD for Humanitarian service, Raul V. del Mar for public service and Hilly Ann Maria Fernandez-Roa Quiaoit.

To be recognized as one of the Outstanding Filipinos is truly an honor. Last night, I was given this recognition by the JCI Senate Philippines. Other awardees include Fr. Ben Beltran, Rep. Raul del Mar and Dr. Hilly Ann Roa-Quiaoit. I share this recognition with the Go Negosyo community.

“To all our kapatids, thank you very much. This is an award for all of us including our partners in the government most especially our President Duterte who made micro, small, and medium enterprises development a top priority. Thank you also to the Department of Trade and Industry led by Sec. Ramon Lopez; Department of Agriculture led by Sec. Manny Piñol; former special assistant to the president Bong Go; our legislators Sen. Bam Aquino (who started the Go Negosyo law during the previous administration which led to the establishment of 1000 Negosyo Centers nationwide), and Senators Migz Zubiri, Sonny Angara, Grace Poe, and Cynthia Villar for the legislative support for our MSMEs. I also would like to thank the DTI team from its undersecretaries to regional and provincial directors who are under Sec. Mon’s leadership. Our micro, small, and medium enterprises are indeed a priority now.

Thank you also to our sponsors, conglomerates and Go Negosyo big brothers who believe that inclusivity in the economy is the right path to take. And most especially to more than 800 Go Negosyo mentors who continue to inspire and impart knowledge to our mentees. All of you are great partners in the advocacy. Thank you for helping our micro and small entrepreneurs.

I believe that this is our way of putting more meaning into our lives and sharing the blessings and success that we have been receiving.”

Speaking of sharing our blessings, this Christmas season, we welcome back thousands of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who have all sacrificed for their loved ones here in the Philippines. It is during this season that all of them who have worked for months and years fly back to spend time with their families. While some of them are still bound by contract their employers abroad and will be back after some weeks, many of them are considering staying here in the country and starting a business for their family.

As this year comes to a close, our free mentorship also had its last roll out this year in SM Mall of Asia last Monday, Dec. 3 — the same venue of the first launch of the Mentor Me On Wheels (MMOW).

The fulfillment that we get from helping our MSMEs is truly rewarding. This, I think is the best Christmas gift we can give to our OFWs and seafarers for the sacrifices they are doing not just for their families, but also for the country. Indeed, they are worthy to be called our “modern day heroes.”

I also appreciate our entrep-mentors, including Sec. Ramon Lopez, Sen. Cynthia Villar, and Amb. Carlos Salinas who took time despite their busy schedules to shares ideas and knowledge to our mentees. The experiences we had in our own entrepreneurship journey is something we can share so that they too can learn from our mistakes and triumphs.

Pruds Garcia, one of Go Negosyo’s trustees and CEO of Mekeni Corp. who is also a former OFW, said “The reason why I joined Go Negosyo, aside from being invited by PA Concepcion was to inspire our OFWs. Working outside (the country) is not permanent, but it is just a process, so before they go home they have to prepare their family so that going back to the Philippines will easy. There is a challenge for them in terms of entrepreneurship, that is why this free mentorship is really a starting point. An event in which one can meet mentors who share their success and achievements in business.”

Among the hundreds of participants during the mentoring session was Felipe Preciado Jr., a 39-year-old entrepreneur and owner of ACE Electrical Trading and Services which was established just six months ago. He pushed his luck and traveled from Tagbilaran, Bohol to Pasay City to be mentored. Opportunely, he was mentored by Alice Eduardo, president & CEO of Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corp.

As Felipe looked back on his starting months as an entrepreneur, he shared that the business did not go well at first. He had a hard time finding suppliers. As luck would have it, after his free mentoring session with Alice, he was invited by Alice to meet with the company’s electrical engineers and guide him with regard to his concerns in supply management. His passion fuels his drive to become a successful entrepreneur in the future.

I genuinely believe in what Sen. Cynthia Villar said during the MMOW, “Hanap-buhay at negosyo, ‘yan ang kailangan ng ating mga kababayan upang makaahon sa kahirapan at upang maging tuluy-tuloy ang pagsulong ng ating bansa. ‘Wag mamaliitin ang maliit na negosyo. Malaki ang aking tiwala na ang small and micro industry ang magdadala ng progreso sa ating bansa.”

Through our mentorship advocacy, we have come across many people who have been a source of inspiration. We have cross paths with many of our kapatids who championed their respective industry. They are truly an inspiration to me and many people. The story of one of our mentors, Marx Melencio who was robbed of his sight 15 years ago, but is determined to help blind people see through an artificial intelligence technology is truly inspirational. Most people who are perfectly healthy, with complete senses and abilities have so much fear and pessimism, but for Marx, he is determined to contribute to their progress.

I met Marx during the early years of Go Negosyo during the 1st Technopreneurship Summit. Despite being visually impaired, he still continued his entrepreneurship journey by founding his own company, Grayscale Business Consultancy and Management Services which offers multimedia marketing and tele-sales services for public and private organizations worldwide. They also have initiatives on research and development for wearable products with artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning technologies for persons with disabilities.

I am glad that he joined us during the MMOW last Monday. I can say that if Marx can do it, I bet that many people can also be successful.