While everyone is busy shopping for gifts or enjoying their vacation, I’m reflecting on the many things that has happened this 2018.
It’s been a fruitful year indeed, not just for me and my family, but also for Go Negosyo, which continues to push forward our goal of inclusive growth and prosperity for all. Last Dec. 8, I took the opportunity to celebrate our milestones with our partners and mentors who have supported us and become key figures in our success this year.
These people, from both private and public sectors, gave us their full support and even helped us advance our advocacy, which are anchored on the 3Ms: Mentorship, Money and Market.
At the appreciation dinner, I also invited the Citi Microentrepreneurship awardees of 2019. Four of them were graduates of the Go Negosyo and Department of Trade and Industry’s Kapatid Mentor ME Program. They are proud testament to the success of our programs for our microentrepreneurs. With the knowledge and skills training, these successful microentrepreneurs will, indeed, have a better chance to grow and sustain their respective businesses.
During the dinner, aside from celebrating partnerships, I was also surprised by my wife, Marissa, who presented me with a heartwarming gift. It was a book she secretly put together with the help of family, friends and fellow Go Negosyo entrepreneurs, who had tirelessly worked on it for seven months. It was definitely something that I would not have agreed to do. But after seeing and reading it, I was deeply touched. The book is truly a labor of love from my wife Marissa and our children. And for that love and care, I’m forever grateful.
This gesture from family and friends has encouraged me to reflect on my own life and all the blessings that I have received. I’m grateful to God that my father is still with us — happy and healthy — and turning 87 this Dec. 29.
I’m also thankful for the opportunity of being able to help others in MSME development, which I’ve embraced as my lifelong duty and cause. Not everyone is given such a proud responsibility and I pray that the good Lord bless me with more courage, patience and drive to help my fellow kababayans.
This year has been rewarding, to say the least. For our continuous efforts on MSME development in the Philippines and in the ASEAN region, I was recognized by the Republic of India with a Padma Shri Award, the fourth highest civilian award from their government. The award — the first for any Filipino — was conferred to me by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan, New Delhi, India.
In addition, I was honored with The Outstanding Filipino award for entrepreneurship and most recently the People of the Year award from PeopleAsia. These awards are not solely reflective of my efforts, but all the efforts and successes of my team, our mentors, and our partners, all of whom have supported me and Go Negosyo. None of this would have been possible without them; they deserve all the praise and applause, too.
This Christmas, I’ve realized that life without purpose is empty, and I’m thankful to have been given this role to not only help MSMEs, but inspire others to find their own passion and meaning outside of their businesses.
This holiday season, I encourage everyone to take a moment from our busy lives and reflect in gratitude. Of course, let us not forget to give thanks and rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ for he is the reason for all of this celebration. We shall thank Him for all the success and blessings we have enjoyed this 2018 and continue to pray for guidance for the upcoming year.
We at Go Negosyo look forward to helping more Filipinos by bringing more programs to our micro, small and medium entrepreneurs. It will be an exciting year ahead as we reach out to more audiences, including the youth, women, and digital and tourism sectors. I assure you there will be more conferences and summits that will inspire and empower more of our kababayans. Our greater vision and goal for Go Negosyo is to see our entrepreneurs thrive and their businesses become sustainable. This is my Christmas wish. And with the help from the private and public sectors, as well as the support of the government, I truly believe we can achieve an inclusive economy and prosperity for all!