I am enjoying a vacation with my family after celebrating my birthday last Sunday. Close to 50 members of the family, including my mom, my siblings, and their families, have joined us in this vacation. Unfortunately, my father can no longer join us as this trip will be physically challenging for him.
For my birthday, I would like to thank everyone who has been part of the Go Negosyo advocacy for the past 14 years. When we started, we only had a small number of entrepreneurs as of the mission of poverty alleviation through entrepreneurs. Today, we have more than 700 mentors and the number is still growing.
Our goal has always been about bringing greater prosperity to the Filipino people. The key to this endeavor is having a good mentor to guide aspiring entrepreneur on how to access money and market. It may sound simple, but teaching them the right mindset and diskarte (strategy) is the most important. So I thank our mentors for being part of Go Negosyo and more importantly, for being a blessing to others.
Because of my family obligations, I was not able to attend the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) meeting in Bangkok, Thailand led by our chairman Arin Jira. Aside from meetings with dialogue partners, ASEAN BAC also had a special interaction with the ASEAN leaders. LT Group Inc. president and COO and now ASEAN Business Advisory Council member Michael Tan also joined the interface as a representative of the Philippines.
During the interface, President Duterte mentioned the council’s legacy project, the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) which was launched in November 2017 during the Philippine chairmanship. “AMEN can build the capacities of MSMEs as (engines) of the growth of our economies. Sustained mentorship can help MSMEs transform into more globally competitive entities, generating more quality jobs for their communities,” said President Duterte.
He also called on the ASEAN BAC to help upgrade the skills of the workforce in ASEAN. During his speech, he said, “With the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we need your support in upskilling the ASEAN workforce.” With the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a disruption in the system through technology and digitalization which affects all industries, micro, small, and medium enterprises must be equipped with knowledge and skills in order to adapt to this rapid change.
President Duterte also commended the council “for ensuring the dynamic private sector participation in regional economic cooperation and development initiatives.”
Through mentorship, we aim to improve the business know-how and technical skill set of every ASEAN entrepreneur. That is why for the past 14 years, we have crafted a number of mentorship programs for entrepreneurs. Currently, through our government partners (Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Agriculture) and their attached agencies, we have rolled out successful programs such as Kapatid Mentor ME Program, Kapatid Agri Mentor ME Program, and the Mentor Me On Wheels — which have mentored thousands of aspiring and existing entrepreneurs nationwide.
We thank President Duterte for continuously supporting our program. AMEN, which was launched not just in the Philippines but also in other countries, has grown tremendously over the past two years. It was launched in Australia, South Korea, Thailand, and Singapore. Recently, we have been granted support from the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund which will be used for AMEN-related programs moving forward.
With the President’s support, we assure our micro, small and medium enterprises, and the members of the ASEAN Community that we will uphold our mission of bringing prosperity to all through mentorship.