Archive for March, 2007

The Go Negosyo Superstars

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Last Friday, March 16, Go Negosyo had the largest book signing ever at the National Bookstore in SM Megamall. Together with President GMA, twenty entrepreneurs featured in the Go Negosyo Book of 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurial stories graced the event. The place was plastered with a green backdrop saying “Kaya Mo, Go Negosyo” which was the theme of the media campaign that we also launched that afternoon. It was thru the efforts of MSME czar Cerge Remonde and of course the excellent track record that Go Negosyo has attained in just over a year that PGMA went out of her way despite security concerns. The President was greeted warmly by the people in the mall and of course by the National Bookstore employees of Nanay Coring who all loved her so much. Per SM management, National Bookstore has never had a major event like this that they gave this event their full support. In just one month, PGMA has visited two of the Sy’s malls because of Go Negosyo. But what made this event so great were the entrepreneurs like Nanay Coring, Julie Gandionco of Julie’s Bakeshop, Paolo Bediones and Ray Gapuz who came in as early as 4pm to start signing books, patiently talking to the people who took pictures and asked questions. It was truly a first time experience for many of the entreps and all were mutually inspired, those having the books signed and we entreps who signed the books. The people who attended the book signing got the chance to personally meet the brightest stars in the entrepreneurship community. They got the chance to have the autographs of the top guy of GMA7 Atty. Felipe Gozon, Nanay Coring of National of Bookstore, Julie Gandionco of Julie’s Bakeshop and celebrity entrep Paolo Bediones who is probably used to people asking for his autograph and photo ops. There was also Donnie Tantoco of Shopwise representing the Tantoco family, Santi Araneta of LBC who felt like he was an upcoming celebrity, maybe he could pass for a GMA 7 talent. There was also Doy Vea who is the founder of Smart Communications, Bill Torres of Mozcom, the first internet portal and the famous marketer/CEO Cecilio Pedro of Happee Toothpaste/Lamoiyan Corporation. Creative entrep Jay Aldeguer of Island Souvenirs just flew in for this event and flew back for his son’s birthday which only shows he is really passionate in helping negosyantes. Beauties and brains Myla Villanueva, Vivienne Tan, Gaita Fores were the muses of Go Negosyo and Gov. Lray Villafuerte, Illac Diaz, Les Reyes and Roland Pineda could definitely qualify as the male models. Charismatic Rey Gapuz was also there and whose review center despite all the accusations against him grew three-fold. Eight out of ten who topped the most recent nursing exam came from his review center.

Close to one thousand books were sold and signed that day and PCE’s Executive Director Mon Lopez was telling everyone that their autograph signing might remind them of their grade school days when they were asked to write the same thing over and over. It was quite a tiring experience but the fulfillment of doing this effort and inspiring people was unquantifiable. PGMA even signed twenty books and those who were fortunate to get her signature now own books that have probably tripled in value. Imagine if you can get all the 50 entreps to sign your P280 book, it can be a negosyo, people will buy them for more than 1,000 pesos and that’s tripling your money.

Aside from the book signing, we also presented to the President the Go Negosyo media campaign on “Teaching a nation how to fish, feeding the nation for many lifetimes” which is a series of TV commercials showing how microentrepreneurs were able to demystify the common misperceptions on starting and becoming successful in business. The commercials will be aired on TV and we will also be coming out with versions for radio and print in the coming weeks. We will also have a hotline for those who need help in setting a negosyo and there will be two hotlines to call, one is DTI’s hotline (751-3330) and one will be PCE’s (637-9229). This is the start of the integration of all government efforts in helping aspiring negosyantes. PGMA with Cerge Remonde as MSME czar is taking a hands-on approach in seeing through the seamless flow of tying up with all government agencies in helping negosyantes come under the banner of Go Negosyo. This in the end pushes for everyone, even those in government, to be entrepreneurial in attitude as well and act as mentors to the start up entrepreneurs. It is not an easy task but it can be done and it will be done with government and private sector partnership.

* * * * *

I was one of the judges in the recently held HSBC Young Entrepreneurs business plan competition. I have been a judge to so many competitions like this and learned that there is a need for organizers to make the objectives/rules clearer so that the schools will know the parameters on how they should participate. We recently had a consultative meeting with the organizations involved in business plan competitions. Attendees included HSBC Head Mark Watkinson, Cat Manese who is in charge of HSBC’s Public Affairs for business plans, Vivienne Tan and Joel Santos of Entrepreneurs School of Asia, PLDT’s Anthony Pangilinan, biotech expert Maoi Arroyo who is also the representative for the Philippine Emerging Start-up Open (PESO) business plan competition , Ateneo Management School Dean Rudy Ang, Onor Dimapilis of DLSU’s Business Management and Entrepreneurship Educators’ Association of the Philippines (ENEDA), Anton Diaz and Lex Adsa of JC International who also have their yearly Best Business Plan competition, PCE’s Imee Madarang, Mon Lopez and staff. During the meeting, we arrived at a consensus to enhance the consciousness of the organizers, participants and judges with respect to clarifying the primary objectives of each of the competition. It is not our intention to standardize nor regulate but just to clearly identify the basic intent of these competitions. Should it award the one with the most innovative/creative business idea or new business model (and therefore, the participant as originator is key)? Or should we give more weight to the writing and presentation of the business plan and consider the plan that will lead to a more sustainable and profitable operation? Or should we recognize plans anchored on new technologies, leading to a sustainable business model? In the end, setting clearer objectives will help specify better parameters/criteria; the weights and even how the competition should be called. Perhaps it would be even better if we categorize business plan competitions according to these objectives and find specific entries for each. Attendees should also acknowledge the importance of Intellectual Property Rights and participants should disclose if the idea originated from them or they started the concept and just commissioned a group for the technical study or if they bought/borrowed an idea for a fee. There must be greater consciousness on these arrangements as these are important considerations in the real world of entrepreneurship.

The Go Negosyo Book

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

Since the book was launched last February 5, the Go Negosyo Book of 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories has sold close to 15 thousand copies in just two months and is now a best seller in National Bookstore. This is why we’ve decided to have the largest book signing event ever in National Bookstore SM Megamall on March 16 at 5 pm where close to 25 out of the 50 entrepreneurs featured in the book will attend. The series of book signing sessions which is being organized all throughout the Philippines is part of our continuing effort to inspire our Filipino brothers not to lose hope and to instead take control their own destiny by having a positive attitude and getting into a negosyo. Aside from the book signing, we will also have a media launch of the “Kaya Mo, Go Negosyo” TV commercials featuring success stories of microentrepreneurs anchored by celebrity entrepreneur Paolo Bediones. I guess it is time that we create the new superstars of Philippines Inc and these are the entrepreneur idols or negosyantes.

Despite the complex world of politics, at the end of it all, we must see to it that the economy will be the focal concern of everyone because it is what will help people improve their lives. Electing the right leaders in May 14 is critical if we want to see this country to be an economic power to recon with in the future. We must look at their attributes and see who among those running is within the right character of the 50 successful entrepreneurs. Imagine if we can create enterprising people in government, this country will move much faster. We need to elect politicians who are enterprising (in the correct sense) meaning those who are able to create a number of negosyantes in their cities or provinces. How much lending is being done to help the micro entrepreneurs? How easy is it to start a business? What kinds of business opportunities are available for MSME’s? We should vote for candidates who ask and address these kinds of questions, those who encourage people that the Philippines has a bright future and those who help bring about greater optimism. Go Negosyo is all about bringing a culture change among us Filipinos, creating a spirit of enterprise not just for those who want to start a business but even those in government whose role is to foster the spirit of enterprise making it easy for people to start one.

While Go Negosyo book is an inspiring book, there are other books out there that deserve to be read like Francisco Colayco’s “Pera Mo Palaguin Mo”. He now has one for children called ““Money for Kids. Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo” and I gave my kids a copy of this book for them to read so they can start early and understand how to invest their money. These are books that the schools must start to promote among the youth. Butch Jimenez and Flor Gozon’s book “Blessings in Disguise” is a great inspirational book and “Think Rich Pinoy” by Larry Gamboa is worth reading as well. When you read some newspapers you get so depressed that you want to leave the country. It’s sad that a number of Filipinos actually create greater pessimism and fear and break the only thing left for the poor surviving Filipino entrepreneurs which is hope. May we see more books and newspaper broadsheets to come out with positive news. The Belmonte family, Miguel, Kevin and Isaac, believes in fostering greater optimism among Filipinos and I commend Philippine Star for bringing the good news to their readers.

* * * * *

Let me share with you some comments of those who read the Go Negosyo book:

Hi Sir Joey,

I just want to say that your book is so inspiring and it really teaches me a lot by getting ideas regarding business. Actually I’m in a stage of studying what kind of business I really want to put up. I have a lot of ideas on my mind, but I don’t want to rush things by just putting a business without any strong foundation or long term plans. I know my savings is not that so big that is why I’m so careful where to invest my money. Thanks a lot, keep on inspiring the youth to become a successful entrepreneur of our country.


* * * * *

Hi Joey,

My name is Gabby Dizon, an entrepreneur and co-founder of a game development company in the Philippines. I bought the Go Negosyo book that chronicles the profiles of our country’s greatest entrepreneurs and it was a great inspiration for me.

As a young entrepreneur, I find the message of GoNegosyo to be very important in our country’s development. I’d like to know how I can help with the programs and get to meet fellow entrepreneurs as well.

I hope to hear from you soon.


Gabby Dizon

* * * * *

Dear Sir Joey,

I’m Marc Vargas, a small businessman from Cavite and a strong believer of this “Go Negosyo” battlecry wherein the only way for this nation to move forward and eliminate poverty is to encourage our countrymen to try their luck in putting up their own businesses. You and your group in “Go Negosyo” have inspired and rallied millions of people in attaining this almost impossible job of creating a friendly and inviting atmosphere to would be investors and I congratulate each and everyone of you in “Go Negosyo” for a job very well done!!!!

Congratulations and more power!!!!

Marc Vargas

Hope and Go

Thursday, March 8th, 2007

As I read the headlines this week, the front page was all about GO. I thought for a while that it was about Go Negosyo, only to find out that it was actually about the political party “Genuine Opposition”. Then, as I read the entertainment section, another word was all over the pages: “HOPE”. The business of my good friend and very successful entrepreneur Vicky Belo, who is a strong advocate of Go Negosyo, has been implicated in this controversial issue and I guess when you are successful, a lot of people want to see you fail. This reminds me of how Ray Gapuz felt when some people were trying to make certain accusations against his review school, but the reputation was redeemed when the exams were retaken and most of those who topped the nursing exam came from his school. I am sure Vicky will come out a much more successful entrepreneur after this issue is over. I hope that this crab mentality goes away and people should instead be happy when others become successful. We should find inspiration and learning from their success so that we become successful ourselves. The words GO and HOPE are what Go Negosyo is pushing for as the Go Negosyo mentors pursue a mission to “teach a nation how to fish and we feed our nation for many lifetimes”. In our task of having our Go Negosyo mentors share their time to inspire, give business ideas and advise other aspiring entrepreneurs, we are giving our Filipino brothers HOPE and a better chance of succeeding in life. Hope is so powerful that it can really lead to a positive attitude and an optimistic mindset. This positive outlook usually leads to being productive and doing something instead of just complaining about everything or blaming everyone. This is the power of the word “GO” which is to act and take control of your destiny. In looking at the stories of our successful Go Negosyo entrepreneur/advocates, one can get inspired to act; we want to make them realize that if these successful entreps did it, they can also do it. This is basically what Go Negosyo aims to achieve, bring HOPE to the Filipinos and encourage them to GO into business.

* * * * *

A lot of people went to the SM Mall of Asia for the Tourism Negosyo expo last March 2­-4. The forums and expo showcased the different business models, which need not be capital-intensive, that one can get into in starting a Tourism Negosyo, such as a bed and breakfast facility, spa services, tourist transport rental services, specialty restaurant, adventure or aqua sports resort places, travel agency etc. The expo also featured exhibits of the various provinces like Aklan, Antique, Biliran, Bohol, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Catanduanes, Cebu, Negros Oriental, Palawan, Pampanga, Sarangani, Sorsogon, and Sulu, which showcased not only their wonderful places but more importantly the Negosyo opportunities in their areas. We also awarded the 11 Inspiring Tourism Entrepreneurs and a special award to Gov Lray of CamSur, again in our effort to recognize the modern day business heroes who can serve as inspiration as well as mentors for our youth and aspiring entreps. The awardees were all present to receive the award, which was handed out by President GMA. During the awarding, it was most touching to see Ambassador Del Rosario, a great entrepreneur himself, present in a wheelchair to witness his son Jose Mari del Rosario receive the award for Microtel which is the fastest growing hotel chain in the country today. Aside from awarding the inspiring tourism entrepreneurs, PGMA also awarded the Teenpreneur’s Most Improved GK Product to Tabernacle of Faith Christian Academy. The objective of the Teenpreneur Challenge was to provide exposure for the schools on how they can help improve the viability of existing products of Gawad Kalinga communities. The schools were also mentored by different entreps such as the service-oriented Association of Filipino Franchise Inc. headed by Richie Cuna, together with other unselfish entreps like Johnlu Koa of French Baker, Jay Aldeguer of Islands Souvenirs, Gov. Lray Villafuerte of Camarines Sur, Tessa Prieto Valdes, Paolo Bediones, Secretary Arthur Yap, Harley Sy and other mentors. As we left the Music Hall for lunch at Good Earth with PGMA and the awardees, it took the President 15 minutes to leave. So many people greeted the President and she enjoyed every minute of talking to the teenpreneurs, negosyantes and the governors who attended the expo such as Gov. Lray of Camsur, Gov. Gwen Garcia of Cebu, Gov. Sally Perez of Antique and Gov. Ben Loong of Sulu.

Last Saturday was certainly jam-packed with events with the Teenpreneur challenge running simultaneously with the book signing of the newest best selling book for National Bookstore, the Go Negosyo book of 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories. The 13 entreps who were present of this book signing were Nanay Coring (National Bookstore), Jay Aldeguer (Islands Souvenirs), Illac Diaz (My Shelter Foundation), Gaita Fores (CIBO), Ray Gapuz Jr. (R.A. Gapuz Review Center), Chit Juan (Figaro Coffee Company), Johnlu Koa (French Baker), Ronald Pineda (Folded & Hung), Les Reyes (Reyes Haircutters), Vivienne Tan (ESA), Gov. Lray Villafuerte, Myla Villanueva (MDI Group Holdings) and myself. Prof. Andy Ferreria whose business lessons were included in the book and editor Phillip Cu-Unjieng were also present in the book signing. It felt so good to see people buying the book and the entreps patiently signing, talking and inspiring them. It was certainly a sight to witness. I hope we will have more negosyantes out there to join the bandwagon of inspiring people. Again, thank you to our government partners, Sec. Cerge Remonde, Sec. Peter Favila, Sec. Ace Durano, Sec. Arthur Yap, Usec Carissa Cruz-Evangelista, Usec. Oscar Palabyab, PCCI President Samie Lim and co-chairs of Tourism Negosyo Gov. Lray Villafuerte and co-chair of Teenpreneur Ms. Vivienne Tan. The success of the Tourism Negosyo would not have been possible without their valuable support. Again, congratulations to the tourism entrepreneurs and the winners of the Teenpreneur Challenge. Thank you to those who are making the Go Negosyo book of 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurial stories a best seller now in National Bookstores. Special thanks to our co-presentor Hyundai, which also has an advocacy promoting entrepreneurship with their Pro Negosyo Starex van. Thanks also to the SM Mall of Asia for their superb venue, Islands Souvenirs and DTI-OTOP, and our major partners PAGCOR, PLDT, Smart and San Miguel Corporation.

We shall have the the Go Negosyo Probinsya this June, with Cebu as the start of the series of Go Negosyo forums and expos in the provinces. So we hope to see everyone there!

Tourism Gold Rush

Thursday, March 1st, 2007

For the past 20 years, the tourism sector has been pretty upbeat. Visitor arrivals have been making huge leaps, posting double digit growth rates of 20.14% in 2004 and 14.48% in 2005. With this kind of growth rate, which is expected to accelerate further, we have started to experience shortages in hotel rooms and lodging facilities in different destinations. The opportunities in the tourism industry are so huge, and it’s not just the balikbayans and their groups who are filling this market, but new generation of visitors. For 2006, the number has totaled to 2,843,345, with the bulk of tourists coming from Korea (20.12%) and US (19.95%).

From the Marcos era until now, these secretaries have all pushed for growing the tourism sector: From Jose Aspiras, Jose Gonzales, Peter Garrucho, Rafael Alunan III, Narzalina Lim, Vicente Carlos, Eduardo Pilapil, Evelyn Pantig, Mina Gabor, Gemma Cruz-Araneta, Richard Gordon, Robert Barbers to Roberto Pagdanganan. And now under the current DOT Secretary Ace Durano’s leadership, the tourism industry has been registering good performance and I believe many would agree to give credit to the aggressive and more relevant marketing efforts of the current Secretary.

Last year, we promoted different business models from franchising to business models in technology, which require more creativity and ingenuity. Technonegosyo presented very promising business models, especially in the services sector such as Internet centers and website design. The other bright spot of the Philippines is the tourism industry, and contrary to what people think, it does not require a lot of capital to start a business in tourism. This is why we decided to mount the Tourism Negosyo Expo starting tomorrow, March 2, 3 and 4 at the Music Hall SM Mall of Asia.

We are fortunate to have the principal movers behind this Tourism Negosyo Expo, Together with Tourism Secretary Durano, lead Go Negosyo advocates are actively involved in the preparation as they are also passionate in pushing for the growth of the tourism sector- credit to Governor Lray Villafuerte of Camarines Sur (who has put his province in the world map of wake boarding and other adventure sports), Vivienne Tan of the Entrepreneurship School of Asia, and the dynamic DTI Undersecretary Carissa Cruz-Evangelista, who is the key proponent of One-Town-One-Product program which includes tourism-oriented products and services.

We believe that money can be made in this area as we see more tourists coming from Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan and other neighboring countries. We don’t even need to focus on the European and USA markets, they will eventually come as they hear about and see the wonderful beaches we have here. The Airline Employees Cooperative, who are the founders of Asian Spirit, have started to focus on areas like Boracay, Palawan and have brought tourists there, and it has been the most profitable route ever since. All of us have ancestral homes that we can convert to bed and breakfast quarters. My parents have a place in Balai Taal, Tagaytay, which was initially intended for family use but now is being rented out to a lot of families who seek tranquility. They just have to be in a good location that tourists would love. My wife also got into the tourism business with a dive shop called Pacifica and they create unique dive packages for the foreign market. Maybe one day my dream of setting up an expedition yacht chartering business to cater to the foreign market and see the beautiful islands of the Philippines will come true. One can also set up unique souvenir shops or a spa or special food products that the tourists would enjoy.

We plan to bring the entire tourism ecosystem in Tourism Negosyo, and here you will be able to see where to hire trained spa professionals, restaurant chefs, where to find recreational sports such as dive shops and even find the wild life animal kingdom of Robert Yupangco, who is an entrepreneur who provides a different type of tourist attraction. The schools that focus on hotel and restaurant management will also be there, and this is a good source of talent for either your ancestral home or the hotel that you plan to put up. If you just have 10 thousand pesos in your pocket as capital, you can start a T-shirt and souvenir-making business just like Island Souvenirs owner Jay Aldeguer. Just keep in mind that you have to be different and creative in this field. While I was in the US last week, I was amazed to see the new T-shirts being made today. The level of creativity in designing T-shirts and the quality of material there has never stopped to improve.

If you want to focus on transportation services, you can look at what Hyundai Pro Negosyo Starex van has to offer. Hyundai will showcase in the Expo some Negosyo ideas for their Starex vans. But you should make your transport van service different. Do it the way Cebu Air started. For them the drivers are the key. They served as the tour guides, properly trained with costumes and excellent service. Just don’t copy what is being done and be different.

One of the highlights of the event will be the awarding of the most inspiring tourism entrepreneurs who were selected (from a list of submitted nominees) by the Tourism Negosyo convenors Undersecretary Evangelista, Governor Villafuerte, Vivienne, Secretary Durano and myself. The awardees are: Jay Aldeguer (Island Souvenirs), Anton Carag (AEPI Inc.- white water rafting lead proponent), Conrado Escudero (Villa Escudero), Ralph Espino (Aquamundo Sports- specializes in diving and equipment), Jomar Fleres (offers “hilot” in Sanctuario Spa), Evangeline Garcia (Callos Spa Farm and Resort), Ariel Jersey (EZ Maps), Joaquin Po (Airline Employees Cooperative/Asian Spirit), Jose Mari del Rosario (Microtel Inns and Suites), Vicky Wallace (Bohol Bee Farm) and Robert Yupangco (Zoobic Safari Adventures). Their success stories are a testament to the Filipino entrepreneurial spirit and the vast business opportunities in the tourism industry. Their stories serve as proof that yes, there is money in tourism and you don’t need to start a business that requires a huge capital. As the country continues to create good publicity on top of business people coming in, they will surely bring in their families to visit. So make your bet now and invest in the Philippines’ Tourism Negosyo. Go Negosyo!