Archive for October, 2008

The Great Equalizer

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

The nightmare seems to be never ending. What started in the USA has now reached Europe and recently emerging markets that include China, Southeast Asia, Latin America, Argentina, Brazil, Russia and the Republics of Kazakhstan and Ukraine, among others.

The forbidden fruit that developed in America, containing multi leverage sub prime, was bitten by the rest of the world. From this, you have an erosion of confidence and a surmounting fear that is grappling every investor out there, exiting over 5t hedge funds. All asset classes have been hit, from stock markets to commodities. Name it.

Greed has pushed property prices and stock prices to levels that have caused the bubble to burst. The excessive greed has now turned into excessive fear. People just want to get out of stocks and bonds as if the world will end tomorrow.

I call this the great equalizer. The problem today affected mostly the wealthy people. Who is to say that the rest will not be affected? But definitely, the rich, who have assets in the forms of stocks, bonds and other affected investment instruments, have become poorer. Close to 12 trillion dollars have already been wiped out. In the Philippines alone, the stocks had the biggest drop in 4 years, down by 12 percent or 239 points, to 1,750 levels. Several billions of pesos lost in one day.

In times like these, you realize that material wealth can be wiped out within seconds. This is what happened. The drop was so sudden and big.

But, life has to go on. I still believe that emerging Asia will be able to weather this than the rest. We have the experience from the Asian financial crisis, which will make us first realize that we have a problem. Denial will only cause more problems.

The government must reduce interest rates. If our currency depreciates, it will be good for exports and even for local manufacturers as imports will be more expensive. What are important in the end are the fundamentals. If the Philippines’ real economy (non-financial sectors such as manufacturing, industry, agriculture, telecoms, business process outsourcing) can continue to find niches of opportunities for growth; if they continue to provide employment and income to Filipinos or create negosyo opportunities; and if the country shows growth, manage its budget deficit, export more, and attract more call centers and BPOs to the Philippines; all these will create a multiplier effect. In a crisis, there are always opportunities.

PGMA, despite her poor ratings, has done a great job in preparing the Philippines for this crisis. When the peso appreciated a lot, the central bank supported by buying dollars to avoid peso appreciating. Now, they are selling at a huge spread. This will help the peso from moving down too fast. Commodity prices like oil and others have come down. We should feel the effect sometime on the second quarter of next year, as most companies have hedged out.

There will be no letting up. American companies will have to continue to relocate their accounting and call centers in our country. I have been talking to a number of real estate brokers who specialize in relocating BPO expats. They say that the number of companies relocating in the Philippines is growing. They find the Filipinos talented and hard working.

Our greatest assets as Filipinos are our service and work attitude. In our country, you can see a carpenter offering you to eat his lunch, inviting using our common line “kain tayo”. This is why we will continue to dominate the OFW market, and eventually the call center and BPO markets as well. You will always get a comment from foreign friends that Filipina nurses are the best, or that a yaya working in Hong Kong or Singapore gives more care, as she sacrifices to take care of other children just to give her own kids back home a better future. Our respect for elders is very strong in the Filipino system. All these values that have been handed from generation to generation give us the competitive edge versus other countries.

At this point the financial crisis affects mostly the rich who have assets. The challenge in the coming year is how we bring down the level of poverty, even with the financial crisis. The challenge now is how do make the poor rich.

The next column will discuss how the new Magna Carta on MSMEs will help, together with stories of the Citi Micro Entrepreneur of the Year nominees.

* * * * *

I want to greet Patrick Go a happy 50th birthday. Patrick, who is an entrepreneur by heart, is the CEO of Paramount Insurance. Together with his sister Rosanne, they have steered their insurance company as a regional player at a young age. His wife, Winnie Go, who has a great talent in pottery surprised Patrick with close friends. My advice to Patrick was to keep treasuring his family, which he has always done.

Recession or Depression in America

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

This column has been projecting optimism and inspiration for the past year now.

In the past columns, I have mentioned that the financial crisis is still far from over. I even pointed out when the Dow was trading at the 12,000 levels that this would go down to 9,000. Well, it did. It even overshot to a low of 7,800.

Quite a number of entrepreneurs follow this column, as I continue to be optimistic for the Philippines and for Asia. But we also need to point out the risks clouding the whole world, which could affect us.

Vincy Zaragosa, a trustee of Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship – Go Negosyo, has been a regular adviser on this current situation. He runs a fund called Pentium Fund, based in France and he has done quite well. As early as last year, he has bought oil at the levels of 50 dollars and sold it at its peak. In a conversation I had with him a couple of weeks back, he said that the world could face a one year depression. When one hears the word ‘depression’, it sounds threatening. But Vincy says that there is a difference between the past depression and the situation we have today. Countries and central banks are taking a very proactive role in preventing a depression. They continuously think of ideas to bring back confidence in the financial market. I agree with his views.

I feel that the first part of 2009 will be very critical for America and the rest of the world. We have to admit that whatever happens to America, being a very large economy of consumers, we will get affected. As the saying goes, when the US sneezes, we catch the cold, but hopefully not the fever. When America starts to save more because of fear, this can actually make the situation worse. The savings rate of Americans is around four percent of their disposable income compared to the Germans with 10 percent and even higher for some of our Asian neighbors. Thus, a sudden reversal in demand can cause a bad recession, which can lead into a depression.

But hopefully, the increasing moves to help their financial system get back on its feet, establish confidence and resume credit flows would resuscitate what could have been a hard fall, or a depression.

What should we do in the Philippines?

I have always called for the government to cut interest rates. It is more important to continue helping the negosyantes to grow and expand even in times like this. Give more Filipinos a chance to own their own homes. For many years, due to a number of crises, Filipinos have held back. A low interest rate will allow them to afford the amortizations. Commodities have dropped. We will feel the effect of lower prices by next year as most manufacturers hedge out the buying till the end of this year and some first quarter of next year. But, inflation will definitely go down by mid next year or earlier. Oil has the biggest plunge and it will head towards the 60 to 70 dollar range for whole of next year. This is the good news for the consumers. This is why I believe we should bring down rates. America will see low interest rates for next year, maybe at one percent or even below. With the temporary strength of the dollar, this could happen.

The passing of the new magna carta, which now includes micro entreps on top of small and medium, mandates a bigger allocation of resources. The percentage mandated to the banks to lend to micro and small entrepreneurs has been increased by two percent, from six to eight percent. This will definitely help build a stronger base of micro and small entreps.

Just recently I attended the annual search of the Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year Award. I was part of the National Selection Committee, along with Atty. Felipe Gozon, Fernando Zobel, Marixi Prieto, Antonino Alindogan Jr., Sanjiv Vohra, Hon. Amando Tetangco, Dr. Darwin Yu, and Tessy Sy-Coson. All of those nominated had very inspiring stories. They are the people who we need to help. Many of them were forced into business because they can’t get a job and because they want to improve their lives. Big banks do not lend to them as they borrow amounts between five to 50 thousand pesos and require a lot of mentoring.

The MFIs, rural banks, and credit cooperatives are the ones that lend to them. Even pawnshops and the system of 5/6 still play a role here. These are their source of funding for a working capital. Over time, we need to see them move from micro to small and, eventually, to medium.

Based on the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Philippine Report by PCE, there is a wide network of financial institutions in the country, with 7,000 banks and 13,000 non-banks that includes pawnshops and financial companies. But, access to finance seems to be a major challenge. Three out of 10 Filipinos do not even avail of banking services. Thirty-six percent of municipalities have no banking offices. Loans from close relatives and friends are primary sources of additional funds for micro and small businesses.

This is the challenge for many entrepreneurs who joined Go Negosyo – the challenge to help these people. Similar to Gawad Kalinga, as they help build homes, Go Negosyo wants to help build a negosyos for those who aspire, but there are just so many of them out there. With the help of our entrepreneurs, sponsors, and media partners, one day we shall see a brighter entrepreneurial environment.

Yes the Filipino Can

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Last Monday, after a rollercoaster ride in the financial markets during the weekend, RFM Corporation celebrated its 50th anniversary.

In 1958, my grandfather Dr. Salvador Araneta founded RFM Corporation, together with my other grandfather Jose Concepcion, Sr., and other close friends BJ Server, Pete Grimm, Albino Sycip, Zoilo Alberto, Leonardo Eugenio, Francisco Gamboa, Sr. as well as his wife, Victoria. It was also the same year when I was born. My baby picture, wearing a baker’s uniform, was placed at the entrance of RFM’s first office. RFM was the very first flour mill in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia. At that time, flour was imported.

We have seen two crises in the past 50 years. At one point during the dictatorship, we thought we would lose our business, especially during the Martial law when my father was going against the dictator. Then, in the recent years during the Asian financial crisis in the late 90’s when RFM had a maturing dollar bond, we saw the peso collapsed from 25 to 50 pesos to a dollar. We survived both challenges. RFM paid its bond obligation, even if it meant selling a jewel, like Cosmos, just to maintain our reputation. It was good that Cosmos was sold at a very attractive price.

As part of our golden anniversary last Monday, we had President Arroyo as our special guest during the morning celebration, when we had a symbolic re-dedication of our flour mills, which still stand after 50 years. This was followed by the inauguration of the RFM’s Fiesta pasta plant, which is now the most modern and largest pasta plant in Asia. We had this investment in response to the upswing in demand for our Fiesta pasta, which is now the fastest growing and a close number 2 brand in the market.

During the commemoration of founding day, my message to our employees was simple: God has given us our purpose in life as a company, which is to produce quality food, always at the most reasonable prices. We have survived for 50 years because we have fulfilled this mission, and we will continue to survive another 50 years if we continue to fulfill it.

As we have gone through the years in RFM, I have seen my father work not only for the company but for the betterment of this country, especially at its darkest point. Launching Namfrel became the catalyst for the People Power movement, giving hope and courage for Filipinos to stand for what they believe in. Namfrel has served its purpose during those dark times, together with the countless number of Filipinos who joined the group to protect the ballots.

Today, the time for solving poverty level has come. Through Go Negosyo, an advocacy that inspires people to think that all things are possible, and with the right attitude in life, we can attain our dreams. It is through the creation of more negosyos that we can hire more people and one day improve the condition of poverty in this country.

This is what we also celebrated during the evening of the RFM anniversary at the NBC tent. Close to three thousand people also witnessed the launching of the first Yes The Filipino Can! Awards. In a way, Namfrel, Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) and Go Negosyo are all products of the Yes The Filipino Can!

The Yes the Filipino Can! attitude and passion can be seen in many Filipinos and we recognized a select group of Filipinos and organizations that have continued to inspire millions of Filipinos with their unselfish dedication and advocacies.

We had awardees like Rico Hizon, whose Good News Pilipinas web portal only talks about the good news about the Philippines and inspiring Filipinos, and no bad news. The Philippine Star’s Belmonte family always felt that a newspaper should not only inform but inspire people and give them hope today. Because of this mindset, Star is the most widely read paper. Another awardee, Dylan Wilk of Gawad Kalinga is a British citizen who is more Filipino than many of us, building homes for the poor. Elena Lim also has an entrepreneurial spirit that is so infectious, with a heart for the Filipinos. In spite of challenges, she inspires people to never give up.

Despite being blind, Tony Llanes has set up ATRIEV, a school to teach other blind people, and has produced a number of successful entrepreneurs who are blind, like Marx Melencio who is in the IT software outsourcing business. Of course, who would forget Former Senator Juan Flavier’s contributions for a healthy nation. He brought healthcare to the barrios as he also made a choice to continuously serve the poor. Francisco Colayco also believes in building the Filipino’s future by spreading financial literacy to many Filipinos.

Onofre Pagsanghan applies his own advocacy by being an educator for more than 50 years. Through his teaching profession, he is also able to share his love for his country. Former Senator Santanina Rasul is dedicated to improving Mindanao and its people through her foundation’s Magbassa Kita literacy programs. Two of the awardees are foundations that believe in nation building. Unlad Kabayan focuses on helping develop micro-enterprises, and the re-integration of OFW thru entrepreneurship. Another awardee is Tulkas Katutubo which works on empowering indigenous communities through education and preservation of culture.

All of these advocacies say one thing – YES THE FILIPINO CAN! I dedicate this to my father, Jose Concepcion Jr., who has brought me to another point in my life that it is not all about making money but serving the Filipinos. To my father who has been my mentor and inspiration, this annual Yes The Filipino Can! Awards will be here to inspire others to dream the impossible.

Health and Wealth Summit 2008

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008


October 21, 2008
1:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Philam LIfe Auditorium

Health and Wealth Summit invites all businessmen, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, managers, supervisors, community and church leaders, and students to attend this FREE four-hour seminar to be conducted by wellness experts Dr. and Mrs. Cris Enriquez.

To find out how you can join, click here .


Go Negosyo sa Iloilo

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008


Iloilo City, ILOILO – Thousands of Ilonggos crowded the Rose Memorial Auditorium at the Central Philippine University and took part in the Go Negosyo sa Iloilo Caravan on September 12, 2008. 

Go Negosyo sa Iloilo Caravan was organized by the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship – Go Negosyo and the Iloilo Business Club.

One of the highlights of the caravan was the recognition and awarding of the Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs and Micro-entrepreneurs who proved successful in their respective business while armed with determination and the willingness to succeed in life.

Citing their positive and inspiring contributions to their respective communities and their negosyo stories of rising from the challenges of life, Go Negosyo Founding Trustee Joey Concepcion, with Iloilo Business Club Chairman Antony Jon, lead the awarding of trophies to the following Most Inspiring Ilonggo Entrepreneurs – Antonio Steven Chan of Central Azucarera de San Antonio, Inc., Joseph Vincent Go of Light of Glory Taxi Services, Jose Gerardo Guadarrama of Original Biscocho Haus, Tomas Hautea, Sr. of Retcem Bangus Hatchery and Fish Farm, Johnny Que of Waffle Time, Arsenio Rafael of A.M. Builder’s Depot, Edgar “Injap” Sia II of Mang Inasal, Alfonso Uy of La Filipina Uy Gongco Corporation, and Salvador Sarabia of Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center.

A special award was also given to Angel De Leon, Jr., a social entrepreneur, who laid the foundations for Taytay Sa Kauswagan, Inc. which has played a crucial role in entrepreneurship development. Through the institution’s wholistic approach, it provides a wide array of services which encompass marketing, production, finance, organization and management, product development and technology assistance.

"This is what Go Negosyo is all about – telling everyone the good news, of finding redemption from poverty through entrepreneurship. In doing so, we hope to have an impact on the mindset of people and encourage them to be successful entrepreneurs. I believe that only after we inspire this nation and move the people to becoming entrepreneurs, armed with the proper values and motivation, can we truly make our way out of poverty," said Joey Concepcion who is the driving force behind the Go Negosyo Team.

"Entrepreneurship is not a stop-gap solution to poverty. It could be a long haul but it is our best shot," Concepcion added.

The event was packed with participants and supporters from various government and private sector partners with booths showcasing livelihood assistance, business solutions, product innovations, micro-finance credit, trades and services, among others lined up at the plenary hall. The whole program proved interesting and engaging for everyone eager to get a head-start in business and to learn a thing or two about entrepreneurship while also taking stock of the inspirations from the micro-entrepreneur awardees.

Other entrepreneurs who participated in the seminars and forums include Cong. Cynthia Villar, Jay Aldeguer of Island Souvenirs, Gaita Fores of Cibo, Celebrity Entrepreneur Illac Diaz, Dean Francisco Lapid of the Entrepreneurs School of Asia, Efren Sotto of the Human Resources Consultant of Shell Group of Companies, Jorge Wieneke III of Ateneo Center for Continuing Education, trial Technology Development Institute, Reynaldo Ambao of Taytay sa Kauswayan, Inc., Aries Vasquez of Globe Corporate and SME Segments, Gabby Cul of PLDT SME Nation, Naomi Luis of DOST-Region VI, Rosalinda Lacsamana of DOST-TRC, Lorena Yungque of TESDA Region VI, Glen Aguilar of WESVARRDEC, and Eric Pama of Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines and Karen Davila.

Go Negosyo sa Iloilo is also made possible with major partners Iloilo Business Club, PLDT SME Nation, Smart Communications, Globe Business, Condura, RFM Corporation, Ariel, Entrepreneurs School of Asia, and San Miguel Corporation.

Go Negosyo also thanks corporate partners: Splash Corporation, V-cargo, Kettle Korn, and Iloilo Supermart; media partners: The Philippine Star, GMA 7, QTV 11, Philippine Daily Inquirer, ASPAC-LAW, Full Circle Communications, Select Media, Creativevoices, Idealminds, ABS-CBN Iloilo, MOR For Life! Iloilo, GMA Iloilo, Super Radyo Iloilo, and Campus Radio Iloilo, Aksyon Radyo; venue partners: Central Philippine University and Amigo Terrace Hotel; government partners: The President’s Social Fund, Inter-Agency Coordinating Committee – Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Department of Trade and Industry, Iloilo Provincial Government, and Iloilo City Government; other partners: Ateneo de Manila University Graduate School of Business – Center for Continuing Education, Bennch Transport Services and Rent A Car and F & E Enterprises.

For more pictures, view our Go Negosyo Caravan Gallery
or visit our Multiply site .


Go Negosyo sa Bulacan

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Boosting Bulakeño Entrepreneurship

The Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE), with its GO NEGOSYO advocacy campaign, recently held its ‘Go Negosyo sa Bulacan’ event at the Centro Escolar University Centrodome in Malolos city. This was done as part of its focus on strengthening the entrepreneurial spirit of Filipinos in the different regions outside of Manila.

Premier highlight of the event was the awarding ceremony of Bulacan’s most inspiring entrepreneurs and micro-entrepreneurs that have moved and shaken the business core of one of the most competitive provinces in the country.

The one-day affair was also touted to be the best place for starting Bulakeño entrepreneurs to learn about the effective ways to start up their own business, as well as to learn the methods of sustaining growth. The event gathered a noteworthy pool of mentors – comprised of successful Bulakeño businessmen and personalities from the growing number of Go Negosyo entrepreneurs— who offered insights which concern aspiring entrepreneurs.

Among the topics discussed during the forum were Go Negosyo, Sagot Sa Kahirapan: Ang Panibagong Pananaw moderated by renowned TV newscaster Karen Davila; Bridging Self with Concept of Entrepreneurship which delved on entrepreneurial principles, practices and philosophies; Basics on Entrepreneurship Talk which addressed issues on starting and sustaining business growth; Marketing for Micro and Small Enterprises that talked about Marketing para sa Maliit na Negosyo; Bulacan’s Efforts on Product Development which highlighted the best of Bulacan’s products; Financial Literacy for Entrepreneurs which underscored monetary readiness and stability; and Technology for Entrepreneurs which offered tips on how to take advantage of modern advancements and use them in the favor of your business.

A book-signing session also ensued, spearheaded by the Training and Livelihood Program of Senator Manny Villar.

Masters of the ceremony were Anthony Pangilinan, Cheryl Cosim, Connie Sison, and Eco dela Sala.  Moreover, distinguished mentors were Joey Concepcion, Antonio Tengco, Dr. Roland Hortaleza, Cong. Cynthia Villar, Gaita Fores, Tony Llanes, Joyce Jimenez, and many others.

Go Negosyo sa Bulacan is part of PCE’s longest-running campaign, the Go Negosyo Caravan, which aims to bring Go Negosyo forums and expositions in key cities in the country. The Caravan has already visited Cebu, Bacolod, Baguio, Pampanga, and Manila.

For more pictures, view our Go Negosyo Caravan Gallery or visit our Multiply site .


Fear and greed

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

The biggest world financial crisis in our lifetime is happening right before our eyes. For our grandparents, maybe the depression in 1936 is what they experienced. Are we headed for the same? How do entrepreneurs prepare? How should the Philippines prepare?

For the past months, this column has stated that we will see the worst situation happening in America. Basically, this arises from greed. Even when things are going well, human nature leads people to want more.

All these cause asset values to increase. Bankers, over the past many years, have created financial structures to push up their earnings, using derivative structures and complicated notes. This brought them huge earnings, which was sold all over the world to other banks, countries and investors. This is not just driven by the sub prime. Even CDOs and CMOs are part of it.

It is complicated for many of us to understand, but for so many years, the greed in the financial community did exist. This greed actually brought the value of bank and investment company shares at record levels. Now we see the reverse as the financial markets unfold. The exact opposite of greed is fear. The financial community is in so much fear that it has stopped lending to other banks. This is now causing a credit crisis on a world level. Banks do not trust other banks. Many of them are stuck with a lot of paper and instruments that they created during the time of greed, which are now difficult to value.

Fortunately, America has Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. They are the right people to have during a crisis situation like this. If both will fail, then may God help us all. The Paulson rescue package will hopefully help the financial institutions, but more is to come as this is not enough to unfreeze the credit market.

America is composed of small and medium sized entrepreneurs. They are the people who make America what it is today. They will definitely be affected if the credit situation gets even worse. Many may close shops and stores, which will worsen the situation. This is a double whammy since consumers may now reverse their spending habits and trim down expenses.

The extreme fear of the banks is spreading all over. Many depositors and investors are selling to preserve whatever is left. Depositors are concerned if they will see their money disappear, with banks going down. Fortunately, after the Lehman Brothers incident – which I think they should have also prevented or remedied at the least, governments of countries are saving the banks and doing everything they can to prevent any collapse. This also happened during the Asian crisis, where many Philippine banks disappeared or merged.

The situation will only improve when fear gradually disappears. For those who have negosyos in the Philippines, we have less to worry about. Maybe more worries and challenges are for the larger businesses in the Philippines, which are highly leveraged and which borrow overseas to fund their bonds that may expire soon. It is not that their businesses are not doing well, but the credit market and the risk appetite for investors in emerging market bonds are not there for now, until such a time that this fear disappears.

As many of the hedge funds that lost so much money in commodities including oil have dropped, this will eventually benefit consumers in time. As I have also said time and time again, the Philippines should lower interest rates. We see this happening in other countries, and we shall soon see a coordinated action in lowering rates. This is good for business. We may see the peso weaken a bit more. This may be good for the OFW who would get more pesos for the dollars they remit. This is also good for the country. To those who can afford much more during these times of great fear, it will be good to invest. But, it is human nature that always prevents people from doing the opposite. One can be a great investor or negosyante if he is able to do the opposite.

Negosyantes are used to the ups and downs of business. This is part of life and they should always be prepared for the worst. It is their resilience, the determination to always search for new ways to do things better, faster, at lower cost that will keep them afloat and even grow. In these times, negosyantes are advised to focus on a core business or where they are good at or what they are known for, so they consolidate their resources and constantly review their cost structures. In maintaining a long-term view, one can defy conventional wisdom by even making investments in modern and more efficient plants that will deliver advantage in product quality and costs.

* * * * *

On Monday, RFM Corporation will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

My grandfather, Salvador Araneta, founded the first flour mill in the Philippines in 1958 – the year I was born. My lolo was a visionary and a philanthropist. He joined the government of Former President Quirino as the Secretary of Economic Coordination and the government of Former President Magsaysay as the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He was one of the first who pushed for Federalism in the Philippines. He also wrote books about Philippine democracy – The Effective Democracy for All; and America’s Double-Cross of the Philippines.

He was a great man. Before he died, we shared the same room, as he lived with us coming from exile in Canada. This was when I got to know him more. But, it was his wife, my lola Victoria Araneta who was the entrepreneur. She was the founder of FEATI, which was the first airline that became a school, and the Araneta University that is now called De La Salle Araneta University. She started also the FEATI bank that became Citytrust and eventually was bought by BPI. Aside from these, some of her pioneering business ventures are the Feati Industries (Republic Dynamics) and the Admiral Apartments (Admiral Hotel). In a way, my father JoeCon and I inherited that entrepreneurial attitude, which became my father’s and my battlecry – YES! THE FILIPINO CAN.

On Monday’s RFM anniversary celebration, the first YES! THE FILIPINO CAN Awards will be launched. Eleven men and women will be awarded. They are the Filipinos who embody the right attitude, a heart for the Filipinos and fighting spirit despite the adversities they face in life and they continue to inspire many more people and help the communities around them. It is this same attitude that has brought about Namfrel and the Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) and Go Negosyo. The names will be announced over the weekend. I give my congratulations to all of them who embody the right character and positive attitude that YES! THE FILIPINO CAN.


Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

October 14-19, 2008
Megatrade Halls 2 & 3
5/L SM Megamall

Find business ideas and suppliers for your negosyo! Visit our booth to get more information about the advocacy! Consult our government partners who will gladly accommodate your inquiries on financing, training and product development.

Attend our Usapang GoNegosyo forum which will tackle topics such as the entrepreneurial mindset, seeking business opportunities, marketing, and so much more!
October 18, 2008 (Saturday)
starting 2:30pm
Megatrade Hall stage area

Make sure to come early so you can win a copy of our GoNegosyo green book and Celebrity book, as well as other exciting prizes!


Grab the chance to start your own negosyo!

For inquiries, please contact EX-LINK MANAGEMENT
( (02) 643-3887 / 643-7760 / 640-7439 fax: 640-1280 )


Father and son

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

Last Thursday, I was able to watch the Ateneo vs. La Salle basketball championship game. I sat behind the Ateneo bench with some die hard La Sallites.

The coliseum was crowded with more Ateneans than La Sallites. Ateneo won the championship, which I predicted to many of my La Sallite friends. I told them that team of Ateneo is so strong that it can even beat the PBA teams of today. Despite the controversy on Maierhoffer committing a technical foul in the third quarter, Ateneo deserved to win the championship.

It was also the last game of Chris Tiu, who approached and hugged his father when they won. Jerry Tiu, the proud father, is an entrepreneur who owns Mega Publishing Group and part of The Discovery chain hotels. Both were teary eyed as they enjoyed Ateneo’s victory. I also went to Jerry and congratulated him. What was most touching is having a son realize that if not for his father’s guidance, he would have not reached his level of success in life. Chris is a bright young man who plays basketball very well with the right attitude. Now, he comes out in different TV shows.

This is every parent’s dream – to see their children reach their own level of success. The best award for a parent is their child’s recognition of their mentorship.

As we look at America’s problems today, we can still see a father and son relationship. Uncle Sam has basically taught the Americans to spend beyond their means. The proliferation of credit cards and a credit system made it very easy and tempting to borrow. In fact, Uncle Sam today has borrowed from the world close to 12trillion dollars. In my column last week entitled ‘Learn to Save’, I mentioned that the credit system is one of the basic reasons why America is facing one of the biggest challenges. This has been an intergenerational problem, from Uncle Sam down to every generation. People were taught not to save.

Last week, I also stated that Asians have higher savings rates. I have enumerated these stats: People’s Republic of China’s gross domestic saving is 48.6% of Gross Domestic Product. Hong Kong has 32%, Korea has 30%, Malaysia has 42%, Singapore has 51%, and Thailand has 34%.

Here in Asia, our parents also tell us to spend within our means. Credit cards are not given to children. Still, a number of my friends don’t even use a credit card so they are not tempted to spend. Most of the homes are bought not with credit. If it is bought through credit, it is with a very high down payment. You see people paying cash in 7/11 or Ministop, while people in America use a credit card for even a dollar-worth of purchase.

The congress’ rejection of the financial bill last Monday sent shock waves across the financial markets. However, I still think that the congress will eventually pass this bill, as America will indeed go bust without it. America has a very strong entrepreneurial climate. Its economy hinges from the small and medium entrepreneurs all over. These people will suffer the most in a credit crunch, having the credit lines cut. In fact, America is a great model on how they developed small and medium entrepreneurs. Franchising was also invented in America.

The problems in America are not yet over. Even with the bailout package being approved, the consequences of wrong decisions in the past will take its course. We will feel the effects, no doubt. But, there are opportunities since outsourcing will definitely continue in call centers and BPOs, among others.

* * * * *

In our desire to further spread the good news of finding solutions to poverty through Negosyo, we are now heading for Bulacan for our Go Negosyo Caravan.

Together with the Bulacan Chamber of Commerce, we will also be awarding Bulacan Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs and Micro Entrepreneurs. They are the entrepreneurs and micro entrepreneurs who rose from the challenges of life, serving as role models in their own businesses. Their successes have proven the Bulakeño’s ability to utilize their innate sense of resourcefulness, determination and enthusiasm in developing profitable entrepreneurial ventures.

We will be giving the Most Inspiring Bulakeño Entrepreneur Award to the following:

Coun. Gemma Sevilla Alcantara of Sevilla Sweets for constantly improving products through research and development while preserving a three generation-old family recipe;

Dr. Alicia Bustos of Baliuag University that has been granted a high accreditation status and fostered innovation and academic excellence;

Dr. Isabel Lopez-Nazal of Clinica Dermatologica and YSA Skin Care Center for displaying total commitment towards brand innovation and product excellence;

Engr. Donald Esterban Jr. of Proest Phils. Inc. for being one of the leading safety gear manufacturers in Bulacan;

Dr. Antonio Fortuna of St. Martin of Tours Credit and Development Cooperative as the first and only cooperative in the country that utilizes ATM/VISA systems for their borrowers, serving entrepreneurs for 20 years;

Jose Hernandez Jr. of Milko Ice Cream for constantly creating innovative and globally-competitive products;

Joven Ong of Dragon Fireworks for leading in the Philippine fireworks industry and staying true to the company’s commitment towards manufacturing safe and high-quality fireworks;

Dr. Abraham Pascual or Pascual Laboratories Inc. for his aggressive leadership in improving the quality of his product to engage in the Generics and Herbal Medicine Market;

Enrico Roque of Bodega ng Bayan for making the strong brand name synonymous with affordability and good quality service, and taking risks despite limitations in the initial stages of the business; and

Nestor Santiago of Bulacan Garden Corporation for leading for thirty-five years in the horticultural and landscaping industry, and strengthening competence in business management while retaining Filipino values of humility, hard work and social commitment.

Most Inspiring Bulakeño Entrepreneur Special Awards will also be given to Dr. Ma. Cristina Padolina of Centro Escolar University, which has garnered the distinction of having the highest number of accredited courses among private higher education institutions in the Philippines; and Amb. Jesus Tambunting of Planters Development Corporation, which continues to cater to the marginalized sector and underserved borrowers, and has displayed remarkable commitment towards assisting small and medium enterprises.

Likewise, micro-entrepreneurs will be recognized as the Most Inspiring Bulakeño Micro Entrepreneurs. This award will be given to Teresita Castro-Boado of Barasoain Bakeshop, Corazon Dela Cruz of LCJ Garments, Desiree Duran of D. Duran Farms, Teddy Bequizo of Buntal Ethnic Enterprises, Arnel Papa of ER Shellcraft, Carlito Del Rosario of Sta. Ma. Dairy Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and Eng. Ramon Santos of Disenyo Pandi – Bagong Barrio Multi-Purpose Cooperative.

Go Negosyo sa Bulacan is presented by the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship – Go Negosyo, in partnership with the Bulacan Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Teofilo Rivera Jr. Go Negosyo sa Bulacan will also be graced by Presidential Management Staff Secretary Cerge Remonde, who is also the Chairman of the Cabinet Oversight Committee for MSME Development. Go Negosyo mentors and entrepreneurs will also be joining our forums to share their stories and business advice.

Go Negosyo sa Bulacan Caravan is the latest leg of the continuing Go Negosyo campaign. It will be on October 03, Friday at the Centro Escolar University Centrodome, Malolos City, Bulacan. The event will be open to the public and admission will be free of charge.