Archive for February, 2009

Babae, Yaman Ka ng Bayan

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Tonight, we will be launching our third book, the GO NEGOSYO 55 Inspiring Stories of Women Entrepreneurs. Most of the 55 featured women have confirmed their presence in the launch. This is the first book ever done on women entrepreneurs, which will be launched in National Bookstore Rockwell.

When I planned for the concept of this book, I did not think that we would be launching it a few days before the National Women’s Month. I didn’t even think that it would coincide with the women entrepreneurship summit that we have organized on March 2. This summit will be the biggest women entrepreneurship event to be organized in the Philippines for the year.

Proof of Hope

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Last week, I attended two of our companies’ sales convention. One was in Manila, which was for Selecta (Ice Cream). The other was in Boracay for RFM. Both companies did very well. Selecta is now, by far, the Number One ice cream brand in the Philippines, while RFM almost doubled its sales in the last quarter, which is why we held the sales convention in Boracay.

As I gave my message in both events, I explained what I wrote in last week’s column on bringing about the YES attitude in the Philippines. The Philippines is in a unique situation. There will be no recession in the Philippines. Many factors still point to positive growth in consumption spending. New opportunities arise. People’s attitudes towards the country are gradually changing. Finally, they are seeing the light. Complaining does not get us anywhere. People now know what they have to do and that they have to take control of their own destiny.

Those who are discouraged about the politics and corruption in the Philippines should be realistic. It will take generations to change these problems. Steps have to be taken in the right direction. But the country can still move forward in spite of these. In time, through tighter controls, checks and balance, and good values reformation, we can see an improvement in good governance.

Our biggest challenge today is to help people not lose hope. Religious leaders, like Brother Mike or Brother Eddie, are able to give hope to people through spirituality. We can also give hope by helping people develop the right attitude – the YES attitude that has driven people to success. Prayers are important and primarily the source of hope for millions of Filipino church goers. But, transforming people’s attitude in life into the right and positive one is the most challenging. A lot of self-help books on how to improve oneself have been written. The bestsellers like Purpose Driven Life and even Go Negosyo’s inspiring stories of entrepreneurs are what people hold on to, because these books give hope and advice towards self-improvement.

While prayers strengthen our faith as a source of hope, we still need our brains to think about what is right and wrong. We need to think about what skills do we need to help us land a job or even pursue a negosyo. Prayers that are strengthened with hope will bring about a YES attitude. All these will give a clear vision of what a person wants in life and the skills he needs in order to succeed.

Having said all these, in the two years that we have been working with PGMA and Secretary Cerge Remonde who was former Head of the Presidential Management Staff and the Cabinet Oversight Committee for MSME Development, we present our scorecard. For the year 2004 to 2010, the target for job creation is three million new jobs for MSMEs, and a tripling of loan releases to MSMEs. From 2004 to October 2008, Microloans and SME credit releases reached close to P300 billion. Even the One Town One Product (OTOP) project of the DTI assisted 30 thousand MSMEs since 2005. For the year 2007 alone, joint MSME development activities have served more than half a million Filipinos through trainings and seminars. We have worked with the committee for an intensified advocacy through information and communication campaigns on MSME programs. We have also started on strongly pushing for a government-private sector partnership towards MSME development. With these accomplishments, we are looking forward to doing more.

The Philippines also participated in a study that assessed the level of entrepreneurship in a country. Through the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship – Go Negosyo, the Philippines participated in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor or GEM report that was based on a survey of 2,000 adult Filipinos. According to this 2006 survey, four out of 10 Filipinos are entrepreneurially active, and this ranks the Philippines as second among the 42 countries with most individuals owning a business. However many businesses remain small and are motivated by necessity (54% as against 37% of opportunity motivations). Many are survival microentrepreneurs, mostly lacking novelty (71%), so these are the generic sari-sari stores or lechon manoks and vendors we see around.

The continuing challenge is on how we can change the mindset of all the existing and aspiring entrepreneurs to become ‘real’ entrepreneurs who are continuously innovating or at least trying to differentiate their products and services to be better than their competition. The challenge is on how we can inspire many aspiring or existing microentrepreneurs to think big, but start small, to have a vision and understand the need to have monthly and yearly goals, to move up. It has to start with the right attitude and then empowerment through skills training, technical and financial assistance. As we do these, we also make available the community of entrepreneurs to serve as their mentors as many successful entrepreneurs, and even individuals look up to their mentors for constant guidance and advice. This is the reason why we have to rally all those successful mentors to help in the cause, to have Go Negosyo regular forums and venues for interactions and consultations. Our cause is to help the micros become bigger and more innovative, to have a sustained businesses. We have the positive energy we need for entrepreneurship. What we need to do now is to integrate all our efforts, from government, from private sectors, from the academe to help develop entrepreneurship. Part of the program this year is to cascade this working framework and replicate in as many provinces as possible, and we shall encourage all our local government officials like governors and mayors to become the negosyo champions in their areas. These will be a big boost in their local economies, as it will increase employment and income levels, reducing poverty in the end.

Going back to our out of town sales convention, I decided to stay through Valentine’s Day in Bora with my wife. We had no friends with us. Instead, we brought along our youngest child Isabella, who had her own room anyway.

It was funny to see some old friends with their wives. It is surprising that many people still take Valentines seriously these days. Some decided to spend it as one whole family, like Ramon Garcia who is a pretty successful entrepreneur. I used to borrow his yacht when I was 20 years old.

Annabella Santos-Wisniewski, also a very successful entrepreneur, treated us to dinner. She is one of the women entrepreneurs featured in our third book on women entrepreneurs to be launch on Feb. 26 at the National Book Store Rockwell branch. Annabella is an entrepreneur who has combined the right attitude with the right skill. The result is success. Her chain of hotels, Discovery, is definitely world class. And soon, she will be launching a new resort in Bicol with another entrepreneur Zaldy Co, who we awarded in Camarines Sur three weeks ago. She says it will become a small leading world hotel. Hopefully, we will see more successful entrepreneurs in the area of tourism. I, myself, am building a dive boat just with seven rooms, but will cater to a market who loves the Philippine seas. It will have the amenities that people will find in any land hotel.

As I have mentioned, we will be launching the Go Negosyo book on the 55 Inspiring Stories of Women Entrepreneurs on Feb. 26, at National Book Store Rockwell. After this, we will be launching the biggest women entrepreneurship event of the year – the Go Negosyo: Babae Yaman Ka ng Bayan – on March 2, at the World Trade Center. This is Go Negosyo’s way of celebrating the month of March as the month for women.

Go Negosyo: Babae, Yaman Ka ng Bayan!

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

Women Entrepreneurship Summit

MARCH 2, 2009
Gil Puyat Ave. Extension cor. Diosdado Macapagal Blvd.
Pasay City

babae021009.jpgThe BIGGEST Women Entrepreneurship Summit of the year is less than two weeks away!

Learn from our established womenpreneurs who were able to overcome challenges and manage successful and lucrative business ventures. Let their experiences and learnings guide you as
we launch our third book
entitled Go Negosyo: Joey Concepcion’s 55 Inspiring Stories of Women Entrepreneurs.

Engage in a dynamic discussion with our women government officials Sen. Loren Legarda, Sec. Espie Cabral, Usec. Merle Cruz, Gov. Grace Padaca, and Cong. Cynthia Villar as we discuss entrepreneurial leadership and how having the right mindset can help our leaders address the needs of our people — especially women — throughout the country.

Let our mentors Abbygale Arenas-de Leon, Cory Quirino, Doyee Tumpalan, and Florisa Mariano teach you how to build your confidence and improve the way you present yourself to others.

Learn to build your support network, starting with the people you love the most. Find out how husband-and-wife entrepreneurs Sen. Manny & Cong. Cynthia Villar (C & P Homes), Maricel & Anthony Pangilinan (The Parent Company), Ana & Dylan Wilk (Gandang Kalikasan), Cathy & Mike Turvill (Nurture Spa), Dina & Les Reyes (Reyes Haircutters), and Val & Ping Sotto (Shell Gas Stations) share responsibilities and balance their family life and work.

Find out how you can bring out the entrepreneur in you as Dean Francisco "Pax" Lapid (Entrepreneurs School of Asia), Sir Ping Sotto and Gladys Reyes (KSA Magic) teach you how to find the perfect business opportunity. Our Go Negosyo "womentors" will share insights on how you can take your business to the next level.

Learn about the numerous selling opportunities out there as we feature speakers from Insular Life, AVON, Fuller Life, and other members of the Direct Selling Association of the Philippines. Start your own backyard business and take your cue from our Multiply-preneur Joanna Romero of Cuppy Puppy Cupcakes and Cookies.


Karen Davila

Rico Hizon
Boy Abunda

Susan Enriquez

Tintin Bersola-Babao

Connie Sison

plus Eco dela Sala and Roxanne Barcelo of Go Negosyo Bigtime TV Show.


Usapang Anda

  • Don’t
    let money matters overwhelm you. Let our finance experts Benel Lagua
    (President and COO of Small Business Corporation) and Randell Tiongson
    (President & COO, Personal Finance Advisers Philippines
    Corporation) talk about loans and the basics of finance, and give tips
    on where you can invest your money. Sponsored by Citibank.

Benta Ka Ba sa Pagbebenta?

  • Find out how selling insurance can give you financial security and augment your family’s income without having to hold down a nine-to-five job. Sponsored by Insular Life.

Hey, Ang Ganda Ko!

  • Marie Calica, Beauty and Fitness Editor of  Marie Claire Philippines shares her ganda tips for women on a shoestring budget. Organized by

Tipid Kuryente, Dagdag Kita

  • Saving the earth can save you money as well. UNDP-PELMATP gives tips on how you can reduce your electricity consumption (and spending!).

Win special prizes!

  • Get a free makeover and beauty products from HBC!

Over 100 booths and exhibitors will be showcasing different products and services under the following categories:
•    Health and Wellness
•    Fashion and Beauty
•    Family Life and Work Balance
•    Negosyo at Pera



Download the Program, Exhibitors’ Kit
and Sponsorship Package


For more information, call:

(02) 813-2612

PCE Secretariat
(02) 637-9347



Sunday, February 15th, 2009


February 22, 2009

Fully Booked, Bonifacio High Street

Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

10:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Celebrate Learning, Celebrate Life! Celebrate Mensa Day, with seminars and activities on entrepreneurship, health and fitness, learning and more.

11:00 AM

GoNegosyo Forum

location: U-View    
GoNegosyo starts the day with a forum seeking to inspire the youth to Go Negosyo. Maoi Arroyo, CEO of Hybridgm Consulting, Inc., Mr. Rommel Juan, President of Binalot Fiesta Foods, Inc., Dr. Antonio Lopez, National President of the Entrepreneurship Educators’ Association of the Philippines, Inc., and Mr. Ramon Lopez, Executive Director of Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship will talk about their challenging experiences as entrepreneurs and their efforts in promoting entrepreneurship in the country. The forum will be moderated by RJ Ledesma.

12:00 NN

Entrepreneurship 101

location: U View   
In this seminar by GoNegosyo, Prof. Jorge Saguinsin from the Ateneo Graduate School of Business will talk about Finding Business Ideas and Opportunities amidst Crisis.

1:00 PM


location: U-View (tentative)    
GoNegosyo presents
Dr. Francisco "Paco" Sandejas, Managing Partner of NARRA Ventures Capital, to discuss Technopreneurship: The Synergy between Technology Prowess and Entrepreneurial Skills.

2:00 PM

Social Entrepreneurship

location: U-View (tentative)   
Mr. Illac Diaz, multi-awarded entrepreneur and Executive Director of My Shelter Foundation, will speak on Social Entrepreneurship: Redefining Doing Business in the Philippines.

For more information, visit


Building on the Philippines' YES Attitude

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Last week, the Concepcion Clan, composed of about 60 of us from the second to the fourth generation, had our annual shareholders meeting in Macau. Normally, we reach about a hundred, but many of the fourth generation had exams. It is a practice to get all generations involved. We do not only discuss issues about Concepcion Industries (Carrier, Condura and Kelvinator brands of air-conditioner and refrigerators), we also talk about family legacy, values and advocacies. Concepcions, being so argumentative, takes so much time in discussions, so we brought in strong moderators who can control the discussion flow.

Imagine 60 Concepcions checking in and out of the airport and the hotel. You can only picture the confusion of those people in the counters, as most of us bear not only the same surname but also first names. My cousins’ names from one branch all start with Raul.

For most of us, it was our first time in the ‘new’ Macau. Hotel rates have dropped very much. We stayed at the Four Seasons. The hotel was 30 percent occupied, and we were half of that. It was like a ghost town when we went around the huge Venetian and Four Season’s malls. The nearby buildings being constructed for more hotels, casinos, etc. were all on a standstill. Some of them were 60 percent done. There was no tight traffic on the streets.

The last time I was in Macau, which was maybe 15 years ago, it was so different. Prior to the world financial crisis, Macau was like the place for a gold rush. People just had to be there to start projects. Since the financial crisis started, you can see that it has affected Macau in a very big way. The Chinese Government even controlled the number of times a mainland China citizen can go to Macau. I guess they did this to control their gambling habits.

The Sands owner Sheldon Adelson, who also owns the Venetian, faces a big financial challenge. Las Vegas has been hit with the financial crisis, and his projects in Asia starting with Macau and Singapore are burdened with heavy cash requirements.

Looking at all these, the Philippines is still lucky, or shall we say, blessed. I am starting to see a number of columnists who write positive points about the Philippines’ future. Some are even saying that small is beautiful. What do they mean? Well, the Philippines has a relatively small economy compared to economies in the world. The Asian financial crisis affected us quite severely early on, as shown in the disappearance and merging of many banks like Far East, PCI, Urban, Citytrust, among others. It led to more stringent banking standards, requiring collaterals on most loans and being very conservative on values placed on collaterals. The Philippines was even the last to come out of the Asian crisis. And this has somehow left a great deal of discipline to many financial institutions and companies. Passing through that crisis was like graduating with a doctorate degree on crisis management.

Most CEOs, including myself running RFM Corporation, were not spared from the crisis. But, we learned a lot. However, those were still scary times. In a way, you can say that the growth rate in the Philippines was moderate, primarily because lending and expansion were done with relatively more caution. On the other hand, those countries who thought there was no end to a bull market and which loosened their lending policies suffered to a greater degree.

We saw bigger countries, with bigger economies, and bigger corporations, that were hit much more as cheap money flourished. They had Triple A rating from the different agencies like Moody’s, Standard and Poor. They had very good growth rates as a country and company. The cheap money pushed them to invest even in non-core businesses. Financial derivatives became so tempting for many to increase the returns.

One can ask whether or not the growth of America over the past years was for real? As this was all funded by cheap capital, and lending excessively to consumers that pushed savings rate to extreme low levels. They became a credit card society, so obviously growth was funded. Now without this cheap capital, can America and other countries sustain this growth? Worst is that many of the central banks, in order to save the economy from catastrophe, have to push for stimulus spending. It is debatable and this is why a number of lawmakers in American Congress are hesitant in approving such a stimulus package as it does not solve the problem in the long term.

That is what Asia did right, specially the Philippines. We credit BSP as they required banks and companies to strengthen their balance sheets and some had to go into merger. People suffered huge financial losses earlier to teach them to be careful and avoid risks. It taught many Filipinos earlier on not to borrow in dollars that are not hedged. Definitely a lesson I learned in this Asia crisis. It taught us all to manage our borrowings and insure long term loans and capital to support long term projects. So the financial discipline came with pain. No stimulus package was done. We had to ride through the whole thing. The rest of Asia took about three years, and the Philippines took five years. For me this is why we are a much stronger country today. This observation was validated with the recent report that Moody’s has raised to Positive rating its outlook for the Philippines, while S&P said that government finances had improved, bringing gains to Peso and the Philippine bond.

These are all part of the negosyantes’ learning process: financial discipline and a more focused economic program. We see a clearer picture on the Philippine business model which now leans towards Services sector, as opportunities still abound through the BPO’s and call centers. Now, English is given priority in schools, which is essential in being one of the world’s largest service providers. There are even English teaching services done online.

I am not saying that Filipinos will not feel the financial crisis, as the people I talked to who are working in Macau are concerned about their jobs since a number has been sent home. It was still amazing to see many Filipinos OFWs in the hotel, and even in the downtown restaurants. But good to note the Filipinos are always the last to be sent home, if at all. This is why I feel the Philippines will continue to do well. We have learned from past mistakes.

Going back to our family conference, when we touched on our vision for the Philippines, each of our advocacies was discussed. My father’s role in NAMFREL has evolved and he now helps the organization to advocate for electoral reforms and computerization. My uncle Raul continues to have his advocacy on consumer oil price watch which has been expanded to include other essential commodities. I believe his vision is to go beyond price watch and to push for greater transparency in stock situations. On our Go Negosyo advocacy, we aim to change the mindset of many Filipinos into one that is positive and entrepreneurial, as the key for many Filipinos to move up in life. Our approach this year is to replicate this effort and encourage more Negosyo champions from local government officials, to push for a stronger negosyo climate that will create more income opportunities and eradicate poverty in their areas. My brother John’s new advocacy is to help fight hunger around the country, as he now helps the Bayan Anihan project of GK. They have developed a very good food production model that can be adopted by communities or individual families, whether or not under the GK program. In the end, this will ensure food on the table of every family participating, and the model allows other corporations/ individuals to help those in need.

Somehow, all these advocacies are efforts to help bring back hope, and help bring about a better Philippines and better lives for the Filipinos. Let’s continue to light the candle of hope and have the Yes attitude.

Te Amo

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

During the wake of my father in law, I was surprised to find out about the number of people who follow the Ask Go Negosyo column. There are many who read the column and wait for it to come out on Thursdays. It feels good to know that ever since I began writing two years ago, I am able to touch the hearts of so many people. I share parts of our life and the lives of other people, as we all go through this journey that God has given us.

In the Necrological Rites, I was called by surprise to share. I have been doing my speeches extemporaneously in many of our entrepreneurship events. But, I found this one to be the most challenging, as I could not help but breakdown. In fact, I told the audience of close to 300 that this is the first time my children would see their father cry. While this may be a bit embarrassing, I guess in times like this, our guards are brought down. Humility brings out the real person in us.

While this is supposed to be an entrepreneurship column, I hope that our readers will not mind me sharing some of our lives’ most important moments. This column is meant to inspire and motivate people to achieve greater success in their lives.

Last week’s columnand this column would hopefully encourage the many successful workaholics to give time to life. When we keep ourselves so busy with our negosyos, always looking for more, we may forget certain things that are also equally important – family.

Sometimes, people whose parents are still alive take these moments for granted. They fail to realize what should have been done before the people they love are gone. You can imagine the sacrifice our OFWs. They give up their time with family, while those who are lucky to spend time with their parents take it for granted.

Let me share with you my wife’s letter to her dad. She read this during the eulogy. “Te Amo Pappy”.

Dear Pappy,

When Mom died, it took me many months to remove the pain for her death. We have been so close like sisters, staying up late while I tell my problems and ask for advice. Many times, I would ask God. Why? But, God was good. Before she passed away, Christian, our first son, was born. She enjoyed Christian for a very short time. As I look back now, God knew the pain I went through and blessed us with a son that helped me go through those trying times. The love I wanted to express to my mom was done through my son. Two years ago, when you were diagnosed with colon cancer, I asked God why again. You have taken my mom and now my father. At the same time during the discovery of your cancer, we also discovered that I was pregnant with Isabella. God is great. God does really work in mysterious ways. He knew I would be deeply affected by Mom’s death. He gave us Christian after years of trying. Now, he has blessed us, at my age then of 46, a miracle child Isabella. But, this time, he has blessed you with two years to enjoy her. She will definitely help me go through the pain of losing you. My love for you as a father is hard to replace. You have been a great Pappy and mom to us, during all these times. I will surely miss you in all our Sunday dinners, family reunions, and vacations in the San Franciso Fishermans Warfe, Napa Valley, and your love for wine. I will especially miss the times we spent together in our boat. You always loved the sea and fishing. But, most of all, I will surely miss my morning calls to you, and your fatherly advice when I would consult you with my problems. I will surely miss the affection you showed my children, the way you called Christian Bodung; even Isabella, who everyday would call “Lolo, Lolo”. I will miss your singing, especially the last one during your birthday, Las Manananitas. During the last days before your death, I will forever remember that moment when I held your face with my hands and said “I love you Pappy”. You replied with a smile and whispered I love you. Then, I knew you were ready to go. To my stepmother Merele Orosa, thank you for being there for my father, especially during those most trying times, and giving him a faith that could move a mountain. It is so hard to say goodbye. But then again, thank you Pa. Joey, I and my Children will surely miss you. And don’t worry, I will always to be your eldest daughter to keep our family together. And, I will always help my brothers and sisters whenever they need help. Please tell Ma, I love her so very very much. Please be our Guardian Angel and watch over us. Bye Pappy, Te Amo Pappy Te Amo.


* * * * *

Wow! What a welcome party for all the guests that came for our Bicol Express event. What a huge crowd. More than five thousand Bicolanos attended our Go Negosyo sa Bicol Express last Friday. This is one of our most successful and well-organized caravans. Thanks to the local volunteers of Gov. Lray Villafuerte. It had the most microentrepreneurs in attendance.

The warm welcome of Bicolanos was overwhelming. They have the tremendous interest to learn about entrepreneurship. Go Negosyo sa Bicol Express was presented in partnership with the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur, under the leadership of Gov. Lray Villafuerte who is also a Go Negosyo Trustee. Gov. Lray sets a very good example, being a “champion” of entrepreneurship in his province. He has innovative projects that attracted many tourists, foreign visitors, and investors to the once quiet town of Camarines Sur. His slogan: “Visit Bicol and Be Cool”.

We also invited possible “presidentiables”, and it was only Senator Manny Villar who was able to join our forum. He left the Bicolanos with inspiring and practical negosyo advice. His “sipag at tiyaga” story surely inspired many aspiring and starting entrepreneurs who wish and work hard to rise from their humble beginnings. We now encourage more local leaders to champion the cause of Go Negosyo in their areas.

We thank our Go Negosyo mentors who have been relentless in helping us spread the entrepreneurial culture: MDI Group’s Myla Villanueva, French Baker’s John Lu Koa, Gawad Kalinga’s Dylan Wilk, Entrepreneurs School of Asia’s Dean Pax Lapid, Reyes Haircutters’ Les Reyes, Vintel Logistics’ Paulo Tibig, Bobson’s Victor Tan, Personifi’s Abby Arenas de Leon, Gapuz Review Center’s Ray Gapuz, SB Corp’s Benel Lagua, PLDT SME Nation’s Kat Luna and Gabi Qui, Globe’s Ramil Canabe, DTI Regional Diector Joy Blanco, DOST’s Tomas Briñas, and Go Negosyo’s very own Mon Lopez. Rico Hizon of BBC News also flew all the way from Singapore to support the Go Negosyo cause. He hosted the event together with Go Negosyo Bigtime hosts Eco Dela Sala and Roxanne Barcelo.