Every time I write year-end columns, I could not help but look back and recall the many milestones Go Negosyo has achieved. This year was special in so many ways that I cannot help but think of all the blessings and opportunities God has given us.
Last year, I mentioned that 2016 will be a year of changes. And it was. With the new administration of President Duterte, changes did happen.
When we first met then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte last February in our Meet the Presidentiables forum, many were still unsure of what he can offer to our country. That is why our forum gave him a chance to share his plans not just for the business sector but for all. His vision for the country is slowly turning into reality. He has an unorthodox way of doing things but he makes sure that the job gets done. We have experienced changes in the past months and we are still up for more.
Go Negosyo was blessed this year with different sorts of positive developments. First, when our very own Executive Director Ramon Lopez became the Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry. With him as the leader of growth and prosperity in the business sector, and the champion of all micro and small entrepreneurs, we can see continuous progress for the economy.
I, myself was given a valued opportunity to help the government when I was appointed as Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship, the same position given to me by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and which led to the Go Negosyo advocacy. With the same position, I still have the mission of alleviating poverty through entrepreneurship. Go Negosyo will continue to create programs that will inspire more Filipinos to become enterprising.
Our biggest program yet which we launched this year was the Kapatid, Angat Lahat. This is in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry and is geared to providing prosperity to the Filipino nation. With the mission of linking micro and small entrepreneurs to the big brothers in the industry, we hope to help our small brothers scale up. The Kapatid, Angat Lahat program has three components which includes Mentor Me, Intervention, and Inclusive Business.
Our mentoring program Mentor ME has been rolled out in many Negosyo Centers nationwide. By next year, there will be more Mentor Me launches in more Negosyo Centers. Many of the Mentor Me programs launched this year have produced their first batch of graduates already. Thanks to our partners, mentors, and advocates, we have equipped our micro entrepreneurs with the right mindset and knowhow in developing their business.
Still with DTI, we plan to further develop the Shared Service Facilities program. We are also looking into the intervention in Department of Science and Technology’s SETUP (Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program).
With the Department of Agriculture, we have linked the onion and garlic farmers to the big retailers and restaurateurs. With Sec. Manny Pinol as our partner in bringing prosperity to our agriculture sector, we plan to create more linkages between farmers and big brother companies. By next year, the Department of Agriculture will officially be a partner of Go Negosyo for all programs for our agri-entrepreneurs.
Our Negosyo Para sa Kapayapaan sa Sulu project is already in the works. Many companies and entrepreneurs have pledged their support to the mission of generating an active socio-economic development to the province of Sulu. It is a dream project for everyone and with Datu Shah Bandar Abdusakur Tan and Sulu Governor Toto Tan as our partners, we know that this will be a success!
To our partners and advocates, let me recognize you as instruments of change. This season reminds us of the time that we have to play our roles in helping people improve their lives. We are given different roles to fulfill but all these will lead to a common goal of prosperity for all.
As 2017 comes, we hope to bring more change in the country. The partnership of private and public sectors is stronger than ever. And as we host the ASEAN next year with President Duterte, we aim to be partners for change and bring prosperity for all.
I look forward to 2017. It is a new year filled with promises and opportunities for a better country and a better world. Go Negosyo has a lot of plans and programs for next year. And our team is ready to take on the new challenges. There will be more work but we are positively looking forward to the contribution that we can give to this administration and the country.
I wish all our Go Negosyantes a happy new year! May 2017 bring more success to all of us and to our country most especially!