Aside from five years in Go Negosyo, I also have my work in RFM Corporation — a food and beverage company. My grandfather started it in 1958. He passed it on to my father Joecon — the man who lit the first candle as the NAMFREL Chair during the Marcos years.
While he worked as the CEO of RFM, Joecon spent almost half of his time as a crusader and risked his life. NAMFREL was his creation, together with Ting Paterno, Vicente Jaime, Isabel Wilson, among others. My father started NAMFREL during his 50s. Fighting a battle for years instilled hope in the Filipino to guard the ballot. This paved the way for the people power revolution.
Today, I find myself in a similar situation. I’m in my 50s and spending half of my time in an advocacy that also does give hope to many micro and small entrepreneurs not to give up and fight poverty. I have been supported by trustees who believe in the same cause.
I also served in government – pro-bono and part time as an entrepreneurship adviser to PGMA and currently as the MSME Development Council Vice Chair. I was also supported by the late Cerge Remonde, who shared the same vision. Yesterday marked his first death anniversary.
I look back and try to connect the dots as to why I am where I am today. Sometimes, we unknowingly follow our mentors’ paths. In my case, I followed in my father’s footsteps.
The future of our country lies in the many individuals who go the extra mile to help others. Bam Aquino and Mark Ruiz of Hapinoy, Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Rags2Riches, Nelia Gonzales of Punla sa Tao Foundation, Gemma Bulos of A Single Drop for Safe Water, Dr. Jaime Alip of CARD, Dylan and Anna Wilk of Gandang Kalikasan are just a few examples. Esther Vibal also has a lot of advocacies for different sectors like entrepreneurship, women and environment. Cito Lorenzo is also helping agri-entrepreneurs together with Henry Lim Bon Liong. Senen Bacani is also a strong advocate of agribusiness.
Five years since we started Go Negosyo, we have already reached more than 230,000 Filipinos. They are the Filipinos who joined us in all our summits, provincial caravans and seminars. Since the birth of Go Negosyo, we already conducted more than a hundred caravans, summits, book tours and Negosems (Negosyo Seminars) nationwide. We plan to grow these numbers over the years.
Our friends and supporters have also grown in number. Thank you to our 21 trustees, 31 Angelpreneurs (mentors) or “angels to entrepreneurs” and entrepreneurship enablers. They are the ones who have been supporting Go Negosyo—going around the country with us, sharing their time, wisdom, expertise and stories of inspiration. We are also very proud of the more than 700 Go Negosyo Entrepreneurs whose stories we have shared to help inspire others.
The past year was also extra memorable for us. We conducted special Negosems for the sector of persons with disabilities, the inmates of the New Bilibid Prison and the beneficiaries of Gawad Kalinga. It’s our way of giving back for all the blessings and the support that Go Negosyo has received. We also had another first for Go Negosyo when we conducted the very first international Negosem in Italy. We were able to share inspiration and entrepreneurial knowledge to about 300 Filipinos in Rome, Milan and Naples last November. We had special mentoring sessions also to those with draft business plans.
We have also continued to feature stories of inspiring entrepreneurs to more than 200,000 weekly viewers of the Go Negonesyo: Kaya Mo! TV show. I am also thankful to have been blessed to have two columns in the Philippine Star—Ask Go Negosyo and Tagumpay. I can’t believe that I have already written almost 300 columns.
In five years, we have also sold 100,000 copies of our five bestselling Go Negosyo books. We launched last year the fifth book on 100 Inspiring Stories of Small Entrepreneurs. For 2011, we will be releasing our sixth book — the Go Negosyo: 8 Simple Secrets to Raising Entrepreneurs by Mary Joy Canon-Abaquin. It will be launched and available on February 08.
Our partnership with the private and government sectors are also growing. Aside from our strong and continuous partnership with PLDT SME Nation, Smart, RFM Corp. and BPI Family Bank, many more private companies are joining us in our entrepreneurship advocacy, like LBC, Condura, Avon, Unilever and Microsoft. We are also thankful for our government and organizational partners like the Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Franchise Association, Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc., Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, among many others.
The year 2010 was indeed a blessing. For the past five years, we have seen many inspiring stories unfold and we have witnessed the growth and success of many entrepreneurs in our Go Negosyo network. This advocacy also proves that the government and private sectors can indeed work together towards a goal for a better Philippines. The Go Negosyo advocacy strongly manifests that there are many entrepreneurs out there who have the heart to reach out and help the young, aspiring and starting entrepreneurs.
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Last call for everyone to attend the “GO NEGOSYO DAY 8: ENTREP MARKETING INNOPRENEUR SEMINAR” today, Jan. 20, 2011 from 12:30 to 5:30 PM at the AIM Conference Center, Makati. Learn from the country’s leading negosyo mentors, gurus and most especially from acclaimed Marketing Guru Josiah Go. Find your opportunities as entrepreneurs and learn about innovation and entrepreneurship from the experts. Visit our website for more details on the registration or you may also directly proceed to the venue for registration.