For the past six years, Go Negosyo has been partnering with DTI in empowering the micro, small and medium entrepreneurs. This year, our partnership with DTI started with a joint effort to conduct the DTI-Go Negosyo SME Caravans, which have begun since April, starting it off in Bukidnon. We have visited so many provinces around the country, about 10 areas to date as we finished Dumaguete the other day. This year, we targeted at least 15, one province per region, reaching even more remote places such as Dipolog, Mati (Davao), Tuguegarao, and Antique. Last year, together with DTI, we visited 20 provinces including major cities as Cebu, CDO, Dagupan, and Baguio that benefited 14,000 attendees. This year’s provincial caravans with DTI will continue through August.
During the caravans, the DTI handles the special topics on food safety, export procedures and other skills training, while we focus on the inspirational aspect and key applied concepts on how to start and grow a negosyo. We always bring with us our Angelpreneurs and Go Negosyo entreps to share their success stories and to give hope to aspiring and small entreps. They share their learnings, as well, to guide and mentor the SMEs. Also, through the lively lectures of our Angelpreneurs, the SMEs get to learn tried-and-tested negosyo principles to take their business to the next level.
As a non-profit organization, we fund our own expenses in all these caravans, while our philanthropic entrepreneurs and Angelpreneurs sometimes come for free, driven instead by their passion to spread the advocacy of entrepreneurship. We cover airfare and a nominal token fee for our lecturers. They do this to help give many micro and small entreps a chance to succeed.
What’s important is that many of the regional and provincial directors today have started to understand that combining skills training with the Go Negosyo approach of inspiring, teaching, and mentoring are key, especially if this mentorship comes from successful entrepreneurs themselves.
Through these DTI-Go Negosyo caravans, many of the provincial directors are exposed to the Negosyo attitude needed to succeed. Even Bo Sanchez and so many other corporations have tapped Go Negosyo entreps like Ping Sotto, Pax Lapid, and Reuel Virtucio to do similar programs for them.
Some people think that Go Negosyo was a program started by the previous President. I am deeply hurt by this, as this is truly a genuine effort that not only I started, but also by many entrepreneurs who volunteer their time and finances to see other entreps get a better chance to succeed in negosyo. I’m glad that Sec. Greg Domingo and Usec. Merly Cruz continue to be objective in seeing the efforts we’ve put into this, as this advocacy will continue, even as the administration changes through the years. Any government should really harness the efforts of all sectors towards a common objective of promoting SMEs and eradicating poverty.
As negosyantes, we have to help every administration succeed, as this is best for the economy of our country. We have five years with President Aquino. It’s our golden opportunity to finally see our country become investment grade in 2012. Some time ago, in my column, I predicted that our country will continue to increase in ratings, and that is happening. No President is perfect, but we still have to give our share to help in nation-building. We should consolidate efforts of various groups for greater synergies. The President has a good team of economic managers. Now is our best chance. And as the economic environment improves, our micro and small entreps are also given a better chance to succeed.
This week is for our micro and small entrepreneurs. The DTI-MSMED and MSMED Council are again holding the annual SME Summit (happening today at the Philippine Trade Training Center in Manila), which allows us to fine-tune our strategies and programs to promote more dynamic and innovative MSMEs. It also manifests the continuing partnership of the public and private sectors in developing a more relevant intervention and practical approach in helping the smaller negosyantes be more value-adding to really prosper in their business.
The tie-up with Negosyo advocates creates a different kind of relationship among big and small entrepreneurs. Inspiring interaction takes place, and instantly, this builds HOPE and CONFIDENCE to the aspiring and small entrepreneurs. With practical and FREE lectures and mentorship, the SMEs are encouraged and even empowered to take their business to the next level. They don’t remain small forever. Growing their business, thus, enables them to rise above poverty and even contribute much more to our country’s economic growth.
The SME Summit, themed Pinoy SME: Business Tayo!, is the highlight of a weeklong affair at the PTTC, which will also offer free training programs. Apart from the lessons offered by successful entrepreneur-speakers, the summit will also include a panel discussion hosted by the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship-Go Negosyo. We shall have top beauty entrepreneur Dr. Vicki Belo, the innovative Camarines Sur Gov. LRay Villafuerte, and the inspiring Pruds Garcia of Mekeni Foods. Sec. Domingo and I will join the forum as well. The forum will be moderated by Ms. Karen Davila, so we expect a very interesting session today.
The SME Week is not only an avenue for the public and private sector to join hands and develop a more supportive environment for SMEs, but also a way to inspire Filipinos to get into negosyo, even if it means to start small.
The call for nominations for the Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year (MOTY) Awards has begun. Banks can nominate their microloan clients to give their microentrepreneurs a chance to win.