Negosyo Mo, Bukas Ko

December 15th, 2011

It has been over six years since Go Negosyo began its mission to empower people and inspire them to look at the country’s situation in a positive view; to let them see that poverty can be beaten and that the Philippines is not destined to be a poor nation. We continue to engage all sectors of society to have this view through our summits, caravans, Negosems, TV shows, books and any other form of media that allows us to feature successful entrepreneurs as a way to inspire and educate others.

We have been able to reach out even to the youth in school, whether private or public. But we found that there is one sector that we have not tapped – the out of school youth (OSY). I believe that we should turn our attention to this sector because the statistics of OSY has become alarming. To demonstrate, out of the 100 kids that should be going to school, only 90 will enter grade 1; out of the 90, only 40 will finish high school; and out of the 40, only 21 will enter college, where only 12 would finish, and, sadly, only one would get employed.

To give an even clearer picture, allow us to share the story of a girl we met. Her name is Desiree. She is 18 years old whose family allots a Php100 budget for daily expenses. There are days when the family can eat only one meal a day. She successfully graduated high school, but could not move on because she could not afford college tuition. Just like many among the youth who aspire for a better future, all she wants is to finish her studies, so that she may help her younger siblings finish school and so that she could uplift the life of her family. “Gusto kong umasenso buhay namin para ‘di kami laging ganito na lang,” she says. If given the chance, she would work hard to finish her education to give her family a brighter future. She is asking for help so that she may fulfill her dreams.

We need to give the OSY a chance to fight poverty. The odds are against them, as they do not have a mentor to educate them or to give them hope for a better future. Through the years, Go Negosyo has made new heroes out of successful entrepreneurs because of how they become the people to look up to; people who can inspire others in achieving the same success. These ‘new heroes’ have been given many Go Negosyo awards through our partnership with other institutions. Such awards include PLDT SME Nation’s MVP Bossing, the Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year, NLDC’s SIPAG Award, the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, and our own Go Negosyo Women and Young Starpreneurs.

Now, we are reaching out once more to our entrep heroes to lend a hand to the OSY through the project Negosyo Mo, Bukas Ko (or Your Business, My Future). Employ to Educate to Empower (E2E) – this is the guiding principle behind our new project. All it will take is for the entrepreneur community to hire among the OSY we have screened, trained and transformed through our program, to allow them to earn income, half of which will be allotted to their educational fund. This program thus aims to be a vehicle for the employment and education of the OSY.

We held the soft launch of NMBK last week, and it was attended by strong Go Negosyo supporters such as Myla Villanueva, Esther Vibal, Felix Ang, Usec. Merly Cruz, Jo Magsaysay, Cathy Turvill, Rommel Juan, Richard Sanz, Tennyson Chen, Anna Meloto-Wilk, Genevieve Tan, Chit Juan, Siu Ping Par, Martin Lorenzo, Michelle Asense and our partners from BPI Family Bank TG Limcaoco, Cedoy Roces and Marj Antonio, and from PLDT SME Nation Kat Luna Abelarde and Gabby Cui, and PLDT- Smart Foundation head Esther Santos, to get their inputs as well as to answer inquiries about the program. The following day I met with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and discussed the plan with him over lunch.

The government’s support through its agencies such as DSWD, TESDA, DepEd, and DILG will also be important if we want to immediately scale-up the program and replicate in many areas to benefit many more OSYs. The role of the private sector complements the public sector well in that we provide the screening and continuous training and transformation interventions to the OSYs as they are employed in Go Negosyo partner-enterprises. This to us is taking the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) concept to the grassroots level that will bring about direct and meaningful social change. This PPP project is for the youth who are not able to get an education because of poverty. And we hope that with NMBK, purposive employment and education will be the OSY’s way to uplift their lives. Maybe someday, we would be able to see Desiree and other OSYs join the workforce or even become future Go Negosyo entrepreneur awardees.