Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Why DTI Sec. Lopez Believes in Creating Smarter Entrepreneurs

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017
A prime mover of empowering MSMEs, DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez believes that making entrepreneurs ‘smarter’ through skills-training, mentoring, education and various capacity-building programs are integral in enabling the massive MSME group

A prime mover of empowering MSMEs, DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez believes that making entrepreneurs ‘smarter’ through skills-training, mentoring, education and various capacity-building programs are integral in enabling the massive MSME group

Department of Trade and Industry’s Secretary Ramon Lopez joined the panel discussion on driving growth for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) during the Prosperity for All Summit last April. A prime mover of empowering MSMEs, Lopez believes that making entrepreneurs ‘smarter’ through skills-training, mentoring, education and various capacity-building programs are integral in enabling the massive MSME group that comprises 99.6% of the entire business sector.

Lopez shared that under the Duterte administration and during his work as the Executive Director of Go Negosyo, the advocacy was always about making the Filipino negosyante smarter. An entrepreneur is someone who is innovative and solutions-oriented and Lopez believes that if MSMEs had the right tools and guidance given to them, growth and progress will become exponential.

Citing a product of the Go Negosyo Act, Lopez shared that the 460 Negosyo Centers nationwide has already spread the access to money, mentorship, and market. This spread of financial support, market access, skills and knowledge have effectively created better equipped and better informed entrepreneurs.

Lopez believes that the current ecosystem that is emerging wherein the public and the private are actively engaging in scaling up the micro and small is bringing to life the advocacy of smarter entrepreneurs nationwide.

Prosperity for All Summit Session 1: Creating an Enabling Environment in Achieving Prosperity for All. In photo (L-R) Dr. William Dar (InangLupa Movement), Sen. Bam Aquino, Former President and Cong. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Rami Sharaf (The Royal Group, Cambodia) and Cathy Yang (moderator).

Prosperity for All Summit Session 1: Creating an Enabling Environment in Achieving Prosperity for All. In photo (L-R) Dr. William Dar (InangLupa Movement), Sen. Bam Aquino, Former President and Cong. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Rami Sharaf (The Royal Group, Cambodia) and Cathy Yang (moderator).

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Myanmar’s Finance Minister Kyaw Win Promotes Education for ASEAN MSMEs

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017
Myanmar’s Union Minister for Planning and Finance His Excellency Kyaw Win.

Myanmar’s Union Minister for Planning and Finance His Excellency Kyaw Win.

H.E. Kyaw Win, Union Finance Minister of Myanmar, delivered a speech in the Prosperity for All Summit on behalf Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

During his message, Kyaw Win gave recognition to the ASEAN Business Advisory Council’s initiative to empower micro, small and medium enterprises. He emphasised the agency of the MSMEs in the economic agenda of the ASEAN Community.

Due to integration, Kyaw Win said, the region has become less susceptible to crises and consequently, more valuable to the global economy. He then stated the private sector’s role in ensuring the commitment of the region to growth and cooperation. As such, an overall theme to Kyaw Win’s message was closer coordination and cooperation amongst governments and the private sector in order to drive growth and integration.

The MSMEs has been a key driver in ASEAN’s progress as they have drawn more interest to the region and account for a lot of our region’s GDP contribution  and employment. Ultimately, Kyaw Win’s message in light of Prosperity for All was to equip and educate the MSMEs in the ASEAN in order to narrow development gaps  across the ASEAN.

VP Leni Speaks on Behalf of the Last, the Least and the Lost

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017
Vice President Leni Robredo presented ways on how we can create an inclusive environment for micro and small entrepreneurs. She said, “This is why putting the welfare of MSMEs at the center of ASEAN’s agenda – essentially inclusive growth – is the challenge of our time.”

Vice President Leni Robredo presented ways on how we can create an inclusive environment for micro and small entrepreneurs. She said, “This is why putting the welfare of MSMEs at the center of ASEAN’s agenda – essentially inclusive growth – is the challenge of our time.”

In her stirring address to the most powerful and influential in the business community of ASEAN, Vice President of the Philippines Leni Robredo brought up the challenge of making “prosperity for all” centered on the poor.

Echoing the statements of Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and ASEAN Business Advisory Council Chairman Joey Concepcion and Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia, Robredo also cited the promising future of ASEAN as one of the world’s largest economies. With this promise, Robredo said, is the true challenge of making the welfare of MSMEs and inclusive growth the center of the ASEAN’s agenda.

Robredo called into attention that at the other side of the growingly prosperous ASEAN is the startling fact that we are still home to many of the world’s poorest. If prosperity is not trickling down, then the problems of our brothers from the West, such as the crumbling of the European Union, will be inevitable for our region as well. This is why creating inclusive business environments is imperative in addressing growing gap between the powerful and the powerless.

With agricultural being one of the industries that directly impacts the poor, Robredo cites inclusive programs, both by public and private institutions, that have achieved positive change in the lives of farmers and fisherfolk. Examples included the World Food Programme’s Zero Hunger Program in Robredo’s former district Camarines Sur and Jollibee’s incorporation of farmers into their supply chain.

To close, Robredo highlighted the role of convergence in the public and private sectors across the ASEAN, in order to lasting prosperity for all. In a final reminder to the business community and government leaders, she voiced out that what happens to the last, the least and the lost is what will truly matter in the long-run.

Malaysian Prime Minister Razak Wants to Make ASEAN “Real & Relevant” to All

Monday, May 8th, 2017
Malaysia Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak delivered the keynote speech in the morning session of the summit. His Excellency Prime Minister Razak said that ASEAN must “raise awareness… and to make it feel real, relevant, and tangible, to all our citizens.”

Malaysia Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak delivered the keynote speech in the morning session of the summit. His Excellency Prime Minister Razak said that ASEAN must “raise awareness… and to make it feel real, relevant, and tangible, to all our citizens.”

Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia delivered the first keynote address at the recently held summit hosted by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) for MSME development. His speech focused on making the very theme of the event, “prosperity for all” a reality.

Painting a picture of the current economic landscape of the ASEAN, Razak gave positive indications that highlight the continued growth and progress ASEAN has schieved in its 50 years of existence. In fact, the ASEAN as a regional bloc is poised to become a US$2.7 trillion economy and the fourth largest in the world by 2050 (Razak said some experts even predict this happening by 2030).

With these optimistic projections, as Razak posited, comes the challenge of making them happen. Amongst the challenges towards ensured economic prosperity for our region such as trade barriers and the facilitation of further intra-ASEAN trade, is the most pressing issue of eliminating the rising non-tarrif barriers and measures.

To address these challenges, Razak brought the spotlight to the MSMEs — the heart of the summit and the backbone of the ASEAN economies. In Malaysia, Razak said SMEs accounted for 97% of their businesses and contribute 36% of their country’s GDP. Malaysia has taken great steps in ensuring that wealth and progress are felt by all their people — as Malaysia continues to prosper their incidence of poverty has shrunk into an infinitesimal 0.6%.

Razak also lauded the Philippines, the ASEAN-BAC and Go Negosyo for giving special attention to bring prosperity for all segments of society. Most importantly, Razak gave recognition to the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network. As MSMEs comprise more than 90% of all ASEAN companies, having them exposed to greater opportunities and to better management methods from big companies.

In hopes of making the regional bloc and all its benefits real to all ASEAN citizens, Razak asserted the call to make prosperity and wealth shared to all. To ensure the stability and further growth of the region, the ASEAN must become meaningful to all citizens and this can only be done through actualizing prosperity for all.

Singapore’s Douglas Foo on MSMEs & the Global Market

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
douglas_foo

MR. DOUGLAS FOO, Founder and Chairman, Sakae Holdings Ltd / President, Singapore Manufacturing Federation/ ASEAN Business Advisory Council (Singapore)

A business leader and celebrated philanthropist hailing from the prosperous nation of Singapore, Douglas Foo is a recipient of various awards and accolades due to his outstanding management and entrepreneurial efforts. In 2013, he was awarded the Public Service Star Award from His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Singapore and has been the country’s representative as member of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council since 2012. Beforehand, Foo has received numerous accolades—amongst them are the ASEAN Youth Entrepreneur Award (2004) and the ASEAN-China Young Entrepreneur Award (2011).

As the Founder & Chairman of Sakae Holdings, Ltd, Foo is well-recognized amongst the top business circles in the region. His company started out with Sakae Sushi in 1977 and has grown into a global food conglomerate with over 200 outlets worldwide. Foo at the helm of the Group, spearheaded the growth and expansion of Sakae Holdings. No stranger to the global market and building a business from the ground up, we asked Foo about his impressions on MSMEs, prepping for the global market, and the challenges this sets up for the ASEAN.

PFA Summit Panelists Per Session_02
Q: How can the business sector and national governments empower the MSMEs to better position them for the global market?

Foo: MSMEs are in exciting times because of the many opportunities created by globalization and technological advancements. There are two areas which our MSMEs can be empowered:

Collaboration – Our governments have laid a strong foundational framework of diplomatic ties for our businesses especially MSMEs to leverage in forging business alliances across ASEAN for mutual benefits. However, there could be more assistance in facilitating collaborations, whether it is helping small companies to collaborate with the larger ones or other MSMEs, or on the global front, with other MSMEs around the world. Such collaborative measures will empower and create opportunities.

Innovation – Our MSMEs are grappling with all these new technologies that are coming on stream. It is a disruption for most, but at the same time, it is a great opportunity where these enterprises can embark on scaling up into far larger businesses where they may not have been able to do without technology as an enabler. In Singapore, our government is providing assistance through various schemes and programmes for MSMEs to adopt innovative solutions with technological levers to remain competitive and relevant in a global market.

That said, MSMEs have to change their mindsets towards change and adopting new technology to innovate or to collaborate to internationalize. They must accept that they have limited resources and need to collaborate with other enterprises to augment manpower expertise and financial resource in a changing economy.

Q: In coming up with an “ASEAN” product, what areas for collaboration between the ASEAN Member States (AMS) do you see are readiest?

Foo: One area most ready is cyber security especially with the rise of the digital economy. If the whole of ASEAN can become more cyber-secure, it will become an attractive place to do business, and this is something which becomes a competitive advantage for this region as we move towards Industry 4.0 and the IoT.

3) In setting up regulations for the growing One ASEAN market, what do you suppose are the most pertinent challenges that AMS need to address?

Foo: The most pertinent challenge is the non-tariff barriers. Presently there are different standards and regulations within AMS. There needs to be in place a recognized ASEAN standard and agreement. For instance, Halal food definition varies from country to country within this region. In some countries, this certification is not recognized and it affects the seamless movement of goods especially at the customs clearance point.

Prosperity for All Summit Web Image
The Prosperity for All Summit is organized by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, headed by its current Chair and the Philippine Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion. The summit is a one-day event focused on “Driving growth through micro and small entrepreneurs in Trade, Services and Agriculture”, and will be held in the City of Dreams, Manila, Philippines on April 28, 2017.

An Agricultural Take on MSME Development with Dr. William Dar

Monday, April 24th, 2017
InangLupa Movement President & Former Department of Agriculture Secretary Dr. William Dar.

InangLupa Movement President & Former Department of Agriculture Secretary Dr. William Dar.

The ASEAN region’s dynamic landscape and climate has led it to become an agricultural haven. In fact, the ASEAN is considered as one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. We are the leading exporters of rice, fruit, vegetable and coffee and majority of ASEAN countries depend heavily on the agricultural sector.

To shed light on the agricultural sector and its impact on MSME development, Dr. William D. Dar shares his insights on agripreneurship (agriculture + entrepreneurship) in the context of ASEAN. Dr. Dar is a champion of the poor, especially small farmers and fisherfolks. Recently, he was awarded The Outstanding Filipino (TOFIL) Award in cognizance of his servant-leadership, as he transformed the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) from a struggling institute to one of the top performing centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

He also founded the InangLupa Movement—an advocacy group that calls for agricultural modernization and rural industrialization anchored on four pillars: inclusiveness, science-based, resilient, and market-oriented development. As a champion of agripreneurship, he actively encourages the youth to become farmer entrepreneurs (agripreneurs).

“Realizing the need to engage youth in agribusiness, InangLupa partnered with a group of visionaries and launched the YEF Phils [Young Entrepreneur-Farmers Philippines] late last year. YEF Phils is a private sector initiative working in partnership with GoNegosyo. YEF Phils envisions ‘A food secure, resilient, and prosperous Philippines propelled by empowered young farmers-entrepreneurs,’ and whose mission is ‘To mentor and empower young farmers to become successful entrepreneurs in high value agriculture,’” Dr. Dar shares.

Another noteworthy initiative in light of agripreneruship is the AgriBusiness Incubation (ABI) Program. Dr. Dar expounds that the “ABI is a program undertaken by ICRISAT which I headed in India. It is a unique and highly flexible combination of business development processes, infrastructure, and people – designed to nurture MSMEs by helping them to survive and grow through the difficult and vulnerable early stages of development. ABI also provides considerable management support for many MSMEs and investments in technology transfer and marketing. Based on the success of the ABI program undertaken by ICRISAT, the following components should be put into place: (1) technology consulting; (2) capacity building and training; (3) access to funding; (4) business facilitation; and (5) infrastructure and facilities.”

Agripreneurship can bolster rural development and create sustainable economies in many rural areas. For micro, small and medium enterprises, agripreneurship and its game-changing potential can create a culture of economic self-sufficiency for the many ASEAN citizens that rely on this sector.

Dr. Dar stresses that an “Inclusive Market-Oriented Development or IMOD strategy should guide MSMEs in agriculture. IMOD is a development pathway in which value-adding innovations (technical, policy, institutional and others) enable the poor to capture larger rewards from markets, while managing their risks. IMOD builds on four powerful principles: (1) resiliency; (2) markets motivate growth; (3) innovation accelerates growth; and (4) inclusiveness ensures that the poor participate and benefit.”

A challenge however to the progress of MSMEs and agripreneurship is how to make them more competitive. “There are only 8,195 MSMEs in agriculture, forestry, and fishing or approximately 1% of the total 896,839 MSMEs,” Dr. Dar says. Furthermore, not many farmers are aware and interested in transitioning into agriprneurship. “Farmers must be given access to credit, capacity training, links to manufacture and trade, etc.”

Lastly, Dr. Dar imparts that the ASEAN can focus on certain regulations to further the agripreneurship agenda. These include improving and streamlining Biosafety, GAP (Good Agricultural Practices), SPS (Sanitary and Photosanitary Measures), and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) compliance, creating institutional mechanisms to support exporters through public-private investments, and reducing discrepancies of national food control systems among individual ASEAN Member States.

Prosperity for All Summit Web Image
PFA Summit Panelists Per Session_01
The Prosperity for All Summit is organized by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, headed by its current Chair and the Philippine Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion. The summit is a a one-day event focused on “Driving growth through micro and small entrepreneurs in Trade, Services and Agriculture”, and will be held in the City of Dreams, Manila, Philippines on April 28, 2017.

ASEAN BAC & ASEAN Japan Business Council Established ASEAN-Japan Innovation Network

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
ASEAN Business Advisory Chairman Joey Concepcion and Vice Chairman of ASEAN Japan Business Council and Chairman of Sumitomo Corporation Kazuo Ohmori presented the signed Memorandum of Cooperation for the ASEAN Japan Innovation Network (AJIN). AJIN is a private sector led initiative for promoting innovation across sectors and industries including digital business platforms for MSMES and emerging industries. Witnessing the presentation are the ASEAN Economic Ministers led by the 2017 Chair, Department of Trade and Industry Sec. Ramon Lopez.

ASEAN Business Advisory Chairman Joey Concepcion and Vice Chairman of ASEAN Japan Business Council and Chairman of Sumitomo Corporation Kazuo Ohmori presented the signed Memorandum of Cooperation for the ASEAN Japan Innovation Network (AJIN). AJIN is a private sector led initiative for promoting innovation across sectors and industries including digital business platforms for MSMES and emerging industries. Witnessing the presentation are the ASEAN Economic Ministers led by the 2017 Chair, Department of Trade and Industry Sec. Ramon Lopez.

The ASEAN Business Advisory Council, led by its Chairman, Joey Concepcion III, and the ASEAN Business Club, represented by its Chair, Tan Sri Dr. Munir, joined forces with leading Japanese private business organizations in establishing the ASEAN-Japan Innovation Network (AJIN) in Tokyo last April 7, 2017. AJIN aims to promote innovation across key sectors in ASEAN especially in support of emerging new digital driven industries through collaboration and cooperation between ASEAN-Japan businesses.

This collaboration was highlighted by the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation.  Mr. Concepcion representing ASEAN business and Mr. Kazuo Ohmori, Vice Chair of Asean Japan Business Council led the signing of the MoC.  Nine collaborating Japanese institutions co-signed the MoC namely: 1) ASEAN Japan Business Council, 2) The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 3) KEIDANREN (Japan Business Federation), 4) KEIZAI DOYUKAI (Japan Association of Corporate Executives), 5) Japan Foreign Trade Council, 6) Japan Association of New Economy, 7) Japan External Trade Organization, 8) Federation of Japanese Chambers of Commerce and Industry in ASEAN, and 9) Japan-ASEAN Innovation Support Network.

The signing of memorandum of cooperation happened last April 7, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.

The signing of memorandum of cooperation happened last April 7, 2017 in Tokyo, Japan.

In the photo (L-R): Mr. Jun Hasegawa, Representative Director of Japan-ASEAN Innovation Support Network; Mr. Tsukasa Kawazu, Executive Managing Director of Japan Foreign Trade Council, Inc.; Dr. Kiyohiko Ito, Managing Director of KEIZAI DOYUKAI; Mr. Satoshi Mukuta, Senior Managing Director of KEIDANREN; Mr. Kazuo Ohmori, Vice Chairman of The Japan Section of the ASEAN-Japan Business Council; Mr. Joey Concepcion, Chairman of ASEAN Business Advisory Council; Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Munir, Chair of ASEAN BAC Malaysia; Dr. Yuri Sato, Executive Vice President of Japan External Trade Organization; and Mr. Takashi Ueno, Vice Chairman of The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In the photo (L-R): Mr. Jun Hasegawa, Representative Director of Japan-ASEAN Innovation Support Network; Mr. Tsukasa Kawazu, Executive Managing Director of Japan Foreign Trade Council, Inc.; Dr. Kiyohiko Ito, Managing Director of KEIZAI DOYUKAI; Mr. Satoshi Mukuta, Senior Managing Director of KEIDANREN; Mr. Kazuo Ohmori, Vice Chairman of The Japan Section of the ASEAN-Japan Business Council; Mr. Joey Concepcion, Chairman of ASEAN Business Advisory Council; Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Munir, Chair of ASEAN BAC Malaysia; Dr. Yuri Sato, Executive Vice President of Japan External Trade Organization; and Mr. Takashi Ueno, Vice Chairman of The Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The signed MoC was thereafter presented formally at the start of a full packed ASEAN-Japan Open Innovation Forum with the presence and strong support of all the ASEAN Economic Ministers led by the 2017 AEM Chair Ramon Lopez of the Philippines.

The AJIN initiative was a culmination of Japan’s private sector engagement and dialogue with new industries which started in Naypyidaw, Myanmar in 2014 (on Green Healthcare), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2015 (on Venture Start up) and Bangkok, Thailand in 2016 (Service Sector).  For 2017, the AJIN serves as an ideal platform to bring about concrete programs in support of the Philippine government’s theme of an Innovation-driven economy and ASEAN BAC’s focus on MSME Empowerment and Inclusive Business towards Prosperity for All.

Are We Up For It?: Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Munir Majid from Malaysia Weighs in on ASEAN Integration and MSME Development

Monday, April 17th, 2017
dr_munir

Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Munir Majid of ASEAN BAC Malaysia.

On April 28, 2017, Tan Sri Dato’ Dr. Munir Majid will join ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Chair Joey Concepcion, Philippine Senator Miguel Zubiri, ASEAN-BAC Member Tessie Sy-Coson, and Filipino Tycoon and Philanthropist Manuel V. Pangilinan as panelists for a session moderated by BBC World News anchor Rico Hizon entitled Call to Action: Initiating ASEAN Mentors for Entrepreneurs Network at the Prosperity for All Summit in the City of Dreams, Manila.

A well-recognized figure in ASEAN discourse, Dr. Majid was the previous Chair of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, Malaysia.

The ASEAN Mentors for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) is a private-public partnership platform where mentors and world class teaching modules for micro, small and medium enterprise empowerment can be developed and actively shared among ASEAN Member States (AMS).

“AMEN is an excellent initiative by Go Negosyo and the Philippines,” Dr. Majid says, “The concentrated effort and focus will help MSMEs reach out and expand their businesses. There is no free lunch of course, but the guidance afforded them can provide linkages if there is a business fit. The mentor with his suite of activities may even find MSMEs that can supply, produce, market and sell goods and services for his business empire.”

Indeed, AMEN will open up a world of opportunities for entrepreneurs all over the region. “Information is king. First, to market is not just an expression. We must be aware that what ASEAN is into is free market and competition. This is the ethic of the ASEAN Economic Community,” Dr. Majid shares. “What initiatives like the mentorship program and the ASEAN MSME master plan are trying to do is to create as level a playing field as possible. But there is no avoiding there will be winners and losers. Are we up for it?

This raises the query of how exactly can MSMEs be further capacitated asides from mentorship and skills training. “Access to finance is key,” Dr. Majid stresses. “New forms of availability beyond the banks through e-finance platforms domestic and cross-border should be encouraged if ASEAN is serious about helping MSMEs.” Dr. Majid depicts a pragmatic picture of why finance is a primary focus area for the ASEAN. “[Financial services’] availability at reasonable rates would provide a solution to many other areas in which MSMEs are weak: good management and account-keeping; better use of technology in internal systems, production and sales; improving the standard of English, which is ASEAN’s business language (although there should be assistance through translations of more important information) – many of the things the mentorship program is designed to achieve.”

Prosperity for All Summit Web Image
The Prosperity for All Summit is organized by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, headed by its current Chair and the Philippine Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion. The summit is a one-day event focused on “Driving growth through micro and small entrepreneurs in Trade, Services and Agriculture”, and will be held in the City of Dreams, Manila, Philippines on April 28, 2017.

To register, accomplish the online form at www.tinyurl.com/AseanProsperityforAll-Public. For additional information on the Prosperity for All Summit, please contact: (+632) 6315001, email info@asean-bac.org, or visit www.gonegosyo.net.

A Celebration for Women as Catalysts for Change

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

filipina photo 1
March 30, 2017—Women from across the Philippines flocked the Malacañan palace, in a display of support for those who were recognized for their capacity to be catalyst for change and progress in the Go Negosyo Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Awards 2017. The event was aligned with the first national celebration of Women’s Month under President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s administration. The President, as the guest of honor that night, gave a short message on women and their role in the much needed change we seek in our country.

“More Filipinas are becoming leaders of their respective industries, contributing significantly to their institutions and making remarkable major strides that uplift the living conditions of their families and communities.”

The President then proceeded to highlight women’s role in nation building—underscoring the overarching theme of women’s month: We Make Change Work for Women.

Other notable attendees were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, SM Investment Corporation Vice Chairman and ASEAN Business Advisory Council Member Tessie Sy-Coson and Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez who gave a a brief address about women and their instrumental role in change. “Women are an inspiring breed because they are agents of change and progress. 80% of enterprises are started by women entrepreneurs. They are resourceful, very entrepreneurial and they find ways to augment the income of their families. We have several role models of entrepreneurship that provide for us a revolution of mindset—the change they inspire is something to look up to and aspire towards,” DTI Sec. Lopez said.

In the photo (L-R): President Rodrigo Duterte; Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion; and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

In the photo (L-R): President Rodrigo Duterte; Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion; and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Of course, in attendance and the head of the event was Founder of Go Negosyo and Presidential Adviser for Entrepeneurship, Joey Concepcion.

“Filipinos are not destined for poverty. We really have to put our work, heart and passion to become successful. The awards [the women entrepreneurs] will be receiving will inspire youth entrepreneurs because we need more of them. And they will be drawing inspiration from all of you,” Concepcion said. “One in a million [women entrepreneurs] will become one of the Legacy Awardees in the future. Hopefully, through these really inspiring, hardworking women, we all will learn never to give up,”

For many years, Joey Concepcion has been at the forefront of honoring women entrepreneurs across the nation. In fact, since its inception in 2005, Go Negosyo has already awarded over 200 outstanding women entrepreneurs for serving as inspirations in their respective fields. The Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Awards highlights the strength and perseverance of women entrepreneurs in the ever developing landscape of entrepreneurship in our country. The awarding ceremony celebrated the women who have greatly contributed and excelled in various ways in their respective fields. The new laudable batch of awardees were selected from an impressive pool of nominees and classified into seven categories: Youth, Inclusive Business, Women MSME Development Enabler, Micro, Small-Medium, Large, and Legacy.

Youth Awardee Arizza Nocum of KRIS Library & Good Karma Shirts gave a heartwarming message on how the women present and honored that night will continue to be sources of inspiration for herself and other as a positive indication of the bright future of women in entrepreneurship. She considers those awarded alongside her as “moms and titas” and promised before the audience that she aspire to be a source of inspiration to others as well.

Youth Entrepreneur Awardee Arizza Ann Nocum delivers a response speech in behalf of the 2017 Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs.

Youth Entrepreneur Awardee Arizza Ann Nocum delivers a response speech in behalf of the 2017 Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs.

Here are the list of awardees for this year’s Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs:

YOUTH
* Arizza Nocum, KRIS Library & Good Karma Shirts

INCLUSIVE BUSINESS
* Felicitas Pantoja, Coffee for Peace
* Rachel de Villa, Cropital

MICRO-SMALL
* Honie Krizia Navor, HK Stone Craft Trading
* Evelyn Daytao. Daytao Native Cake
* Pamela Henares. BuroBuro Springs Vermi Farm
* Imelda Dagus, Dennis Coffee Garden
* Cherrie Atilano, AGREA
* Maria Lydia Lomibao, J. Emmanuel Pastries
* Arlene Mabute, Mabute Lumpia Wrapper & Cheese Stick Maker
* Ester Vitto, Bahag Footwear

MEDIUM-LARGE
* Ana de Ocampo, Wildflour Café & Bakery
* Mary Ann Montemayor, Villa Margarita Hotel & Catering
* Sheree Gotuaco, Omnimoda International
* Anne Gonzalez, Terry S.A.
* Evelyn Palomo, Great Image
* Gina Lorenzana, Unilever Philippines
* Rebecca Mills, Chalre Associates
* Felicia Atienza, Chinese International School Manila

WOMEN MSME DEVELOPMENT ENABLERS
* Pacita Juan, ECHOstore
* Doris Ho, Magsaysay Maritime Corporation
* Cynthia Villar, Senate of the Philippines

LEGACY
* Corazon Ong, CDO Foodsphere, Inc.
* Socorro Ramos, National Bookstore
* Rosalind Wee, W Group of Companies
* Mercedes Gotianun, Filinvest Development Corp.

Senator Bam Aquino’s Personal Insights on MSME Development

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017
Photo courtesy of Sen. Bam Aquino's official Facebook Page.

Photo courtesy of Sen. Bam Aquino’s official Facebook Page.

Senator Bam Aquino, as the youngest Senator currently seated in the Philippine senate, is a staunch advocate of capacitating and empowering micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. He has authored the Go Negosyo Act in the Philippines wherein the establishment of negosyo centers (one-stop shops for an entrepreneur’s varying needs) is mandated in all provinces, cities, and municipalities. Furthermore, Senator Bam Aquino has championed other initiatives to fast-track and aid the development of MSMEs such as lowering their tax rates and consolidating MSME assistance programs.

On April 28, Sen. Aquino will be joining four other panelists in a session moderated by Cathy Yang entitled Creating an Enabling Environment in Achieving Prosperity For All. This session aims to present the current environment and ecosystem for micro, small and medium entrepreneurs from the perspective of the enablers both from the private and public sectors respectively. It also aims to present the current programs of the speakers and how these affect and shape a more enabling business environment.

In a short interview, Sen. Aquino gave his brief insights on the upcoming summit and MSME development.

Q:  In your perspective, what constitutes as an “enabling environment” for the micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs?

BA: An enabling business environment is one that minimizes barriers to success and encourages more Filipinos to build a sustainable business.

In my work with sari-sari store owners as a social entrepreneur, I found that there are 3 key areas of support that every entrepreneur needs to succeed – the 3Ms. These are Money, Market and Mentorship.

For Money, entrepreneurs – from micro to small and medium – need access to financing with reasonable interest rates to meet their capital requirements.

Access to markets, the second M, is another critical element in building a sustainable business. An environment where it easy to enter markets and where market linkage is strong is an environment that enables the growth of MSMEs.

The third M, Mentorship, refers to the training and strengthening of entrepreneurial skills. More importantly, mentorship provides moral and technical support for our MSMEs. Any entrepreneur will tell you that growing a business is not easy. Having mentors and a support group of fellow entrepreneurs to guide and push you can bring you closer to success.

To create an enabling environment, we need to ensure that MSMEs have easy access to these 3Ms.

But it’s also important to note that the government has a role to play, not just in empowering MSMEs with the 3Ms but also in ensuring that government regulations and processes do not hinder the growth of startups and MSMEs.

Government should, for example, strive to minimize red tape and simplify taxation.

Q: Can you give us an example of one of your initiatives/programs that directly contributes to an enabling environment for MSMEs?

BA: My first 3 years as a senator was dedicated to the development of the MSME sector. In fact, 6 out of 17 laws that we passed are in support of MSMEs. The very first law that our office passed, with the help of Go Negosyo, was the Go Negosyo Act.This law mandates that every municipality in the Philippines will have a Negosyo Center where Pinoy entrepreneurs can receive support from qualified business counselors – from trainings in basic accounting, to product design, market linkages, and access to financing. We envisioned entrepreneur hubs where every Filipino can gain access to the 3Ms and can be assured of success in their business.

To date, there are 470 Negosyo Centers up and running that are a joint effort between local government units and the DTI. These Negosyo Centers have serviced 750,000 Filipinos and will continue to grow and improve the quality of their service.

We also have the Microfinance NGOs Act and the Credit Surety Fund Cooperative Act to enable better access to financing for micro to small enterprises. There is the Youth Entrepreneurship Act that mandates entrepreneurship and financial literacy training in our schools so young Filipinos have the basic knowledge to start a business.

Lastly, the Philippine Competition Act and the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act are 2 landmark legislations that help MSMEs become more competitive in the local market.

Q: What aspect/s of the Prosperity for All Summit are you most looking forward to?

BA: I’m looking forward to learning about new ways to empower Pinoy MSMEs to scale-up and penetrate the ASEAN market. I’m also excited to hear about the new opportunities for MSMEs in the region.

It will be interesting to learn from our neighbors about innovations and best practices in the private sector, in legislation, and in government. On the other hand, we are happy to share the positive experience we’ve had working hand-in-hand with MSMEs here in the Philippines.

I’m hopeful that through this summit, we can form stronger partnerships, learn together, and grow together as a united ASEAN.

Prosperity for All Summit Web Image
The Prosperity for All Summit is organized by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, headed by its current Chair and the Philippine Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion. The summit is a a one-day event focused on “Driving growth through micro and small entrepreneurs in Trade, Services and Agriculture”, and will be held in the City of Dreams, Manila, Philippines on April 28, 2017.

To register, accomplish the online form at www.tinyurl.com/AseanProsperityforAll-Public. For additional information on the Prosperity for All Summit, please contact: (+632) 6315001 or  info@asean-bac.org, or visit www.gonegosyo.net.