Archive for the ‘ASEAN’ Category

Cebuano Social Enterprise Weaves Filipino Cultural Tradition and Business into an ASEAN-Recognized Enterprise

Sunday, May 21st, 2017
Anya Lim is among the select Philippine Entrepreneurs who won at last year’s ASEAN Business Awards under the AEC Priority Integration Sector Excellence Awards for Textile. Photo courtesy of Inquirer News.

Anya Lim is among the select Philippine Entrepreneurs who won at last year’s ASEAN Business Awards under the AEC Priority Integration Sector Excellence Awards for Textile. Photo courtesy of Inquirer News.


We support our indigenous weavers by providing market access and capacity- building programs for them to be able to sustain their businesses. We do this by preserving and promoting our weaves and turning them into contemporary designs to attract younger generations.”

Anya Lim— featured in last year’s Go Negosyo’s 55 Inspiring Stories of Women Entrepreneurs— won big in two separate international business awards last 2016. She garnered the special prize at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Efficiency and Success Target Awards held in Lima, Peru and the ASEAN Business AEC Priority Integration Sector Excellence Award for Textile held in Vientiane, Laos.

She serves as an inspiration for women, social entrepreneurs and all retail business owners alike for her company, the ANTHILL Fabric Gallery. ANTHILL stands for Alternative Nest and Trading Hub for Indigenous/ Ingenious Little Livelihood seekers and it is the first creative social and cultural enterprise in Metro Cebu.

ANTHILL had its humble beginnings in the year 2010, when Anya decided to partner with her mother in establishing a textile hub that sources and promotes local fabrics woven by indigenous communities. Anya credits her upbringing, her early exposure to indigenous communities, and her realizations while travelling as her inspiration for embarking on a business focused on promoting the value of Filipino traditional culture and identity.

Beyond promotion, however, Anya dreams of Filipinos weaving local textiles into our lifestyle in all aspects such as clothing, accessories, etc.

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Some of ANTHILL Fabric Gallery's creations. Photo from ANTHILL's Instagram account.

Some of ANTHILL Fabric Gallery’s creations. Photo from ANTHILL’s Instagram account.

“I’ve been fortunate to have travelled to different parts of the world and I noticed that in Asia, we have a very rich weaving culture, but it’s only in the Philippines where we only wear woven fabrics on rare occasions like weddings, cultural dances, Linggo ng Wika celebrations or burials,” Anya shared in an interview with Go Negosyo.

Moving forward, Anya hopes to bring her Cebuano social enterprise to greater heights. By introducing a management system to further professionalize the business, she hopes that ANTHILL will be able to expand its market reach and help more communities in the Philippines.


Since its establishment by ASEAN Leaders in 2003, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) has been active in promoting public-private sector partnership and consultation to assist the integration of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2017. In its efforts to bridge ASEAN Governments with its private sectors, the Council launched the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) in 2007 to give recognition to enterprises that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN economy.

Join this year’s ASEAN Business Awards! Application Period: March 15 – June 30, 2017. For more information about ABA 2017, please visit www.aba2017.com

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ASEAN Business Awards: An Overview

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

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(UPDATED) The ASEAN Business Awards is fast approaching and to give an overview of what the awards are all about, we’ve prepared a primer encompassing the background and objectives.

1. Background

Since its establishment by ASEAN Leaders in 2003, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) has been active in promoting public-private sector partnership and consultation to assist the integration of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2017. In its efforts to bridge ASEAN Governments with its private sectors, the Council launched the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) in 2007 to give recognition to enterprises that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN economy.

ABA was conceived to be the first of its kind in the region, with the dual objectives of recognizing outstanding ASEAN enterprises, and to serve as a platform to spread information concerning the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). In addition, ABA also brings to the spotlight promising ASEAN small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have the potential of becoming global economic players.

A dedicated Working Group of ‘National Gateways’ consisting of ten ASEAN-BAC Members (one representative from each Member State) forms the foundation of ABA.  The roles of the National Gateways are to promote the event in their respective countries, as well as to select ‘National Judges’ who will be responsible in selecting the recipients of ABA.

Since it was first launched in 2007, ABA has recognised more than 100 companies throughout the region that excel in the categories of: Growth, Employment, Innovation and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). In 2015, however, ASEAN-BAC expanded the categories of ABA to include the Priority Integration Sectors (PIS) of ASEAN element, as well as recognising outstanding young entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs.

To ensure the high-quality and independency of such a prestigious event, ASEAN-BAC engages a Strategic Partner each year to administer the implementation of the ABA Framework; short listing nominations of companies; administering the Judges Meeting and assist in promoting the event throughout the ASEAN region.  This Terms of Reference (ToR) aims to briefly highlight the event’s objectives, categories and criteria, and tentative plan in carrying out ABA 2017.


2. Objectives

Aside from recognising outstanding ASEAN enterprises, ABA also has the objectives of serving as a platform to disseminate AEC-related information, as well as to bring to the spotlight SMEs that have the potential of becoming global economic players in their respective industries.


3. Categories

PRIORITY INTEGRATION SECTORS – EXCELLENCE AWARDS
Outstanding performance and presence in the ASEAN Economic Community Priority Integration Sectors. Includes the recognition of integration and connectivity between ASEAN business owned and operated by the applicant.

Subcategories: Agro-Based, Automotive, Retail, e-ASEAN, Electronics, Fisheries, Healthcare, Logistics, Rubber-based, Textiles, Tourism, and Wood-Based.

SME EXCELLENCE AWARDS
Outstanding performance and presence in the ASEAN Economic Community Priority Integration Sectors. Includes the recognition of integration and connectivity between ASEAN business owned and operated by the applicant.

Subcategories: Growth, Employment, Innovation, and CSR

SPECIAL AWARDS
Recognizes enterprises that have created massive social and economic impact in the ASEAN community.

Subcategory: Friend of ASEAN

WOMEN ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD
Outstanding business owner who has demonstrated significant success through leadership, market positioning and company performance.

YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR AWARD
Outstanding business owner below the age of 45 who has demonstrated significant success though leadership, market positioning and company performance.

INCLUSIVE BUSINESS AWARD
Outstanding business models that sustainably create social impact through the company’s core business operations.

LEGACY AWARD
The Legacy Award is for entrepreneurs who have passionately committed themselves to growth and excellence while significantly contributing positive impact to the ASEAN Community. These entrepreneurs set examples by standing the test of time, surpassing challenges, and inspiring others through their successes and triumphs.


4PROCEDURE FOR NOMINATIONS / SELECTIONS FOR ABA 2017

The nominations or selections for ABA 2017 can be made via one the following channels:

* Automatic nominations from national level ABAs;
* Application through national gateways; and
* Online applications, either through the website of ABIS or ASEAN-BAC

With regard to application to be made through national gateways, auditors in respective countries are expected to work with national gateways in determining the nominations or selections for ABA. In terms of online applications, appointed auditors’ office in Philippines will take the coordinating role to vet online applications. Auditors are also expected to formulate simple application process, preferably based on the standard of evaluation already accepted in ASEAN.

Application Period: March 15 – June 30, 2017. For more information about the ASEAN Business Awards 2017, please visit www.aba2017.com

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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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Be a partner for change and become a mentor for entrepreneurship in ASEAN! Visit www.aseanmentors.org and fill out the application form online.

ASEAN BAC Chairman Concepcion Establishes an Alliance Towards Prosperity

Saturday, May 13th, 2017
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion established the Alliance Towards Prosperity For All with various business chambers in the country.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion established the Alliance Towards Prosperity For All with various business chambers in the country.

After the successful Prosperity for All Summit, ASEAN Business Advisory Council Chairman and Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion started an alliance with the country’s business chambers to create programs in creating prosperity for the micro and small entrepreneurs.

The Alliance Towards Prosperity For All is a long-term private sector-led campaign at the national level to build a multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary alliance of organizations and individuals to pursue prosperity for all among ASEAN nations.

Members of this alliance are expected to participate in all upcoming ASEAN activities and help in the continuous campaign for infrastructure. They will also be part of the technical working committee which will develop a national platform for MSME development.

Go Negosyo, founded by Concepcion, will be the leading organization for this alliance in the Philippines. Go Negosyo has been in the forefront of entrepreneurship development since 2005. For the past 12 years, Go Negosyo has created a strong network of entrepreneurs and organizations from all industries helping micro and small entrepreneurs level up.

Aside from Go Negosyo, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Management Association of the Philippines, Makati Business Club, Financial Executives of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc., Philippine Franchising Association, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Bankers Association of the Philippines, and many more will join the alliance. 22 business chamber heads attended the initial meeting of the alliance and many pledged their support to this initiative.

Chairman Concepcion said, “Through this initiative, we are creating a sustained alliance to fight off poverty through empowering micro and small entrepreneurs.”

In addition, in order to create prosperity for all, the alliance aims to strengthen the 3Ms for micro and small entrepreneurs. 3Ms include Money, Market and Mentorship. Access to finance is one of the biggest problems of MSMEs. In order to sustain their businesses, microfinance institutions, grants and loans, and other government interventions must be accessible to them.

To help MSMEs scale up, they also need market linkages. Go Negosyo and several organizations promote inclusive business where large companies include micro and small entrepreneurs in their value chains. By linking MSMEs to corporations, they are given wider market access and a sustainable income.

Mentorship is widely implemented by Go Negosyo in partnership with Department of Trade and Industry through the nationwide-implemented Kapatid Mentor Me Program which is a weekly coaching and mentoring program for micro and small entrepreneurs.

ASEAN Business Advisory Council under the Philippines chairmanship also established the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) which will be a pool of entrepreneurs, mentors, and experts who will share their knowledge to micro entrepreneurs across the region. Members of the alliance will also be part of the AMEN program.

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.

ASEAN BAC Chair Calls for ASEAN Brotherhood to Achieve Prosperity in the Region

Friday, May 5th, 2017
ASEAN BAC Chair Joey Concepcion

ASEAN BAC Chair Joey Concepcion

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and current ASEAN Business Advisory Council Chairman Joey Concepcion led the hosting of the first Prosperity for All Summit. In his opening speech, Concepcion focused on relaying the essence and importance of creating prosperity for all.

After acknowledging the special attendees of the night such as Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Senators Miguel Zubiri and Bam Aquino, DTI Sec. Ramon Lopez amongst many others, Concepcion gave special recognition to his father Jose Concepcion Jr. as his personal mentor and inspiration.

Thus, setting the tone for the event, the speech of Concepcion had the core message of mentorship and its role as a key driver for inclusive growth. In a room full of the country’s, and even the region’s, most powerful businessmen and organizations, Concepcion heeded the group to action. He said that it was about time they consciously balance their needs with the needs of the micro, small, and medium enterprises.

The greatest form of mentorship is when big businesses begin to adopt inclusive business model. in a sense, they are mentoring small businesses by incorporating them into their value chains and helping them scale. Concepcion cited the examples of SM, Rustan’s and Robinsons as supermarkets who have been directly sourcing goods from farmers.

Lastly, Concepcion presented the ASEAN-BAC’s adoption of mentorship as its main deliverable of the year. They will launch the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network this year, and this will hopefully be the start of an ASEAN-wide network of skills and knowledge sharing.

Be a partner for change and become a mentor for entrepreneurship in ASEAN! Visit www.aseanmentors.org and fill out the application form online.

Singapore’s Douglas Foo on MSMEs & the Global Market

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
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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.

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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.