Archive for the ‘KAPATID: Angat Lahat’ Category

The biggest women negosyo summit!

Monday, March 12th, 2018
More than 15,000 participants attended the 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit held at the World Trade Center, Pasay City.

More than 15,000 participants attended the 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit held at the World Trade Center, Pasay City.

From one mentors’ conference to the biggest mentoring session, we are proud to share the success of the 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit. A record-breaking 15,000 participants attended the summit which aims to empower our Filipino women and the youth to venture into entrepreneurship. This is the biggest crowd we have had over the past 10 years of holding this special summit for Filipino women.

As early as 5:30 in the morning, we saw buses of students arriving, and soon the lines to the entrance were crazy. We saw eager participants hungry to learn from our speakers.

US Ambassador Sung Kim was among the first to arrive. He was stunned to see the large crowd inside the World Trade Center. Other ambassadors who attended include Amanda Gorely (Australia), Raszlan Bin Abdul Rashid (Malaysia), Win Naing (Myanmar), Kok Li Peng (Australia), Ly Quoc Tuan (Vietnam), John Holmes (Canada), Harald Fries (Sweden) and Igor Khovaev (Russia). All of them were amazed on what we do to empower women and the youth.

The keynote forum was star-studded with women entrepreneurs such as Tessie Sy-Coson, Vicki Belo and Natividad Cheng who all shared their stories of growth and success over the years. Lizzie Eder Zobel and Clarisse Delgado also shared their experience and how their social enterprise Teach for the Philippines aims to provide relevant and excellent education.

When our hosts Chal and Mike announced the name of Georgina Wilson and Anne Curtis, the students all shouted and cheered for the celebrity entrepreneurs. They shared how they started their own businesses out of their passion. Georgina related that for their first branch in SM Mall of Asia, she personally arranged their stocks on the shelves.

As for Anne, she appreciates her business partner and mentor Jacqe Gutierrez who has guided her through the whole process of setting up her own business, BLK Cosmetics. Micro entrepreneur Merle Paete also inspired many as she shared how she started her business with just P2,000 as capital. Now, her pili pulp oil is slowly gaining traction in the market. Even Vicki Belo revealed that she was once bullied in her younger years for her looks, that is why she made it a mission to make Filipinos beautiful.

But more than being the biggest women negosyo summit, we also had the biggest mentoring session through our first mentoring café, which had around 200 mentors who volunteered and tirelessly gave advice and business tips to the attendees in the audience. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., people lined up to get their chance to be advised by our mentors in different areas of entrepreneurship. In fact, some of the participants even brought their own products during the mentoring.

One of our mentors, Thelma Dumpit shared, “I mentored four from varied backgrounds. The first was a nurse who had inherited a lot from her father. The second was a manufacturer who wanted to expand her product lines. The third was a writer who needed help in getting published. And the fourth was from the academe, but has an existing farm she does not know how to run as a business. Quite an interesting lot!  More importantly, I realized I had a lot to share and they were all so grateful.”

The keynote forum featured Georgina Wilson, Merle Paete, Clarisse Delgado, Anne Curtis, Natividad Cheng, Tessie Sy-Coson, Lizzie Zobel and Vicki Belo. Joining them in the photo are PA Joey Concepcion, Filipina Summit co-chair Alice Eduardo and forum moderator Issa Litton.

The keynote forum featured Georgina Wilson, Merle Paete, Clarisse Delgado, Anne Curtis, Natividad Cheng, Tessie Sy-Coson, Lizzie Zobel and Vicki Belo. Joining them in the photo are PA Joey Concepcion, Filipina Summit co-chair Alice Eduardo and forum moderator Issa Litton.

Max Yap, another mentor shared, “A lot of people still wanted to come. Also some came from Bulacan and even the Visayas! They wanted more, they queued and wanted a one-on-one.”

One of the highlights of the summit was the awarding ceremony for this year’s Inspiring Filipina Awards, which was graced by no less than President Duterte himself. We awarded 20 Filipina awardees, including legacy awardees Dr. Lourdes Montinola and Helen Yuchengco-Dee, for their leadership in Far Eastern University and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., respectively.

When President Duterte saw the attendees, he was glad to see the number of people who attended. In his speech he said, “I thank Go Negosyo for its effort in providing opportunities for the country’s MSMEs, particularly for women entrepreneurship to expand and improve their business.” He added, “I assure everyone that in line with the theme of this year’s National Women’s Month celebration, government is supportive of the initiatives to make change work for women.”

President Duterte accommodated all photo requests with the awardees, our partners, ASEAN mentors, selected micro entrepreneurs, and all 105 student representatives.

In my speech, I said, “This administration is pushing for inclusive growth. We want everybody to have better lives. We want the rich to share their wealth to enable many micro and small entrepreneurs, and for them to become one of the next awardees someday. Us, the men in the government, with our President leading the way, will provide the right environment to make this economy robust, as a favorite destination for tourist to come, and as a favorite place for businessmen to invest.”

It was a successful 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit! I was amazed to see that we filled the three halls of World Trade Center. We thought the two halls would be enough for this year, but because of the interest of the people, we had to get all three the halls to accommodate everyone.

With this turnout, I look forward to more businesses managed and led by women who are passionate in what they do, persevering in achieving their goals, and fearless in facing challenges.

Thank you once again to all those who attended the summit!


Thursday, March 1st, 2018

PNIOT February 15 Photo 1
Today is March 1 and what a great way to celebrate International Women’s Month by recognizing women entrepreneurs who are the epitome of grace and leadership.

Together with our team led by Merly Cruz and Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar and the 2018 Inspiring Filipina Awards judges led by Marife Zamora (Convergys Philippines), Alice Eduardo (Sta. Elena Corp.), Nanette Medved-Po (Friends of Hope), Rosalind Wee (W Group) and deputy director Kristine Balmes (Philippine Commission on Women) they evaluated and reviewed more than 100 applications for the new batch of inspiring Filipina entrepreneurs.

I am proud to share with you this year’s Inspiring Filipina awardees!

Young entrepreneur Aya Fernandez turned her school science project into an eco-friendly social enterprise. Project Lily PH manufactures Eco-Uling which are charcoals made of water hyacinth, agri-forest wastes and coconut husks. Aya leads a manpower composed of disabled people and women in her community.

Women achieve greater things when they help each other. Jeannie Javelosa of Great-Women and ECHOstore is one of our awardees under the enabler category because of her efforts to provide greater market access to micro and small entrepreneurs for their artisan products. Another enabling women entrepreneur is Mica Tan of MFT Group of Companies. At a young age, Mica is considered as one of the pioneers in venture capital investments. Currently, MFT Group has investments in various industries such as pharmaceutical, financing, real estate, lifestyle products, and investments.

Even in the technology industry, women know their game. Kathleen Yu founded Rumarocket which uses machine algorithms to organize and synthesize data for hiring and talent management of many companies.

If you think the corporate world is still led by men, think of these women intrapreneurs who are leading large corporations. Marcelina Ace Itchon is the president and CEO of Aspen Philippines. She started her career as a promo representative of a pharmaceutical company. Today, she leads Aspen Philippines, a subsidiary of Aspen Pharmacare, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world.

Another intrapreneur awardee on our list is Flor Tarriela.  She has been in the banking and finance industry for more than 40 years. Currently, she chairs Philippine National Bank, one of the leading banks in the country. Apart from her corporate duties, Flor is also active in environment protection and agriculture. In fact, she has her own agricultural training center named Flor’s Garden.

We are also recognizing micro entrepreneurs who possess qualities of a positive and persevering entrepreneur. First on our micro category is Abdulia Austria who started her entrepreneurial journey with just P600. With that capital, she opened a small sari-sari store and engaged in direct selling. Eventually, she was able to purchase boats and open a small tourist inn named Uno Duz Tourist Inn.

Angelene Calungcaguin started baking cookies for her project “Make Peace Cookies” which is sold to relatives and friends to benefit their charity work in the orphanage and community in Payatas. In 2016, she founded The Make Peace Bakery which is a social enterprise that empowers youth through the art of baking.

From being a public school teacher, Lydia Codiñera decided to become an entrepreneur in 2009. Because of the need for clean water in her community, she formed a company called Samahang Tubig Maynilad which applied for a water meter from Maynilad. Because of her leadership, she was able to organize and facilitate the rationing of water in their area.

Edilee Omoyon of Milea Bee Farm started her business because of her son’s skin condition. She studied about organic products and soon, she started manufacturing products such as soaps, shampoos and balms made out of real honey sourced from their own bee farm.

With only P2,000, Merle Paete started her own pili processing company in 2000. She is one of the first in producing pili pulp oil with her Merle’s Pili and Native Products. Today, her annual sales is around P100,000 and has even helped her community with livelihood opportunities.

We are also recognizing women entrepreneurs in the small-medium category. First is Mary Grace Arboleda-Young, president of Cordillera Coffee. Because of her passion to introduce Cordillera’s art, culture, and coffee, she opened her own coffee business which transacts directly with farmers, cutting out the middlemen.

Olive Puentespina started experimenting with goat’s milk in 2005 which then led to the establishment of Malagos Farmhouse, leading maker of fine artisan cheeses in Davao. Today, Malagos Farmhouse cheeses are enjoyed in over 80 hotels, resorts, restaurants, and airlines in the country.

Rissa Mananquil-Trillo is a popular name in the beauty and fashion industry. In 2013, she co-founded Happy Skin which manufactures skin-friendly cosmetics fit for the Filipina beauty. In a short span of five years, it has garnered more than 50 beauty awards. Rissa was also recognized as Ernst and Young’s Woman Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017.

Warblitz Martinez is also one of this year’s awardees. Warblitz is the president of the Aqua Peace Farm which is a five-hectare aquasilviculture project with fishponds and farm-tourism facilities.

Another entrepreneur to be recognized is Armanda Battad. With her Amanda’s Marine Products, she produces dried fish products such as tinapa, and dilis. She now supplies Chowking, Goldilocks, and Cabalen.

It was in 2005 when Zarah Juan discovered the concept of reusable bags as a substitute for plastic bags. With the help of her husband, she opened Green Leaf bags which manufactures eco-friendly bags for supermarkets and department stores nationwide. Aside from this, she also provides livelihood to multiple communities such as the Bagobo women.

Edelyn Canero perfected the science of cooking nuts through her Edelyn’s Homemade Nuts. Eventually, she expanded her product line by producing savory snacks and delicacies of Pampanga. Today, she is helping 20 families in their neighborhood by asking them to peel garlic for the business.

Apart from these amazing women entrepreneurs, we are also recognizing the leadership and legacy of Dr. Lourdes Montinola and Helen Yuchengco-Dee.

Dr. Lourdes Montinola is the chairman emeritus of Far Eastern University, one of the leading universities in the country. She is also a multi-awarded and well-published author and educator and has been active in various civic, culture, and art engagements.

To complete our list of awardees, we have Helen Yuchengco-Dee who is the chairperson of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. She also chairs Malayan Insurance Company and many other related businesses.

On March 6, during the 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit, these women entrepreneurs will be awarded by no less than President Duterte and they will be honored for their dedication and leadership of their respective enterprises.

Strengthening partnerships

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018
PA Joey Concepcion (right) attends the 10th Biennial National Convention and 20th founding anniversary celebration of the Chinese Filipino Business Club Inc. Also in photo are Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, Filipino-Chinese General Chamber of Commerce Inc. president James Dy, Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. president Domingo Yap and presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo.

PA Joey Concepcion (right) attends the 10th Biennial National Convention and 20th founding anniversary celebration of the Chinese Filipino Business Club Inc. Also in photo are Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, Filipino-Chinese General Chamber of Commerce Inc. president James Dy, Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. president Domingo Yap and presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo.

Our President Duterte is keen on strengthening ties and partnerships with key stakeholders who can contribute to the country’s mission of development and growth. He has been in talks with various groups and representatives of different countries. I was also part of those engagements as a member of his official delegation in state visits and meetings.

Last Monday, I was invited to join the 10th Biennial National Convention and 20th founding anniversary of the Chinese Filipino Business Club Inc. (CFBCI) which is led by its president William Yap. The celebration was attended by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, China Ambassador Zhao Jianhua, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Sen. Cynthia Villar, and other Cabinet secretaries and government officials.

The gathering was made special with the attendance of President Duterte who thanked the Filipino-Chinese community for their “untiring toil to help the entire nation in the many catastrophes and crises faced in the past.”

A day after, my good friend and Go Negosyo advocate Rex Daryanani, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Inc. had their induction ceremony and oath taking of their new board of directors in Malacañang. It was actually the President who invited them and treated the whole organization to dinner after seeing their efforts in the country’s development.

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Philippines has represented the Indian business community since 1951 and has contributed to nation building ever since.

When we had the Christmas Townhall with the President in December 2016, where we launched the program Negosyo Para sa Kapayapaan sa Sulu, the Indian Chamber was one of the first to respond to the call to help Sulu in its socio-economic development. Because of Rex and their members, construction is underway on the very first Indian Chamber Kapatid Village located in the municipality of Pata, Sulu. Aside from this, they have also provided the seaweed fishermen of Sulu with fishing boats. A total of 110 fishing boats were given to various barangays.

Additionally, they have been supporting the people of Sulu through donations of toys and clothes and through medical missions conducted by the military.

The Board of Directors and members of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce Philippines, led by Rex Daryanani, together with President Duterte, Indian Ambassador Jaideep Mazumdar and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

The Board of Directors and members of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce Philippines, led by Rex Daryanani, together with President Duterte, Indian Ambassador Jaideep Mazumdar and Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.

When Marawi was under siege, Go Negosyo called for the support of Kapatid brothers to help displaced Maranao brothers and sisters. Their chamber was again first in the list of supporters and donors. They sent a 40-foot container van of relief goods and basic needs of evacuees. They also partnered with two schools in Manila to write letters for kids in Marawi. The letters were full of encouragement, hope, love and prayers, wishes that all would end well.

Indians are one of the most charitable people I know. Rex and his chamber have always been a partner of Go Negosyo for its humanitarian efforts and MSME development programs. They also have one of the largest delegation who attended our ASEAN activities last year. And for that, I am always grateful for their support.

I am honored to have been given the Padma Shri Award from the Indian Chamber. As Rex mentioned in his speech last Tuesday, the award “seeks to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.”

To end his speech, Rex assured the President that the Indian Chamber is a partner in nation building. President Duterte appreciates the support from the Filipino-Indian community.

President Duterte shared that when he recently went to India and met with Indian President Narendra Modi, they mutually agreed to treat their citizens equally, protect each other and govern with the same compassion.

This is the kind of relationships that we need as our country continues to progress. With the support of different nations and stakeholders, we will all achieve prosperity for all.

Empower women, empower Philippines

Thursday, February 15th, 2018
PLDT and Smart chief revenue officer and ePLDT president and CEO Eric Alberto, PLDT Chairman Manny Pangilinan, and presidential adviser for entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion. Read more at

PLDT and Smart chief revenue officer and ePLDT president and CEO Eric Alberto, PLDT Chairman Manny Pangilinan, and presidential adviser for entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion.

Yesterday was Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent and yearly, our family attends mass. While it is a sacred day for Catholics, it is also Valentine’s Day for everyone. I think it’s the only day in a year where I see many people wearing red, carrying flowers, or buying chocolates.

I think Valentine’s Day is one of the most celebrated days for women. Maybe because women are more into romantic things. But they do deserve all the love and affection that we can give. Most especially our wives, mothers, sisters and daughters.

In expressing our appreciation and love for them, we should also empower and support them as they pursue their goals and reach their dreams. As a father, I will always give 100 percent support to my daughters as they build their careers and enterprises. I will guide them, nurture them and encourage them all throughout.

Today, most of the micro, small and medium enterprises are run by women. These enterprises are born out of their passion, their desire to step up, or their goal to help others. When women pour their hearts out to what they do, they create wonderful things.

Look at how women run different industries such as retail, fashion, beauty, technology, agriculture, manufacturing, business processing and even in male-dominated fields such as construction, electronics and automotive. One example of a passionate woman entrepreneur is Alice Eduardo, president and CEO of Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corp. Known as a woman of steel, she led her company to great heights because of her drive and hard work.

PNIOT February 15 Photo 1

Another inspiring Filipina entrepreneur is Marife Zamora who is on top of her game in the BPO industry as she leads Convergys Philippines as country chair.

This is why even at a young age, we must empower our daughters to be goal-driven, determined and confident. When we empower our women, we empower the Philippines.

Go Negosyo will recognize a new batch of empowered women entrepreneurs in this year’s Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Awards. The awarding ceremony will be part of the 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit.

This coming March 6, we are hosting the 10th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit. This is our annual celebration of successful women entrepreneurs. Our goal is to reinforce the entrepreneurial spirit in them and recognize their capacities to be contributors of change and progress not just in our country, but also globally. This summit will highlight stories of inspiring women and how they have led their enterprises to its success today. This will be the biggest negosyo seminar dedicated for women!

Aside from being the biggest negosyo seminar, we will have the biggest one-on-one mentoring session on site. We have invited more than 150 mentors and experts who can share business tips and advice to the aspiring, micro and small entrepreneurs in attendance.

One of the highlights of the summit is the awarding of women entrepreneurs from different industries who have embodied the characteristics of an inspiring Filipina: passionate, positive and panalo (“can do”) attitude. These women are exemplary at what they do and how their businesses contribute to national development.

Yearly, we invite more than 50 speakers and panelists who can also share their insights, models and trends in the business. I will share with you the confirmed speakers next week. We look forward to a large crowd because yearly, we average around 7,000 participants. I am sure there will be more women attending.

For interested participants, you can still register at

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We have launched another development in the MSME community. Last Monday, Feb. 12, Go Negosyo, together with PLDT and Voyager, launched an SME e-commerce enablement program. This partnership aims to “boost the e-commerce readiness of MSMEs through a program that covers all aspects needed to participate in a digital marketplace.”

Through our partnership, we are extending a stronger support to the Department of Trade and Industry which aims to equip 100,000 MSMEs with digital solutions by 2020. Together with PLDT and Voyager, we are also strengthening the 3Ms: mentorship, money and market by providing business trainings, wider market reach and access to funds and capital.

Because of the digital business solutions and platforms being provided by PLDT and Voyager, we are allowing more MSMEs to grow and scale up. Some of the business solutions and platforms include Takatack, the online marketplace of Voyager, and Lendr, which is a digital lending platform where MSMEs can apply and process various loans.

As Mitch Locsin, PLDT FVP and head of SME Business, have said during the launch, this does not only empower the entrepreneurs by being present online, this also gives them the convenience of going digital and maximizing their potential to grow by fulfilling transactions through the digital solutions.

I believe digital technology is indeed a game changer for MSMEs. It provides them the opportunity to grow online and offline. The digital space will definitely enable them to take better control of their growth and prosperity.

Digital economy is key to inclusivity

Thursday, February 8th, 2018
Joining ASEAN BAC Philippines chairman Joey Concepcion are (from left) Marcus Wallenberg, chairman of SEB, SAAB Group and Foundation Asset Management; Y. Bhg. Tan Sri Datum Wira Azman Hj. Mokhtar, managing director of Khazanah Nasional; Mikael Damberg, minister for enterprise and innovation of Sweden; and Dr. Vu Tien Loc, chairman of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Joining ASEAN BAC Philippines chairman Joey Concepcion are (from left) Marcus Wallenberg, chairman of SEB, SAAB Group and Foundation Asset Management; Y. Bhg. Tan Sri Datum Wira Azman Hj. Mokhtar, managing director of Khazanah Nasional; Mikael Damberg, minister for enterprise and innovation of Sweden; and Dr. Vu Tien Loc, chairman of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Every time I am invited to speak in conferences, I always make sure to share the vision that we have for our country. Part of it is sharing the realities of the Philippines’ situation today.

Just last Tuesday, I was honored to be part of the Sweden-Southeast Asia Business Summit held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The conference gathered more than 600 Swedish companies composed of small to large sized enterprises which are present in Southeast Asia. The summit provided a platform for Sweden and ASEAN countries to discuss and share relevant business information and opportunities.

During my talk, I shared how poverty, still one of biggest problems worldwide, has affected growth and progress in many countries, including the Philippines. In fact, in the 10 ASEAN-member countries, at least half of it is considered experiencing poverty.

Poverty, unless solved, creates a lot of complications. In our country, admittedly, our drug problem is so massive that it has hampered a lot of civilians. Many families have been destroyed because of drug addiction. And until now, it is still an ongoing process for our government to reduce, and hopefully, totally eliminate drug abuse.

Poverty, if not addressed, creates insurgencies. In some areas of the Philippines, insurgencies are still present like what recently happened in Marawi. Although very small, it poses a great threat moving forward.

As we look around the world today, poverty causes all of these issues. But poverty is a two-pronged sword. For some it is a problem, but for others, it is the greatest motivator to succeed in life. It is what pushes a person to strive and do his best.

Look at China, once upon a time, they were a struggling economy, but today, they are one of the greatest economies. The Philippines is somehow headed to that direction. Our poverty, in fact, has led to more entrepreneurs.

Today, as I serve the government by helping President Duterte, I believe that the key to a prosperous country is inclusivity.

One of our strengths is our labor sector. We are one of the largest exporters of people in the world. Additionally, next to India, we are the largest in the BPO industry. Poverty motivated them to go into these sectors and strive for a better life. The sacrifices of our OFWs have provided their families and their children with a better chance to move up in life. Because like China, we can use our labor force as a competitive advantage and eventually, even with poverty, our nation can change.

Although we had a fantastic economy during the previous administration, many Filipinos believe that they were not part of the growing economy. So when President Duterte run for the presidency, many people from the bottom of the pyramid looked up to him as someone who would address their concerns and help them scale up. Yes, he is unique. He is the strong handed leader that we need at this time. And since we are more than 100 million already, we need a stronger leadership that will implement discipline.

This is why I strongly promote prosperity for all. If we are to go through the numbers, only 0.4 percent of the business community, composed of large businesses control the country. In fact, to some extent, conglomerates control the destiny of 99.6 percent of MSMEs. Brick and mortar businesses have to pass through supply chains, malls and shopping centers. And we dictate who should be in their market and who should not be. That is the kind of control that we, big businesses have.

But that landscape is changing. Today, with the onset of the digital economy, it liberated MSMEs in this kind of traditional set-up. Through the 3Ms (Money, Market and Mentorship) which I have been advocating, it provides a formula on how we can help MSMEs. Of course, mentorship provides a pathway for MSMEs to be successful. To complete their road to success, it must be coupled with the access to market and money.

We have digital marketplaces such as Lazada, Shopee, Amazon and Alibaba, which allows MSMEs to bypass traditional market and reach a wider market. Digital payment solutions and funding are also being developed for MSMEs.

Digital economy has paved the way for everyone, most especially MSMEs, to play with large corporations. It is the game changer which gives MSMEs a greater chance to succeed. Rich economies, large companies, and privileged people must embrace inclusivity and help those who are at the bottom of the pyramid.

With these kinds of collaboration, we are creating better relationships through trust. And when trust is evident, we are on our way to a greater community.

Adapting to E-commerce

Friday, February 2nd, 2018

Shoe brand PayLess closed 20 percent of its 4,000 stores last year. Giant clothing brand H&M has announced that they will be closing more stores this year because their stores “were negatively affected by a continued challenging market situation with reduced footfall to stores due to the ongoing shift in the industry.” It was also recently published that toy store Toys R Us is planning to shut down 180 stores across the US due to bankruptcy.

These are just some of the retail brands which closed their physical stores due to the rising competition against online stores. More and more consumers now prefer going online instead of driving to the stores, manually looking for styles and sizes, and falling in line for the cashier.

While brick-and-mortar businesses, or commonly called as “offline businesses,” brings a sense of trust and professionalism due to the presence of their physical stores and actually evaluating the product, it adds additional cost in maintaining their facilities or human resources.

This is the current dilemma of many brick-and-mortar businesses – the upsurge of online businesses.

What is so great about going digital anyway?

Many entrepreneurs today start their businesses in digital platforms such as Amazon, Alibaba, Lazada or Shoppee. In fact, I was told that some micro retail entrepreneurs even use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram as their tool to reach their market. You just have to post a photo, indicate the specifics of the product, and wait for interested customers to purchase a product.

With just a click of a button, one can now reach a wider market through these online platforms. E-commerce has been in demand for the past years because of its visibility to consumers not just locally but globally. With the access to the internet, everyone can see your products and read about your services online. There are actually many things that are on sale online including electronic copies of books and music. I remember buying some of the books I read when e-commerce was just starting.

E-commerce has opened a channel for fast and convenient shopping. Shoppers can browse for various items from different brands and upon check out, they can pay for all the items in one billing. E-commerce also extended the usual store hours. Consumers are no longer confined to the opening and closing hours in order to make a purchase. They can buy products anytime, anywhere.

And because of the emergence of these online platforms, digital payment schemes have been developed to ease the payment process. Aside from credit cards, mobile payment solutions like GCash and PayMaya were also developed. Since many Filipinos still do not have bank accounts, these payment scheme can easily support online transactions. Cashless payments are empowering consumers and strengthening their buying powers online.

More and more companies and banks are introducing digital processes into their systems. FINTQ, the financial technology arm of PLDT and Smart’s Voyager Innovations recently launched the program KasamaKa in partnership with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to promote greater access to finance in the Philippines. Globe Telecom also has its subsidiary called Globe Fintech Innovations Inc. (Mynt) which plans to accelerate financial inclusion and provide payment services. Mynt operates GCash.

Because of these advantages, more companies are exploring ways to bring their businesses online. Although I believe that while there is a growing market online, there are still consumers who prefer touch and feel experience of buying an item. Therefore, the merging of brick-and-mortar and e-commerce can solidify the business. For example, retail companies can retain their shops while maintaining a website for online purchases. This union can be called brick-and-click model. One good example is H&M which recently partnered with an Alibaba company called Tmall which is a Chinese e-commerce platform.

E-commerce can better help MSMEs reach their success in the future. Although many would think that e-commerce is a threat for brick-and-mortar, I believe that it is more of a great opportunity for MSMEs to grow faster. Let’s take for an example the model of Grab and Uber which are both ride-sharing mobile application services. Through their model, many drivers today can be considered micro-entrepreneurs. Zennya, another mobile application, connected qualified masseuses or therapists to customers.

These digital platforms have indeed changed the landscape of doing business. In fact, my youngest daughter Isabella continues to sell some of her old books and items in Shoppee.

As ASEAN Business Advisory Council Singapore assumes chairmanship this year, we expect a deeper focus on digital commerce and technology. And in order to keep up with the changing trends, we are retooling our mentors for them to be aware of the great opportunities of these trends.

We are not saying that traditional businesses should close down their shops and go full online. Instead, online can complement their offline strategies. Yes, online will really affect offline thus they have to adapt to it in order to benefit from it.

Passing the baton

Thursday, January 25th, 2018
New ASEAN BAC chairman Dr. Robert Yap with former ASEAN BAC chair Joey Concepcion

New ASEAN BAC chairman Dr. Robert Yap with former ASEAN BAC chair Joey Concepcion

Last year was a highlight year for MSME development as it was at the front and center of the ASEAN chairmanship of the Philippines. Both the government and the private sector, most especially the ASEAN Business Advisory Council, focused on programs that would equip our micro and small entrepreneurs and contribute to the ultimate goal of prosperity for all.

While it was a successful 50th anniversary chairmanship, we still need to pass the baton to the next country, Singapore, which will chair this year’s ASEAN. Singapore is known for its innovative, competitive and dynamic economy which has helped the country rise and become one of the leading economies in Southeast Asia.

Last week, I officially turned over the chairmanship to Dr. Robert Yap, executive chairman of logistics company YCH Group and now the current chairman of ASEAN BAC.

During the ASEAN Outlook Conference organized by the Singapore Business Federation and ASEAN BAC Singapore, together with co-council members Arin Jira (ASEAN BAC Thailand), Oudet Souvannavong (ASEAN BAC Lao PDR), and Nick Nash (SEA Limited), Robert and I shared our insights on trends and opportunities in the ASEAN market. It was the first event they organized for their chairmanship and it was even graced by their senior minister of State Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of National Development, Dr. Koh Poh Koon.

Following the discussion was a networking night where I ceremonially handed the ASEAN BAC flag to Robert. The ceremony was attended by Singapore’s Minister of Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang.

Just like how Go Negosyo acted as the secretariat of the Philippines’ council, the Singapore Business Federation will be their council’s secretariat and will organize seminars, conferences and trade shows for ASEAN government leaders and businessmen.

In photo are moderator Tay Woon Teck (RSM Singapore) with Dr. Robert Yap (ASEAN BAC Singapore), Joey Concepcion (ASEAN BAC Philippines), Arin Jira (ASEAN BAC Thailand), Oudet Souvannavong (ASEAN BAC Lao PDR and Nick Nash (SEA Limited).

In photo are moderator Tay Woon Teck (RSM Singapore) with Dr. Robert Yap (ASEAN BAC Singapore), Joey Concepcion (ASEAN BAC Philippines), Arin Jira (ASEAN BAC Thailand), Oudet Souvannavong (ASEAN BAC Lao PDR and Nick Nash (SEA Limited).

In his speech, ASEAN BAC 2018 chairman Dr. Robert Yap focused on the impact of technology in the business landscape of ASEAN.

“Technology is fast disrupting the business landscape globally. ASEAN is not spared from the impact of the new technology and new business models which have been disrupting many traditional businesses,” Dr. Yap said. After mentioning technology companies in ASEAN such as SEA, Grab, GoJek and Tokopedia, he added, “They are excellent examples to prove that the digitalization wave is already in ASEAN and businesses would have to look at how to adopt, adapt and advance.”

As we all know, Singapore is one of the countries who has expertise in technology and digitalization. By focusing on this area, we can better create market linkages and facilities for our micro and small entrepreneurs. The traditional businesses, or the brick and mortar type of business models, are slowly being influenced to go digital so they will be able to cope with the changing market.

More and more companies incorporate digital solutions to improve their business processes. Just like how we are now leaning towards cashless transactions through digital payment solutions such as PayMaya or GCash, or by providing online platforms for MSMEs like Shopee or Lazada.

If we can create more digital business models and business solutions which our micro and small entrepreneurs can benefit from, we open them to endless possibilities and more opportunities. We improve their models, making them ready for ASEAN competition.

Together with the whole ASEAN BAC Philippines, we pledge our support to the chairmanship of Singapore. They have been a great partner during our time.

We look forward to how ASEAN BAC Singapore will host the ASEAN Business Awards and ASEAN Business and Investment Summit!

Persevering Women Entrepreneurs

Thursday, January 18th, 2018
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion with 15th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards National Winner Merle Paete and Fr. Jovic Lobrigo of Microfinance Council of the Philippines.

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion with 15th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards National Winner Merle Paete and Fr. Jovic Lobrigo of Microfinance Council of the Philippines.

For the past years, I am honored to be part of many awarding ceremonies recognizing entrepreneurs from various sectors. One of which is the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards presented by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Citi Foundation, Citi Philippines, and Microfinance Council of the Philippines Inc. I have been part of their National Selection Committee for many years already and I am glad that they have reached a milestone of 15 years of awarding outstanding micro entrepreneurs in the country.

Last year, they have searched for micro entrepreneurs who through the help of microfinance institutions and rural banks have scaled up to where they are today. Year by year, I am impressed and inspired by their perseverance and will to succeed. Indeed, with an enterprising mindset, an individual will succeed. But one thing I noticed as well in this search is that the majority of the nominees are women. If I remember correctly, the recent past winners are also women.

This year, the national winner is another Filipina entrepreneur. She is Merle Paete who is a manufacturer of pili nuts and its by-products. Merle, who hails from Sorsogon City, started her entrepreneurial journey as a sari-sari store owner in 2002. She soon expanded in the business of buying and selling pili nuts and women mats which she learned from her father.

Soon, she discovered another by-product of pili which is pili oil or locally known as lana. This oil is extracted from the pulp of the pili nuts and is used to improve skin conditions, regulate cholesterol levels and help in weight loss. She then bought additional three-hectare land to grow pili trees.

In her speech, she said, “Sa mga barangay sa malalayong isla man or mauunlad na siyudad sa Pilipinas, maraming nanay ang nagpupunyagi araw-araw upang makatulong sa asawa, magkaroon ng dagdag na kita at mapagtapos ang mga anak. “

She also shared that she is thinking of ways on how she can further help her community most especially the women whose main source of livelihood is also in pili nuts. To her, she is blessed to have the ability to help fellow entrepreneurs in her community. And with the livelihood that she is sharing, the mothers no longer worry about having food on their table or sending their kids to school.

This is one of the great characteristics of women entrepreneurs – their willingness to share and help other women earn a living.  According to DTI’s Sex Disaggregated Data 2016, 53% of the 579,794 registered MSMEs are led by women.

This is why we aim to empower women entrepreneurs.

On March 6, in line with the celebration of the National Women’s Month, we will once again host our annual Filipina Entrepreneurs Summit. This will be the 10th year of reinforcing the entrepreneurial spirit of Filipinas and recognizing them in their capacity to be agents of change and progress. Every year, we present successful Filipina entrepreneurs who can provide inspiration and support by sharing their stories of triumphs and struggles to fellow aspiring, start-up and micro and small entrepreneurs. As it is a milestone year for Go Negosyo and the Filipina Summit, we promise that this is the biggest women event of the year.

While many stories have been shared for the past years, there are a lot of inspiring entrepreneurial stories waiting to be told. Additionally, we are recognizing another batch of inspiring women entrepreneurs from different industries for being role models because of their passion and dedication in their crafts. The Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Awards is an annual recognition of Filipina entrepreneurs who have taken the leadership role in their respective enterprises and led it to its growth and prosperity.

The search is on for the next Go Negosyo Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur 2018!

The search is on for the next Go Negosyo Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur 2018!

The Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Awards is now accepting nominations and applications for this year’s search. An inspiring Filipina may or may not have come from humble beginnings but must embody the following characteristics: Passionate, Positive, and Inspiring. She must also have an innovative business model and must have the ability to care for her community through livelihood projects and entrepreneurship advocacy.

For interested applicants, you may visit the Go Negosyo website, or email us at

We hope that you can join us once again as we celebrate the successes of Filipina entrepreneurs!

Entreps and Enablers Wish for Better 2018

Thursday, January 11th, 2018

Last week, I have shared with you my wish for this year and that is for the continuous partnership of the private sector and the government in pushing for prosperity for all. I know that it has been the mission of mine for the past year and I am continuing the pursuit of this goal.

Here are some more wishes from our business chamber allies and entrepreneurs:

I wish for the early signing into law of the other packages of the Duterte’s tax reform program for the reduction and simplification of corporate income tax, rationalization of incentives and deepening of the capital markets to promote economic growth. – Benedicta Baladad, FINEX

I wish for peace and order throughout the country so the march to prosperity for all can continue its momentum. – Ebb Hinchcliffe, AMCHAM

We wish that the great work towards inclusive growth and poverty alleviation that we started in 2017 is sustained in full gear with the alliance that has been formed by the different private sector groups and the government. We wish that 2018 becomes a banner year for all Filipinos to come together and help lift all those suffering from the chains of poverty to break free all together as one nation and one people. – Rex Daryanani, FICCI

My wish is for all sectors of society to set aside self interest and collectively work to grow our economy and reduce poverty. – Edgar Chua, MBC

Peace, prosperity and optimism for all of us and for our country. – Nestor Tan, BAP

I pray for a stronger electronics industry to support our governments continued inclusive growth through developing SMEs for the electronics supply chain, and working with government to gain investor confidence and increase FDIs. – Dan Lachica, SEIPI

I wish for the business community to continue unite for inclusive business and other initiatives that can significantly address our nagging problems of poverty, inequality and corruption. – Peter Perfecto, MBC

For so many years I have been very disappointed with the superficial way the government has been addressing the development of MSMEs. However, there are indications that the incumbent government is finally going to walk the talk. I wish this will continue and can be sustained. – Serge Ortiz Luis, PCCI

I wish that more of our countrymen will have more access to capital so that they can pursue their dream to improve their businesses. – Tony Pasia, RBAP

May opportunities be abundant for businesses to flourish such that an improved economy will help create more jobs and redound to better lives for our people. – Melanie Ng, Cebu Chamber of Commerce

My goal for 2018 is to help make the Philippines more globally competitive, to improve our ease of doing business, to aggressively introduce more government online processes, and to make the government permits and licensing process more customer-friendly! – Bill Luz, National Competitiveness Council

I wish that our country will continue to have a good & strong economy. also wishing to have peace & political stability! – Paul Rodriguez, Asian Marine Transport Corporation

I wish many more people will make an effort to buy sustainably. Buy local as much as you can. Drink and eat local to save on carbon footprint. And try to grow your own food or support small producers. – Pacita Juan, ECHOstore

May it be the year when a greater orbit will be reached in demonstrating that the Philippine Human Capital, when feted against the world’s best, can succeed in establishing the foundation for a truly inclusive, just, prosperous, well governed and disciplined society. – Ramon Segismundo, People Management Association of the Philippines

For the country I pray for violence to stop and peace to reign. – Joel Santos, Entrepreneurs School of Asia

Smooth and peaceful year 2018.  – Chris Chilip, TyreMart

I pray that 2018 will be filled with endless possibilities, opportunities and trailblazing chances to give, share and love! May the KMME program of PCE & DTI continue to enhance the capabilities of our MSMEs and attain our battle cry of “Prosperity for All!” – Mary Ann Montemayor, Villa Margarita

2018 – the year the Pinoys stop saying I WISH to saying I WILL! Empower the Pinoy! – Benjamin Castillo, BAP

My wish for 2018 is for DA or BAI to make public all Poultry and Swine growers so that those with State-of-the-art Technology can reach out and pitch their relevance to ensure safe meats for consuming public. – Wilfred Gui, GUIFTS

For the country- more jobs and successful entrepinoys. – Christine Bersola-Babao

I wish for the following: (1) Infrastructure projects under Build, Build, Build Program are delivered according to specifications, within budget, and on schedule; (2) Go Negosyo receives continued support so Joey can achieve his vision for the SME sector to create more employment and reduce poverty; (3) That the government will be able to better anticipate the disruptions caused by digital revolution and devote more budget to human resource development; and (4) Lower Corporate income tax – Renato de Guzman

I wish and pray that in 2018, the Philippines will finally live up to its potential and become the tiger economy that it was always meant to be and may all this come to fruition because of the great and awesome entrepreneurial spirit that we all have. – Eric Yu, Cloudfone

Real Peace. Growth of Small Business. Good Governance. Mass Transit. – James Bernas

First, more MSME-friendly and inclusive business policies and regulations and the development support for innovative businesses and industries promoting science- and technology-driven enterprises for ASEAN and global MSMEs competitiveness. – Glenn Baticados, UP Los Baños Center for Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship

I wish to be able to see OPM flood the radio and TV stations the way Japan. China, Korea and Indonesia have done to propagate their music industry. – Angeli Valenciano, Manila Genesis Entertainment and Management Inc.


To celebrate the success of women entrepreneurs, Go Negosyo will once again identify Filipina entrepreneurs who have embodied a passionate, positive and inspiring character in leading their respective enterprises to its growth and prosperity. The Go Negosyo Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Awards will take place on the 10th Go Negosyo Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit 2018!

I invite you to nominate Filipina entrepreneurs who you think should be recognized as one of Go Negosyo’s Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur!

You may download the forms from the Go Negosyo website ( and kindly submit it to

IFE 2018 Nominations

The search is on for the next Go Negosyo Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur 2018! For more info, visit the Go Negosyo website,

Wishing for Prosperity this 2018

Thursday, January 4th, 2018
Dennis Uy, Robina Gokongwei-Pe, Bernie Liu and William Belo.

Dennis Uy, Robina Gokongwei-Pe, Bernie Liu and William Belo.

Happy new year to all the Go Negosyo advocates, mentors, sponsors and supporters who are also part of the ecosystem of mentorship, money and market.  For sure, we all have our wishes or New Year’s resolutions which we repeatedly prepare year after year. Some wish for their health, for their business, and for luck in general. But for me, my only wish for 2018 is to continue to pushing the entire ecosystem of enablers of both the government and the private sector in creating prosperity for all.

Let me share with you the wishes of our entrepreneurs and enablers:

“I just wish for our country to be peaceful, progressive, and free of calamities.” – Dennis Uy, Udenna Corporation

“My wish is that each and every one of us strives for true unity as a nation. I believe that it is only when we are truly united that we can have the peace needed to fully harness our collective efforts to further uplift our country, its economy, and, in so doing, the life of every Filipino.” – Santi Araneta, LBC Corporation

“My wish for 2018 is for the Philippines to continue its growth momentum and for our country to continue to be the rising star of economic success not only in Asia but the World. I also hope 2018 will see more Government and private sector partnership to achieve our common goals of improving the lives of Filipinos, both here and abroad.” – Kevin Tan, Megaworld Corporation

“Since I spend 4 hours a day going to work and back, I hope the traffic problem will have lasting solutions.” – Rene Almendras, Ayala Corporation

“There is a correlation between the business success and that of the country’s. So therefore I wish our government success in all their undertakings particularly on infrastructure so that our business can grow and our country grows better. However, I wish the opposite on my personal matter. I wish my growing husband will reduce, go to the gym and see his doctor!” – Robina Gokongwei-Pe, Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc.

“My wish this year is for every Filipino to be financially literate and empowered so that everyone can live a better life. Education is a key tool to achieve that so I hope that those in power can focus on it. I also hope that this year, the Philippines will enjoy continued growth, especially in the tourism and tech industries where there are plenty of opportunities. Lastly, as a staunch supporter of sports, I wish to get our sports association in order – particularly, get the issues in the Philippine Tennis settled – and achieve more sports honors for the country.” – Jean Henri Lhuillier, PJ Lhuillier Group of Companies

“I have lots of wishes but if I were to say one, it would be more partnerships between the government and the private sector to maximize each other’s strengths and give the public what they truly deserve. We have a government that is serious in delivering to the public a better life so let the private sector do their part.” – Sabin Aboitiz, Aboitiz Equity Group

“My wish for 2018 is for the private citizens should be more involved in helping the less fortunate to minimize the poverty level of the country. Provide more opportunities for better education for the youth. The future of the country needs better prepared and educated young people.” – William Belo, Wilcon Depot

“Looking to 2018 with hope that MSMEs will be greatly assisted in the ease of doing business and provided financial resources and mentoring in management & skills training. All of the above are key advocacies of PRRD government. Let’s look forward to the start of major infrastructure projects and that these will be implemented judiciously and in a timely manner. Many countries are interested in investing here. It’s important that both executive & legislative branches of the government work in tandem to make our nation more attractive to FDI to provide jobs opportunity. I hope that partnership among the business community, government & labor sectors will promote mutual trust & support to bring about inclusive economic developments across a broad spectrum: agri/aqua, manufacturing, tourism & services. And lastly, let’s pray for less natural calamities and for peace and order to prevail in the country.” – George Barcelon, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry

“May the new year usher us a fresh sense of unity and cooperation among our people, together we can make our country the envy of other nations, be it in agriculture, tourism, education and happiness index.  Thanks to the resiliency of our people, we believe we can do it.” – Henry Lim Bon Liong, SL Agritech Corporation

May 2018 be a year of better opportunities for micro entrepreneurs brought about by a concerted effort by the private and public sectors to effect inclusive growth.” – Dr. Jaime Alip, CARD-MRI

I pray for lasting peace in our country and the revitalization of our nation especially in devastated areas.  I also wish for enduring prosperity for all.” – Bernie Liu, Golden ABC Corporation

To have every Filipino realize one’s dreams to be more and to get more out of life with Hyundai as the brand of choice– kasama mo sa biyahe ng buhay.” – Fe Agudo, Hyundai Asia Resources Inc.

I wish our country could one day have a large, educated and empowered middle class; where high quality healthcare, education, decent transportation, shelter, and basic security are accessible to all Filipino citizens; where women feel safe and are equal to men; where artists, entrepreneurs, inventors, innovators, and farmers can all thrive economically; a society with good governance that respects and embraces differences. I hope that 2018 will be a year of meaningful and robust progress towards attaining these basic goals.” – Donnie Tantoco, Rustan’s Supercenters Inc.

I wish for a more peaceful year for our nation especially in Mindanao and that the country unites in rebuilding Marawi and other calamity-stricken provinces. I wish for a better life for everyone especially for the marginalized. I hope we continue to see more developments in infrastructure and mass transport systems to lessen our traffic problems and to provide convenience to our commuters. In our business, we wish to serve our customers better. We wish to put in more resources for our people and facilities to provide the best customer experience.” – Felix Ang, CATS Motors Inc.

2017 was a good year for our family. We can’t ask for more for 2018. My only wish is for God to bless our country and our leaders. Spare us from natural disasters and calamities.” – Rosalind Wee, W Group

These are just some of the many wishes of our entrepreneurs. I will be sharing more in my other columns.