Archive for the ‘KAPATID: Angat Lahat’ Category

Discussions over pandesal

Thursday, December 14th, 2017
Wilson Lee Flores with presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion

Wilson Lee Flores with presidential adviser for entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion

Last Tuesday, I was invited by Wilson Lee Flores to be their guest for his Pandesal Forum, a breakfast chat with our media friends. Aside from being a columnist, Wilson is also an entrepreneur. He bought the Kamuning Bakery Café which first opened in the 1930s. It was my first time to be there and I was amazed how they still offer pugon-baked breads and pastries.

During the discussion, various topics and issues were raised. First on the discussion list is the tax reform program which might be signed before the end of the year. I believe that the tax reform is a must in order to process the build, build, build projects of the government. If we are to compare the Philippines to a corporation, we can consider the taxes as equity from its shareholders which are the Filipinos. The government aims to create right infrastructure programs in our country, so if we look at it in a long term basis, these taxes will aid the programs we want to be implemented.

But more than this, I believe that micro, small, and medium enterprise development is crucial in creating a more progressive country. I shared with them what we have been doing in Go Negosyo. We are pushing for the 3Ms which are Mentorship, Money and Market. For a country like the Philippines which is an archipelago, market access is indeed a challenge. But if we pursue infrastructure programs, the linkage between regions will be easier and people can have more access to various markets. I also think that the technology changes will aide their growth. It might be a threat to the brick and mortar businesses but we are all going digital. So I believe that even the traditional businesses must inject technological advances in order to have efficient business processes.

For mentorship, we have always been proud to say that we have mentored thousands of mentees under the mentorship program that we are doing with Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Agriculture. Our Kapatid Mentor ME program has trained more than 2,000 mentees this year while our Kapatid Agri Mentor Me has equipped 358 cooperatives led by their chairmen and finance officers. We are teaching these farm cooperatives so they can better manage their systems.

To complete the 3Ms, we are also giving importance to possible financing programs to be implemented. We have talked to big banks, rural banks, and even the micro-finance institutions to discuss programs which can help our MSMEs.

The discussion was then led to the private-public partnership programs. I have always been supportive of the PPP. There are certain projects that only the government can manage but there are projects where the private sector can co-manage. Our large companies and conglomerates are all willing to be of assistance to the development programs of the government. Let’s look forward to the projects that they will be doing in the coming years. Our airports are important and will therefore be of focus in the coming years. With the private sector as a partner, the continuity of projects is assured.

When asked about the best advice for entrepreneurs in 2018, I told them that entrepreneurs must be optimistic. If they are easily affected and swayed by the problems and national issues, then their outlook will be negative. They should also have creativity and innovation and must not just copy what is in demand in the industry. One must have a new business model. That is why we are teaching them with business skills which can better improve their ideas. We will turn these survival entrepreneurs to become sustainable entrepreneurs.

I also shared to them the benefits of a digital economy. Recently, I have separately met with Jack Ma of Alibaba, Nick Nash who is the President of SEA Group which handles Shopee, and also Inanc Balci of Lazada. All of them are managing online markets where micro and small entrepreneurs can sell their products online and customers can purchase them online. Uber and Grab also created a marketplace for transportation. In an instant, drivers become entrepreneurs as they become members of Uber and Grab.
Soon, these marketplaces will become cashless as we use e-wallet systems like PayMaya and GCash which are loadable cards which you can use for shopping.

I also clarified what President Duterte has mentioned in our ASEAN Business and Investment Summit wherein he declared that he will give additional funding for our MSMEs. I think more than the Conditional Cash Transfer program; it is better to give money to those who want to loan money for their enterprises. I believe that this can be studied. And whichever is the more sustainable way of assisting the poor Filipinos, that should be done.

I also shared some of the programs we have in Sulu and Marawi. We still have on-going programs in these areas and I think the President is working on improving and enhancing security in these provinces. Tourism will never blossom if we have insurgencies and serious security issues. And I believe that only the President knows what is best for Mindanao.

I was also asked by Wilson on what is my assessment on President Duterte as the CEO of the Philippines, I told them that the President really has the heart for the poor. “Well, you can see that President Duterte is compassionate to those who are helping the poor people… but if you are otherwise, then you will never be his friend. I believe that the president’s style is what we need today, his strong-handed leadership”, I said.

The ASEAN BAC Philippines will team up with Go Negosyo and my office as the Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship to continuously promote for “Prosperity for All”. All groups from the private sector must form an alliance to see that these programs become a reality. It is not going to be an overnight solution. Poverty has been around for so many generations but we must be relentless in our pursuit for greater inclusivity and leaving no one behind.

This is not the end, this is just the beginning

Thursday, December 7th, 2017
ASEAN Business Advisory Council hosted an Appreciation Dinner for its government and private partners last December 4, 2017

ASEAN Business Advisory Council hosted an Appreciation Dinner for its government and private partners last December 4, 2017

The year 2017 is on its last few days and as we close the year, we cannot help but look back on how wonderful the year has been.

I remember last January, we were planning for the year and meeting with partners. Now, we have all our partners beside us as we cherish this year’s success!

Last Monday, before the hustle and bustle of all the Christmas parties and get-togethers and just right after the fruitful ASEAN Week, we had a simple appreciation dinner for all our partners – both private and public.

I was happy to see our Cabinet secretaries and other members of the government who are our allies for growth and development. Among the secretaries and government officials who attended were Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Budget Secretary Ben Diokno, Science and Technology Secretary Boy de la Peña, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea, former spokesperson Ernie Abella, current presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, PA Michael Diño, BCDA president Vince Dizon, PA RJ Jacinto, chief legal counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo, Agriculture Undersecretary Bernadette Puyat, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Dondi Teehankee, Rep. Arthur Yap, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon and Sen. Miguel Zubiri.

Of course, we also have our private sector partners including Tessie Sy-Coson, George Barcelon, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Manny Pangilinan, Enrique Razon, Erramon Aboitiz, Kevin Tan, Lance Gokongwei, Josephine Gotianun-Yap, Michael Tan, Ricky Delgado, Edgar Saavedra, Luis Virata, among others. They have been instrumental in helping us magnificently host the ASEAN year.

As we shared talks over food and drinks, I realized how we all deserve the celebration last Monday. We looked back on the ABIS2017 highlights, I told everyone that it is one of the best organized summits over the past 50 years. It is without a doubt through the leadership of President Duterte and the efforts of the private sector led by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council were able to have a great output for the 50th year of ASEAN. We are privileged to have hosted this milestone year for ASEAN.

I believe that having experienced the APEC hosting two years ago prepared us to the hosting of ASEAN. We had to live up to the expectation since ASEAN is considered as the small brother of APEC. I am glad that we all made it through.

What we are doing now with mentorship and MSME development is what we have been doing for the past 12 years of Go Negosyo with Sec. Mon Lopez. We are glad to have Sec. Manny Piñol as well to embrace the whole spirit of helping our micro and small entrepreneurs in the agriculture sector.

I asked Executive Secretary Bingbong Medialdea to give a short message. He related how it was a once in a lifetime experience for him to chair the National Organizing Committee. He said, “We had more than a hundred events to prepare for in various places of the country including working groups, meetings with senior officials, ministerial meetings, and meetings with heads of government. With a lot of hard work and support from different sectors of the government, as well as the private sector, through the well-coordinated efforts, we can all be proud to say that we have hosted the 30th ASEAN and the 50th Founding Anniversary of the ASEAN successfully, safely, efficiently, and with dignity and elegance.”

Medialdea added, “May I quickly add that the real heroes of this milestone were of course: our President, who was always hands on in all major events, from site inspections to plenary and bilateral meetings with hundreds of government employees lending support to the endeavor headed by no other than the highly-esteemed Ambassador Jun Paynor who did a magnificent job; and, the Filipino people for their support and demonstration of the Filipino dignity, hospitality and courtesy to foreign guests.”

The theme “Prosperity for All” should not remain as a theme. It must be implemented. I agree with ES Medialdea when he closed his speech by saying, ““The work never ends; The work starts now.” It is indeed the time to start working on our visions and make those plans a reality. I look forward to a stronger private-public partnership next year. May the relationship between the two sectors blossom as we both pursue development and progress for our country.

No one can deny that we are still faced with extreme poverty, but if we do not play the role of sharing and helping our micro and small entrepreneurs, the challenge remains a challenge. The essence of inclusivity is in sharing.

I will continue to be optimistic about the future of this country. I know you are too. Let us all work together in achieving the prosperity that we all have been advocating for.

This is not the end. It is just the beginning.

Leaders’ Commitment for MSME Development

Thursday, November 30th, 2017
From L-R: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

From L-R: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

If we in the private sector are to pursue goals for the inclusive growth of ASEAN, we will need the support of the government and its leaders. Their initiative to start development plans coupled with the role of the private sector to contribute to these programs will greatly help in the pursuit for prosperity for all.

This is why we have invited a total of 18 leaders to the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in order to hear their insights on growth and development in the region. Apart from the 10 ASEAN Leaders, we have requested the leaders of ASEAN’s dialogue partners such as Russia, Korea, Japan, Australia and United States of America.

Many have said that it is a feat to have the five leaders in ABIS 2017. We are honored to have Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, South Korean President Moon Jae-In, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi grace the biggest business and state leaders event staged in the country.

Aung San Suu Kyi who joined us during the opening day centered her speech on women economic empowerment and human capital development. She said that more women entrepreneurs participated in Myanmar’s transformation which contributed to the economic and social development of their country. During her speech, she said, “Empowering women is a form of human capital development… Because women are important part of our human capital.”

ASEAN BAC Philippines member Teresita Sy-Coson with Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

ASEAN BAC Philippines member Teresita Sy-Coson with Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion welcomed Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion welcomed Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

Korea’s President Moon Jae-in dealt on the 3Ps of their country which are People-centered, Peace-loving, and mutual Prosperity. He stressed that his political philosophy is to prioritize their people which corresponds to the vision of a people-centric community pursued by ASEAN. Additionally, President Moon said that Korea is the best partner for growth as they too strengthen partnerships with the regional bloc in areas like transportation, energy, water, and ICT.

I am impressed by Russia’s Prime Minister who not only shared his insights on development, but also joined the panel on infrastructure. Prime Minister Medvedev expressed that Russia is willing to provide infrastructure capacities to all ASEAN economies including airports, railways, roads, powerlines, and communication channels. I, too, was able to ask him directly on Russia’s plans on how they can help small businesses scale up in their country. He said that Russia’s small businesses make up 50-60% of their business community which is low compared to the ASEAN region’s 90%.

We also learned a lot from India Prime Minister Narendra Modi who shared that they have incredibly helped their small and medium enterprises through different programs. Industrial licensing in their country is simple and can be done online. They have also introduced a unique ID system for financial transactions and taxation. PM Modi added, “Using technology, we are enhancing responsibility and reducing discretion and corruption.” They have also created the Jan Dhan Yojana which is a program for financial inclusion.

Of course, our dear President Duterte led the formal launch of the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN). He commended the initiative of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council for its efforts to mentor the micro and small entrepreneurs not just in the country but also across the region. He also announced his commitment to help MSMEs by increasing the national budget allocated for this sector.

On the last day of ABIS 2017, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who knows by heart what ASEAN is about, discussed the projection of ASEAN in the next 50 years. She said, “Communities will be highly integrated and cohesive with enhanced connectivity and central cooperation with a more people-oriented community integrated with the global community.”

And to close the three-day conference focusing on prosperity, Vice President Leni Robredo focused on why inclusivity is vital to MSME development and poverty alleviation. VP Leni exclaimed, “Whatever we achieve on the negotiating table must be felt by those who have been left behind by globalization and progress.”

We are all glad to know that micro and small entrepreneurs are part of the vision of the leaders for prosperity. We indeed have to create programs for their development as they are the backbone of the economy.

Like what I have said during my closing speech, the theme of “Prosperity for All” should not stop as ABIS2017 has ended. Instead, it is the start of the real pursuit for inclusivity and prosperity. Tremendous work must be done in order to achieve this but I am confident that with ASEAN public-private partnership, we can all contribute to reaching this goal for the region. Cheers to the next 50 years of ASEAN!

Enablers inspire the youth

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017
ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion with wife Marissa and 10-year old daughter Isabella.

ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion with wife Marissa and 10-year old daughter Isabella.

Isabella, my youngest daughter who is just ten years old had a choice during the long ASEAN week to either play with her cousins all day or attend the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit with her older siblings. I told her that ABIS 2017 is the biggest event that her dad is putting up. Additionally, I told her that she will meet many entrepreneurs from across the ASEAN region. Eventually, she said she’ll join her siblings, my other 3 daughters and my eldest only son.

Five days after the summit, my daughter Isabella was in Shopee, an online platform where customers can shop for various items. I did not even know how popular this market place is until I found out after speaking to Nick Nash, the founder of Shopee. He said that they have the biggest number of micro and small entrepreneurs who are using
their platform to sell and buy products.

As I have mentioned in my column three weeks ago, I was fortunate to meet Jack Ma and was able to moderate a session with him in a live program. During my private meeting with him prior to the program, he shared that his vision for Alibaba is to provide a platform for MSMEs to prosper through online markets like Lazada. Now, his plan is to set up mentorship centers where they can help MSMEs market their products.

Going back to Isabella, the other day, she came to me asking me to set her a bank account as she has sold something in Shopee. She might be following my footsteps before I know it and soon she might be selling her mother’s clothes and her toys which is not in use.

ASEAN is indeed shifting to digital world. We are all adapting to the new technologies that will help our micro and small entrepreneurs scale up but can be a threat for brick and mortar businesses. That is why the digital space is one of the hot topics we discussed during the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.

ASEAN BAC Philippines members Joey Concepcion, George Barcelon and Tessie Sy-Coson.

ASEAN BAC Philippines members Joey Concepcion, George Barcelon and Tessie Sy-Coson.

Speaking of ABIS, we are still grateful to the private sector and the members of the government for the support they have given us all throughout the chairmanship year.

But more than them, I would like to express my appreciation for my Philippine council members – Tessie Sy-Coson and George Barcelon. In the past few months of my stint as ASEAN BAC Chairman, I had a great opportunity of working with these two business leaders who are both advocates of helping micro and small entrepreneurs.

Tessie, despite her huge responsibilities in SM Group, has been supportive of the direction and vision of ASEAN BAC Philippines since she has been a council member much longer than myself. She participated in meetings and shared her thoughts on how to move forward with our plans and programs. She has also been a long partner of Go Negosyo and its programs for inclusivity in agriculture, trade and services.

George, who is also the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, has been a long partner of Go Negosyo prior to being part of ASEAN BAC. PCCI has the largest contingent of mentors in Go Negosyo and Department of Trade and Industry’s Mentor Me Program. Some of their members are also mentors in our Kapatid Agri Mentor Me Program with Department of Agriculture. George is a good leader and understands why and how we should help our MSMEs.

Their commitment goes beyond their roles as ASEAN BAC members, they are both dedicated to help pursue growth for our MSMEs.

The efforts and contributions of Tessie and George greatly helped ASEAN BAC in its endeavor to pursue a clear roadmap towards prosperity in the region. They made the Philippine chairmanship successful and gave me the great leeway of executing the vision of shared prosperity.

We also would like to thank Foreign Affairs Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano, Trade Sec. Ramon Lopez, Communications Sec. Martin Andanar, DFA Asec. Hellen De La Vega, DTI Asec. Anne Robeniol, ASEAN National Organizing Committee (NOC) Director General Amb. Jun Paynor, ASEAN NOC Deputy Director General Aracelli Villanueva,
DFA Usec. Dondi Teehankee, Socials Secretary Annalyn Tolentino among others for their assistance in all our programs throughout the year.

We would like express our gratitude to Russia Ambassador Igor Khovaev, India Ambassador Jaideep Mazumdar, Korea Ambassador Kim Jae-shin, and Myanmar Ambassador Win Naing for their assistance in bringing their leaders to ABIS 2017. US Ambassador Sung Kim also made great efforts in trying to invite US President Donald Trump but due to his tight schedule, he was not able to attend.

All these people are partners for change and are committed to bring prosperity to the regional level. May their dedication inspire us all in our journey on inclusive growth.

Best Experience of My Life

Thursday, November 16th, 2017
President Duterte, together with ASEAN Business Advisory Council chairman Joey Concepcion and the 143 ASEAN pioneer mentors, during the launch of ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network last Nov. 12.

President Duterte, together with ASEAN Business Advisory Council chairman Joey Concepcion and the 143 ASEAN pioneer mentors, during the launch of ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network last Nov. 12.

The past three days have been nothing but a memorable experience. Last Sunday, we opened the biggest state and business leaders event in the country which is the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017. For the past months, we have worked hard to prepare this momentous event. As I have mentioned last week, we hardly slept the past weeks and had to increase the manpower.

During my closing speech last Tuesday, I can only give thanks to those people who made ABIS2017 a success. Let me share my speech to our loyal Go Negosyo readers who became ASEAN readers.

This is the end. Finally. I cannot wait.

But seriously, let me thank Vice President Leni Robredo for giving an excellent speech. We share the same vision of fighting poverty. Of course, we thank Sen. Bam Aquino also who started the Go Negosyo Bill which actually inspired us to continue moving on despite adversities of not being part of the previous government. But Bam with his Go Negosyo Act, revived and strengthened the group.

I also want to thank Tessie Sy-Coson and George Barcelon, my Philippine ASEAN Business Advisory Council members. And of course the ASEAN BAC chairs who are present here have been supportive since day one. It seems that Singapore’s Robert Yap is no longer here, I guess he does not want the baton to be passed on. He’s running away.

Of course, I will not forget to thank the Go Negosyo advocates. Many of you have been with us for more than 10 years supporting the advocacy. Additionally, the men in government, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Agriculture, and all the people here in the government who are our partners. Thank you for being part of this.

Our ASEAN mentors, all 143 pioneer mentors who came on stage last Sunday and are committed to mentor across the region. I want to thank all the Go Negosyo people, the employees, the people who put so much hard
work. Thank you. Just don’t get pirated.

And of course I want to thank my family, my mom and my dad. My father who is my mentor is the very reason that I am here today.

And of course my wife.

As we end this chairmanship and pass it on to Singapore, this has truly been the best experience I have ever had in my life.

I guess in the end life will end for all of us. But it is in what we do in our life today, no matter what faith or religion we belong to, it is in what we do in this earth that will make the difference and assure us of a next life.

Prosperity for all is the theme of this conference. But prosperity for all should not end today. It is just the beginning, with full energy, that we in the business sector as large corporations must embrace inclusivity.

It is about time that we give hope and inspiration. And through mentorship and our banks funding these entrepreneurs with less collateral and us providing the market place for them will give them a chance to scale up. As we move on to the digital economy, as many of these forums have been saying, it is a game changer for micro and small entrepreneurs.

In the end, if all of us can leave a legacy of really blessing others to be one day in the same room with us, speaking in front of leaders and be like successful entrepreneurs, that to me is the ultimate blessing we all can receive. Again, thank you very much!

Let me share with you more of the highlights in my next column.

My Passion for Prosperity

Thursday, November 9th, 2017
Witness the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017 happening on November 12, 13, & 14.

Witness the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017 happening on November 12, 13, & 14.

With only 3 days to go before the opening of ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017, you can now imagine our stress level in managing and preparing for the 3-day summit and all the different side events starting this Sunday at 2pm in Solaire Resort and Casino.

We have confirmed six leaders and are waiting for two more to confirm. Most of the leaders will come from the APEC Summit in Vietnam so you can imagine the intensity of all the preparations for this momentous event. For the past weeks, we are meeting with the ASEAN National Organizing Committee headed by Ambassador Marciano Paynor and Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Hellen De La Vega. I am sure that these people and their respective teams hardly sleep. I also have to increase my team and include 70 support associates. Last Sunday, I had to call for an emergency meeting with my team to address some concerns. I know that Sundays are for family, but it is important that we address concerns right away before the summit itself. I am also always on the line with our partners coordinating all the necessary arrangements for this event to come alive. Since late last year, we are earnestly and massively preparing for all these events. And now, after all the successful events starting from the Prosperity For All Summit in April, to the ASEAN Business Awards last September and the recent ASEAN Agriculture Summit held just last month, we are now in the full execution process of this culminating activity for ASEAN BAC.

This is not going to be a perfect summit; we will make mistakes. Some speakers who confirmed may not even show up and cancel on the spot. We will also have to wait for the confirmation of some leaders even on the day itself. But we will do our very best to stage ABIS 2017 as successful as possible. This is my passion, our passion which we all share with the rest of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council members. Our theme of “Partnering for Change, Prosperity for All”, is not just a slogan. It is an action plan.

Our action plan is developed after the framework which is focused on the 3Ms – Mentorship, Money and Market. These 3 Ms are the bedrock in enabling the micro, small and medium enterprises in our region to scale up; empowering the sector that has been statistically proven to be integral to poverty alleviation in the region with 80-99% of registered enterprises falling under this category.

As the Philippines’ chairmanship is about to end with the last event this year in both the government and private sector, it is indeed a great experience that I will always remember and cherish! My role now is special since my father performed the same duty 10 years ago. I believe that it is really God’s plan and blessing that I am here to fulfill another mission for the entrepreneurship community. Mentorship has been one of the most important aspects in life as I was mentored by my father. I remember being with him on some ASEAN meetings and his civic social work with NAMFREL, Citizens’ League for Good Governance and many other things. I wish to thank him for being the best mentor to me and for all that I am now is all because of his great mentorship.

We are expecting more than 1,500 delegates from all over ASEAN and other countries. We look forward to welcoming them to the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017. For the many years that I am doing summits and conferences like this, this is the first time that I have to really get into the details. I am asking for your prayers that all the ASEAN activities in the country will go smoothly as possible.

Let’s all work together to pursue prosperity for all!

The Biggest State and Business Leaders Event

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017
ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017, the biggest state and business leaders event will happen on November 12, 13, & 14, 2017.

ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017, the biggest state and business leaders event will happen on November 12, 13, & 14, 2017.

As October comes to a close, we are only a few days away from the biggest state and business leaders event of the year – the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2017. For the past 12 years of Go Negosyo, we have hosted a number of conferences and summits with more than 10,000 guests and participants but this ABIS2017 is the most challenging summit we have ever organized. With less than two weeks to go, we are working our best to bring you a successful conference to cap off the ASEAN chairmanship of the Philippines.

For the past few months since I assumed the chairmanship of ASEAN Business Advisory Council, we have generated a clear roadmap on achieving prosperity for all. This means that we will leave no ASEAN nation behind. This is why the ASEAN BAC’s theme for this year is, “Partnering for Change, Prosperity for All,” because we believe that we must all work together to bring success to one another.

To help pursue this goal, we have formulated the framework of 3Ms: Mentorship, Money and Market which we believe will enable our micro, small, and medium enterprises scale up.

Of the three M’s, Mentorship is the closest to our heart. We have been mentoring micro and small entrepreneurs for the past years and last year, we have formalized the mentorship through our partnership program with the Department of Trade and Industry called Kapatid Mentor ME. Eventually, we have adapted this to the agriculture sector in partnership with the Department of Agriculture.

I personally believe that with proper guidance and mentorship MSMEs will grow and prosper. This is why on November 12, we at the ASEAN BAC will launch the biggest private-sector led mentorship network called AMEN – ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network, a pool of mentors across ASEAN countries helping MSMEs. We will recognize the “pioneer mentors” from the 10 ASEAN countries led by the Philippines’ 50 pioneer mentors. I was informed by my fellow council members that they will be sending mentors as well to be part of this mission. We are all excited to see what this program can do for our micro entrepreneurs in the region.

Going back to the program, we have invited a number of state leaders from ASEAN countries and ASEAN-dialogue partners. Their ambassadors have been nothing but supportive in our invitations and we appreciate the help that they are extending to bring their leaders to our event. We are pleased to announce that Myanmar’s very own State Counsellor and Union Minister for Foreign Affairs Her Excellency Aung San Suu Kyi has confirmed her participation to ABIS2017. Hopefully soon, we can announce the confirmations of most of the invited leaders.

For the 3-day summit, world leaders and business champions will be sharing their vision and pathway towards shared prosperity. The summit will feature forums on infrastructure development, women economic power and human capital development, right money and open markets, entrepreneurship in digital economy and other topics that will address the priority concerns of the business community.

The forum on infrastructure development will feature Enrique Razon of International Container Terminal Services Inc., Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala of Ayala Corporation, Tony Fernandes of AirAsia, Dr. Junichi Yamada of Japan International Cooperation Agency, and Diwakar Gupta of Asian Development Bank.

We are also focusing on the women through the discussion on women economic power led by fellow ASEAN BAC member Teresita Sy-Coson of SM Investments, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar of Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo of Hyundai Asia Resources Inc., and ASEAN Business Award 2017 Winner Sirina Sisombat-Hervy of Sinouk Coffee.

On Money, Gov. Nestor Espenilla of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Anthony Tomas of Mynt, Lito Villanueva of FINTQ, and Li Yong of United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) will share their insights for the right money opportunities for our MSMEs.

Market panelists includes Tan Sri Rebecca Fatima Sta. Maria of Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, Alexander Feldman of US-ASEAN Business Council, Robbie Antonio of Revolution Precrafted, David Foote of Zennya, and Chung Eui-Sun of Hyundai Motor Group will discuss ways on linking MSMEs to a more competitive and interconnected market opportunities.

For the 3rd day of the summit, Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will lead the discussion on On to ASEAN 100 which will delve into the ASEAN’s position for growth and leadership for the next 50 years. We have invited His Excellency Donald Tusk of European Council, His Excellency Antonio Guterres of United Nations, and His Excellency Le Loung Minh of ASEAN to be part of the forum as well.

Professor Hidetoshi Nishimura of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Mario Pezzini of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and Prof. Yumiko Murakami of OECD will share videos on ASEAN’s 50th year and the economic outlook for ASEAN.

Part of the agenda is the discussion of Shared Economy which will feature Dr. Robert Yap of ASEAN BAC Singapore and YCH Group, Mario Pezzini of Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Chan Park of Uber Asia Pacific, and Robin Kwok of Airbnb.

Digital economy is one of the hot topics in ASEAN which will also be focus of the discussion led by Manny Pangilinan of the PLDT Group, Nick Nash of SEA Group, Dr. Yuri Sato of Japan External Trade Organization, Goh Peng Ooi of Silverlake Axis Limited, and Richard Eldrige of Lenddo.

Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will lead the discussion on On to ASEAN 100 which will delve into the ASEAN’s position for growth and leadership for the next 50 years. We have invited His Excellency Donald Tusk of European Council, His Excellency Antonio Guterres of United Nations, and His Excellency Le Loung Minh of ASEAN to be part of the forum as well.

Towards the afternoon, Vice President Leni Robredo will give special address.

We have a great lineup of state and business leaders for ABIS2017. And we look forward to discussing what needs to be done in order to bring prosperity for all across the region. After all, we are all aiming to lift the lives of our citizens and create inclusive growth.

JAC Meets Jack

Thursday, October 26th, 2017
Jack Ma shared his insights on Money, Market, and Mentorship during the segment moderated by PA Joey Concepcion.

Jack Ma shared his insights on Money, Market, and Mentorship during the segment moderated by PA Joey Concepcion.

While the ASEAN Business and Advisory Council is preparing for the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit 2017, I had the wonderful opportunity of engaging with the Chinese business magnate and Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman, Jack Ma, yesterday, October 24, 2017 at the De La Salle University.

To those who are wondering why the title of today’s column is like that, I would like to share that JAC is the acronym of my name, Joey A. Concepcion.

Going back, I was fortunate to share a few moments with him as I welcomed him to my former school, and as I became the moderator of the segment we had during the program of the university. I was intently preparing this event as it was usually I who do the talking and not the moderating.

In front of students and guests, Jack Ma was also bestowed with a Doctor of Science in Technopreneurship, Honoris Causa.

Like many other entrepreneurs, Dr. Jack Ma’s entrepreneurial journey is a mix of both successes and challenges. He has been open about his humble beginnings including how he got rejected in job applications in fast-food chains and well-known university, Harvard.

Launched in 1999, Dr. Jack Ma’s Alibaba Group (Alibaba.com) is a one-stop sourcing platform bringing products in over 40 different major categories such as consumer electronics, machinery, and apparel. It is now leading in global wholesale trade serving millions of buyers and suppliers around the world. Its mission is to make business easy to do anywhere by giving the suppliers necessary tools to reach a global audience for their products and helping buyers find products and suppliers in the fastest way possible.

Concepcion Family together with Dr. Jack Ma of Alibaba Group. (From L-R) Catherine, Marissa, Isabella, Jack Ma, Joey, Margarita, Olivia and Christian.

Concepcion Family together with Dr. Jack Ma of Alibaba Group. (From L-R) Catherine, Marissa, Isabella, Jack Ma, Joey, Margarita, Olivia and Christian.

Prior to having him in the program, we had a private talk during which I shared with him our 3Ms of Entrepreneurship to which I can say he agreed well on its importance and the assistance it can provide to our MSMEs. He believes in this framework of Market, Money, and Mentorship because it is what they are doing. In fact, they will soon launch a mentorship program and has the possibility of partnering with us. For money, they have provided solution through Alipay, an online payment solution. And of course, their strength which is e-commerce.

When I asked him on how brick and mortar businesses can survive, he shared that the business-to-business model has to shift to the consumer-to-business format. Indicating that the internet will allow consumers to dictate what products they want and to get them faster.

He advised traditional businessmen, “Please change quickly. It’s not the competitor who is killing you. It’s the future. Don’t be scared of technology. – When you refuse to use technology, it’s like you’re refusing to use electricity.”

He also clarified that Alibaba is not an e-commerce company, but an e-commerce enabler since e-commerce makes up just about 20% of their business.

In the event, Dr. Jack Ma said that, “It’s not technology that changed the world. It’s the dream behind technology that changed the world.” I admire Dr. Jack Ma’s philosophy that the power of technology lays not on the technology itself. It is true. Technology changed because of the imagination, talent, and vision of people in achieving technological advancement.

As we are entering a third technology revolution, Dr. Jack emphasized that companies should make full use of the internet to win in the coming years. He even went further and said that in the future, there will only be “Made in the Internet.”

He also said that if something does not work anymore, do not believe that you are always right. Work with the people who will believe in your crazy dream but find the courage to change all the time. He said that no matter how smart one is, if he doesn’t know how to work with people, he won’t succeed.

Dr. Jack Ma believes that infrastructure for small business in the Philippines is important. The banking system should also be able to work for and benefit of the people, even suggesting that a cashless system will be helpful in making transactions easier and better in an archipelago such as ours.

In a way, I see myself in Dr. Jack Ma, such that all my life, my passion is to solve poverty. We both think that as entrepreneurs, we have a duty to enable people to get an access to money and market. And of course, mentorship through the inspirational talks and direct mentorship of mentor-entrepreneurs like him.

With the vigor and passion that Dr. Jack Ma has for entrepreneurship, I hope that Filipino entrepreneurs will remain persistent and go further towards prosperity.

Addressing Money Concerns for MSMEs

Thursday, October 19th, 2017
Tessie Sy-Coson, Joey Concepcion, Justo Ortiz, and Atty. Benedicta Baladad.

Tessie Sy-Coson, Joey Concepcion, Justo Ortiz, and Atty. Benedicta Baladad.

Last time, I shared about the keen interest of the private sector to contribute to the infrastructure development in the country through a stronger partnership with the government.  These infrastructure projects or Build Build Build programs will better link micro and small entrepreneurs to wider markets. This time, we are also bridging money gap and financial issues for our micro and small entrepreneurs.

Over a casual breakfast meeting, I invited the main stakeholders of the financial sector in the Philippines to discuss inclusive money for Filipinos.

The meeting was joined by Governor Nestor Espenilla Jr. and Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas), Josephine Romero (ASEAN BAC Philippines and Magpie), Teresita Sy-Coson (ASEAN BAC Philippines and BDO), Benjamin Castillo and Abraham Co (Bankers Association of the Philippines), Atty. Benedicta Baladad (Financial Executives of the Philippines), Justo Ortiz (Union Bank of the Philippines), Orlando Vea (Voyager Innovations), Fr. Jovic Lobrigo (Microfinance Council of the Philippines), Ernest Cu (Globe Telecom), Raj Uttamchandadni (Esquire Financing Coporation), Jaime Garchitorena (Credit information Corporation) and Ronnie Tan Tai Ngee (Silverlake Gax Holding Sdn Bhd).

As the Chair of ASEAN BAC, main convenor of public and private partnership, I was honored to sit with these passionate and dedicated men and women who are all eager to help in making future-ready enterprises.

This breakfast meeting was hosted for ASEAN BAC Malaysia Chair Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Munir Abdul Majid who brought Malaysia’s ABA 2017 Legacy Awardee Mr. Goh Peng Ooi of Silverlake Axis.

Goh Peng Ooi and Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Munir Abdul Majid.

Goh Peng Ooi and Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Munir Abdul Majid.

Grounded on mathematical models, Silverlake Axis creates technologies to enable the Digital Economy since 1989. The company has built an impeccable track record of successful core banking implementations. True to its success in refining, expanding, and inventing technologies in the region, Silverlake Axis was listed on Singapore’s Stock Exchange (SGX) SESDAQ in 2003 and moved up to SGX Mainboard in 2011. Today, over 40% of the top 20 largest banks in South-East Asia run Silverlake Axis’ core banking solution. Silverlake Axis is the core system platform partner of choice for 3 of the 5 largest ASEAN super regional financial institutions.

We arrived at a conclusion that way forward is inclusive lending, inclusive access to finance and INCLUSIVE MONEY.

Right after, I spoke at the Angat Buhay, a poverty alleviation platform launched by Vice President Leni Robredo. Similar to the Go Negosyo’s Kapatid Angat Lahat, the program Angat Buhay seeks to uplift the lives of many micro and small entrepreneurs. Our advocacy work in Go Negosyo was strengthened even more with the support of Senator Bam Aquino when the Go Negosyo Act was legislated.

Vice President Leni Robredo with ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion.

Vice President Leni Robredo with ASEAN BAC Chairman Joey Concepcion.

Our quest for poverty alleviation and creating prosperity for all brings me to the 3Ms or the Mentorship, Money, and Market.

Like what I have mentioned in all my previous articles and speaking engagements, Mentorship is a powerful tool in helping micro and small entrepreneurs move up from survival to sustainability.

The Kapatid Mentor Me that we have been doing has now 1700 mentees and close to 450 mentors engaging with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture.

We are also formally launching AMEN or the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network on November, which will be the biggest network of mentors from all the 10 ASEAN countries. We want to share AMEN to all ASEAN countries to tap their mentors who can help us in areas like technology, agriculture, and logistics.

Helping MSMEs get access to that market is important that is why we are eager to be part of the infrastructure development programs of the country. But apart from these bridges, airports, and ports, the future market is going be the digital economy.

We will also push for new platforms like e-commerce. The success of mobile applications such as Uber, Grab, and many other platforms for people to market themselves directly to the consumer will change the game in the future.

As a game changer that can help the poor entrepreneurs, we must also learn how the digital economy thrives. At first it looks like a threat to many who are in the brick and mortar business, supermarkets or department stores, but it is an opportunity for many micro and small entrepreneurs to have a chance to be the next millionaire or multi billionaire.

This time we are focusing on Money. Our MSMEs still face a big challenge when it comes to financing. That is why it is important to address this situation for the growth of our micro and small entrepreneurs. We are glad to hear Goh Peng Ooi’s insights on how we can help finance the micro and small entrepreneurs.

We shall update you with the progress of these 3Ms. We are zealously working on creating programs that will bring prosperity not just to the large corporations but most importantly to our MSMEs.

Given that the bottom of the pyramid is huge, it’s about time that we all come together, regardless of political affiliation. The quest of fighting poverty is not won whether you are yellow, blue, or red. It is just about being a Filipino who is compassionate about the future. The programs that we need to achieve will be enormous because it will not be a quick fix. But any of us are already part of the enabling community. Each is key in the initiative towards prosperity for all.

The Legacy of Mr. Wash

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017
PA Joey Concepcion with Mr. Washington Sycip during Go Negosyo's book launch last 2016.

PA Joey Concepcion with Mr. Washington Sycip during Go Negosyo’s book launch last 2016.

This week we are saddened by the news that the great Washington Sycip who co-founded SGV & Co., one of the top auditing and accounting firms in Asia has died quietly while on his flight to Vancouver.

Born in Manila on June 30, 1921, to Albino and Helen SyCip, Wash Sycip is one of the inspiring Go Negosyo entrepreneurs that we look up to today.

While he simply thinks of himself as a humble bookkeeper, Wash is a man of astounding accomplishments even from the beginning. He passed the licensure examination for Certified Public Accountants at the age of 18. As he was too young to get the professional license and practice as a CPA in the Philippines, he went to the United State and earned a PhD at the Columbia University. While he was working on his doctoral dissertation, the Pearl Harbor and Clark Air Base were bombed prompting him to go back to his family in Manila at the war’s end.

The promising opportunities during the nation’s postwar reconstruction encouraged Wash to set up his own accounting firm, W. SyCip & Co., in Binondo. With the growth of his first venture, SyCip along with his longtime friend Alfredo M. Velayo, renamed the firm to SyCip, Gorres, Velayo & Co. (SGV).

Wash is also a known advocate for the improvement of public education, micro finance and entrepreneurship, and public health in the Philippines. He has a strong belief in the Filipino talent and he hopes to alleviate poverty in the country through various initiatives.

After his retirement from SGV in 1996, he sought to be active in both his business and civic endeavors. Among his last involvements was the Zero Dropout Program, an initiative funded by SyCip’s WS Family Foundation and implemented by social development institution CARD MRI.

Since 2011, the initiative provides parents an opportunity to access quality education for their children through an education loan program. It enables parents to secure a loan from P1,000 to P3,000, payable in three to six months, in order to augment their means for the school expenses of their children. Its low interest allows parents ensure that their sons and daughters will be able to finish their studies.

With his fervent desire to address poverty in the country by eradicating illiteracy, the Zero Dropout Program is designed to be reliable educational loan program that unlocks educational opportunities normally unavailable to the financially disadvantaged. The project banks on improving the ability of children to read and write thereby increasing their chances of coping in a competitive world.

In our recent interview with Wash for the Go Negosyo’s inspiring entrepreneurs book, he said, “While the Philippines enjoys strong economic growth, many Filipinos still suffer from immense poverty. It is our duty to help them surpass this struggle with the tools provided by education so that they may experience new opportunities in our rapidly-changing country.”

Go Negosyo deeply mourns the passing of an icon, mentor leader, and advocate of entrepreneurship in the country. Go Negosyo is honored to have Wash in its past events, as he had been very supportive of the Go Negosyo’s mission of uplifting lives through entrepreneurship. His story of triumphs and challenges was even featured in one of Go Negosyo’s books.

Whenever he attends our events, he always has this warm smile for everyone. In fact, less than a month ago, he attended the successful ASEAN Business Awards in Solaire. With no trace of any illnesses, he graced the event and was a magnet to other entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs would often take photos with him which he will gladly oblige to.

I remember during our book launch for the inspiring women entrepreneurs in 2016, he was about to leave when we asked him of his simple wish for the country, he said, “By the end of another six years, when the new president comes in, half of the Senate, half of the House will be women!”

As one of the foremost practitioners of accounting in the Philippines and Asia, we are certain that his inspiring entrepreneurial journey and passion will forever be remembered and his legacy will remain in our hearts and minds.