Archive for the ‘Pilipinas : Now is Our Time’ Category

Go Negosyo Synergy

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

Last Monday, together with other 41 newly appointed officials, I took an oath in Malacañang signifying my commitment to do the best that I can to fulfil my responsibility as a pro-bono Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship. Whether I was appointed or not, I would have continued what Go Negosyo has been doing for the past 11 years.


President Rodrigo Duterte and Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion. ​

After hearing the 10-point economic agenda of the Duterte Administration, with one of the agenda focusing on micro and small entrepreneurs’ development, we know that there will be a boost in the entrepreneurship community since the President himself commits to focus on this area.

With this new task that I am given, I will synergize entrepreneurship efforts and programs being done by the different departments and agencies in the country most especially with Sec. Mon Lopez’s Department of Trade and Industry. Also, together with Sen. Miguel Zubiri’s Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, we will work closely with the Senate in developing bills that will support the needs of all entrepreneurs.

But the real focus of Go Negosyo is MSME Development.

The partnership with DTI is, I can say, a tremendous force in helping micro and small receive their needed assistance. This is a chance for private companies to extend their hand to the smaller entrepreneurs.

Before Mon joined the government, we were already forming the program, Kapatid. Kapatid is focused on three areas: mentoring, shared service facilities, and inclusive business.

We all know that many entrepreneurs have been successful because they are mentored well by their parents, schools, or their fellow entrepreneurs. I, myself have been mentored by my parents. But some of our micro entrepreneurs did not receive proper mentorship. Most of them are hindered by their families to continue their business, or they came from schools that did not enhance their skills, or they were not exposed to inspirations and innovations. They are lucky if they are part of a strong micro-finance institution which can give basic business advices. That is why I think mentorship is important.

We rolled out our mentorship program in Negosyo Centers, in partnership with the office of Sen. Bam Aquino who is now the Chairman of Committee on Education.

After our Kapatid Workshop with DTI regional directors and provincial directors last Monday and Tuesday, we have identified the role of 17 Big Mentors, one per region. They will be mentoring the region assigned to them and look into the business models available in their region and check the shared service facilities that can be used. Under Kapatid is the Adopt-an-SSF program which aims to develop DTI’s Shared Service Facilities in the country. SSF was launched 2 years ago with 2,015 beneficiaries. Although it was done very quickly, and that the success rate is not very high, it shows great potential. This program will enhance the productivity of cooperatives. The structural way of helping farmers, fishermen, and other micro entrepreneurs, is through cooperatives.

Lastly, Inclusive Business. This is by linking micro and small to medium and large corporations and making them part of the value chain. It is important for them to be sustainable. It is not about creating more micro and small entrepreneurs. It is more on making them earn more. And if we are to follow the President’s wish, this is the way forward.

I asked our company to look for micro entrepreneurs who can be one of our raw materials supplier. We understand that buying from micro entrepreneurs can be a hassle sometimes, but I think we can search for potential cooperatives who can supply the demand of many corporations. I believe everyone wants to buy local products and help farmers, and this is one way of helping them.

I have been talking to big corporations and asking them of their inclusive business models. We can get 100 Kapatid models out there which will then inspire more businesses to have their own Kapatid models. This is an inspiration campaign.

We call out to more corporations to adopt this Kapatid, Angat Lahat program. With your support, we can help micro and small entrepreneurs level up!


Angat Lahat

Thursday, August 11th, 2016
DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez and Go Negosyo Founder Joey Concepcion.

After the launch of the Kapatid, Angat Lahat last week, I am glad to share with you, fellow Go Negosyantes, that this partnership of Go Negosyo and Department of Trade and Industry has received overwhelming support. We get a heartwarming feeling knowing that we now have the support of both private and public sectors.

Just last Tuesday, Senator Miguel Zubiri who leads the Committee on Trade, Commerce, and Entrepreneurship, invited me to be part of the senate meeting discussing what can and must be done to help the micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in the country. Together with Committee co-chair Senator Win Gatchalian, Secretary Ramon Lopez of DTI, other DTI officials, and other private sector organizations related to trade and entrepreneurship shared their thoughts and opinions on how we can all contribute to the goal of the Duterte administration in eradicating poverty.

Senator Bam Aquino, who formerly leads this committee in the past Congress session, was also present. I believe that he is still going to be part of the working group of this committee as he has a lot of laws and inputs for entrepreneurship. He has supported not just Go Negosyo through his Go Negosyo Law but the whole business community with his Philippine Competition Act and the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act which helps in the logistics of companies. All these are impressive improvements in the economy and with Bam as a young senator who only wants change and developments, we can expect more from him. He serves as an inspiration to Go Negosyo.

On a side note, despite being busy in his role as a legislator, Senator Bam always attends our events, inspires young and aspiring entrepreneurs, and now he is co-anchoring our radio show, Go Negosyo sa Radyo in DZRH together with Cheska San Diego.

Going back, it was a great session to have as we see the active efforts of the members of the Senate to support the Kapatid, Angat Lahat! Even Sen. Win Gatchalian, who belongs to a family of businessmen in Valenzuela, also have inputs on how we can all help micro and small entrepreneurs level up in the business.

Sen. Win Gatchalian, Sen. Miguel Zubiri, and Sen. Bam Aquino.

Sen. Win Gatchalian, Sen. Miguel Zubiri, and Sen. Bam Aquino.

DTI led by Mon Lopez presented their plans of action for the coming years which are focused on the following areas: (1) MSME Development; (2) Ease the doing business; (3) Industry Development; (4) Promote Investment and Trade; and (5) Consumer Protection.

As I said in my speech, the focus today is on the micro and small entrepreneurs. The large and extra large can always take care of themselves. We are opportunity seekers. Whatever the problems are, entrepreneurs will find solutions. We learned that entrepreneurs are not just problem solvers but also problem seekers. For medium and large corporations, they can hire people to solve problems that come, but for the micro and small, they will have to face the problems and at the same time, manage the business. Just imagine the frustrations they are experiencing. That is why we need to help them be sustainable entrepreneurs and not surviving entrepreneurs.

Kapatid, Angat Lahat! was launched to support the goal of MSME Development. In partnership with DTI, Go Negosyo and other partner institutions will help micro and small entrepreneurs grow in the business through mentoring, training, access to credit and market linkages. We are developing the program of Kapatid which now involves Mentor Me, weekly coaching of business owners and practitioners on different functional areas of entrepreneurship; Adopt-an-SSF, which aims to improve the productivity and competitiveness of micro entrepreneurs by providing them a Shared Service Facility in their community through their project partners; and lastly Inclusive Business, which encourages medium and large corporations to adopt an IB model and link micro and small entrepreneurs in their value chain.

These are just simple ways of how we can help the micro and small enterprises be part of the growing economy. As I said last Tuesday, many of entrepreneurs have not benefitted in the investments that came in our country in the previous years. Only the big corporations benefit from the growth. That is why the question “How much are we committed in helping them scale up?” is important.

For Go Negosyo, we are more than willing to partner with private organizations and government sectors to provide the needed assistance for the “small brothers” in the industry. The assistance must not be a dole out, but instead it must be sustainable.

We are calling out for more mentors on the following areas of expertise: Entrepreneurial Mind-setting/Business Sense;Product Development, Marketing, and Cashflow Management! If you are interested to be part of the mission in helping micro and small entrepreneurs, you may email us at or call us at 6379347 or 6379229.

Angat Lahat

Thursday, August 4th, 2016
More than 600 members of the entrepreneurship community, legislators, government representatives, and partner organizations expressed their support to the mission of Kapatid.

More than 600 members of the entrepreneurship community, legislators, government representatives, and partner organizations expressed their support to the mission of Kapatid.

In unity, there is prosperity.

This has been the outcome of our recent launch of the Kapatid, a Go Negosyo initiative in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry to strengthen the mentorship program for micro and small entrepreneurs and link them to the value chain of medium and large corporations through inclusive business models.

Last Monday, with the company of the entire Go Negosyo community, we presented “Kapatid”. As mentioned in my previous column, we used the term “Kapatid” which is the Tagalog term for siblings to show the distinctive trait of Filipinos to help their families. We also know how our beloved Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) have sacrificed just to support the younger members of the family.

More than 600 people joined us as we celebrate the partnership of Go Negosyo and the Department of Trade and Industry for this project. Members of the entrepreneur community, legislators, government representatives, and partner organizations expressed their support for the mission.

In my speech, I recognized people who have believed in the advocacy and share in the mission of Go Negosyo.

First, MVP Group Chairman Manny V. Pangilinan who believed from the very first day that entrepreneurship is really the solution to poverty in this country. He’s been a great supporter in helping and promoting entrepreneurship using his companies and projecting entrepreneurs as the new heroes of the Philippines.

Go Negosyo trustees - Justin Uy, William Belo, Alice Eduardo, Rosalind Wee, Myla Villanueva, Corazon Dayro-Ong,Carla Limcaoco, and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion awarded Ramon Lopez for having served as the Executive Director of Go Negosyo for 11 years.

Go Negosyo trustees – Justin Uy, William Belo, Alice Eduardo, Rosalind Wee, Myla Villanueva, Corazon Dayro-Ong,Carla Limcaoco, and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion awarded Ramon Lopez for having served as the Executive Director of Go Negosyo for 11 years.

Of course, I have to recognize the Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who can be considered instrumental to the birth of Go Negosyo when she appointed me as the Presidential Consultant for Entrepreneurship.

I also recognized the senators present most especially Sen. Bam Aquino who really inspired us and supported us by creating his first bill, the Go Negosyo Law which created the Negosyo Centers. I felt like giving up but when I saw the bill, I realized that this will help pursue the mission. Senator Grace Poe, Senator Cynthia Villar, Sen. Sonny Angara, and Vice President Leni Robredo are also a source of encouragement for Go Negosyo.

Gawad Kalinga’s Tony Meloto was also there. Aside from my dad, he is one of the people I look up to.

The good progress achieved by Go Negosyo is also shared to our partners, who were always there to support the advocacy. We cannot succeed without their help.

We were also joined by the young, micro and small entrepreneurs from our Youth Entrepreneurship Development Workshop (YEDW) Program; Mentor Me mentees from Negosyo Centers in Mandaluyong and Calamba; and our selected micro entrepreneurs from Cavite and Batangas who needed the support to level up their businesses.

Aling Yoly is one of the micro entrepreneurs we interviewed for Kapatid. She is a vendor and cultivator of oysters and mussels for 33 years which has helped their family in their everyday needs. With a starting capital of 10,000 pesos, she started the business even with limited knowledge and training for it. If we can connect Aling Yoly to a food manufacturer who needs oysters, even with 1% contribution to the supply, she can have a more sustainable income.

Freddie of Batangas who is a farmer can be enrolled in a mentoring session for farmers with other farmers in their region. With the support of agri-entrepreneurs such as Henry Lim Bon Liong (SL Agritech) or Joseph Calata (Calata Corporation) who can give mentoring and capacity building trainings, then they can be equipped with knowledge on how they can multiply their productivity, innovate farming system, and develop farming techniques.

Macario Macaraig, a wooden handicrafts manufacturer, can be linked to souvenir shops. He can also be enrolled in a mentoring session for creativity and innovation.

These are just simple ways on how we can achieve inclusive growth. But there will be more programs that can be developed under this partnership.

Sen. Bam Aquino, Sen. Miguel Zubiri, Sen. Sonny Angara, Sen. Grace Poe, and Sen. Win Gatchalian answered questions on inclusive growth during the forum. The forum was moderated by Atty. Mike Toledo and Shawn Yao.

Sen. Bam Aquino, Sen. Miguel Zubiri, Sen. Sonny Angara, Sen. Grace Poe, and Sen. Win Gatchalian answered questions on inclusive growth during the forum. The forum was moderated by Atty. Mike Toledo and Shawn Yao.

Together with the Go Negosyo trustees – Felix Ang, Justin Uy, William Belo, Alice Eduardo, Rosalind Wee, Myla Villanueva, Corazon Dayro-Ong, and Carla Limcaoco, we recognized Mon Lopez who has been the Executive Director of Go Negosyo since the beginning. He has passionately pushed for the advocacy since 2005.

The highlight of the event was the forum on inclusive growth which featured legislators – Sen. Bam Aquino, Sen. Miguel Zubiri, Sen. Sonny Angara, Sen. Grace Poe, and Sen. Win Gatchalian. Sen. Cynthia Villar was also present in the Kapatid launch.

In totality, the launch is a success after receiving outpouring support for Kapatid. All were eager and ready to help micro and small entrepreneurs. I am so glad that all our entrepreneurs are ready to answer to the call of action.

With the support of DTI, and other partner organizations and hopefully, more government departments, we can all achieve the goal of inclusive growth!


Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Last Monday, President Duterte delivered the State of the Nation Address in a different way. The simplicity of the affair was evident. He even folded up his barong sleeves. When we fold our sleeves, for me it means that we are getting ready to work. Definitely, it was a sign of being a hands-on president. I guess he wanted to make it clear to the audience that it’s the work that matters and not any other flair. His speech was easily understood by many simple folks, even our house helpers were glued to the television and understood the entire message he delivered. Pausing several time to add adlibs and extemporaneous speech, he made sure the speech was relatable. He also joked around which made the SONA more interesting to listen to.

The Duterte presidency was never expected and in fact even in his speech he said that he never wanted to be where he is today and that he would just sit out in the audience. If we believe in destiny, this surely is one and I am sure for the better of many Filipinos. I can relate to how destiny works, as I have mentioned in my previous column entitled “3 Wishes”, I made a wish in a church which we have visited for the first time. In my wish, I prayed that Go Negosyo will be instrumental to this administration in helping scale up more micro and small entrepreneurs. This wish came true when I was offered a position and I gave it a lot of thought but in the end I felt that Ramon Lopez is the best person for the position of trade secretary. He has been with me in the advocacy for the past 11 years and him being the secretary, I believe that this will give the micro and small entrepreneurs a better chance to move up in life.

One of the 10-point economic agenda of the Duterte administration is devoted to the development of the micro and small entrepreneurs. This is also the mission of Go Negosyo for many years. With the right mentorship, market linkage, and financial support, many micro entrepreneurs will have ways to improve and develop their enterprises. And Go Negosyo provides the mentorship through the various programs that we are conducting.

As an entrepreneur, I know the value of having mentors. For the start-up entrepreneurs taking their first steps in their entrepreneurial journey, it is an advantage to have someone who will support and guide them throughout the process. An adviser who will teach you how to make the next big step.

For micro and small entrepreneurs, it is also a plus to have big corporations lending a hand to their enterprises. But not just through corporate social responsibility programs but also by linking them in their value chains.


To commit to the Duterte administration in helping entrepreneurs, Go Negosyo is partnering with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). This will be the first partnership among other related government agencies. We are launching the KAPATID, an initiative that aims to encourage medium and large corporations to help micro and small enterprises through the use of Inclusive Business (IB) models. We are considering the medium and large corporations as Big Brothers and the micro and small enterprises as Small Brothers, thus the term Kapatid.

I have coined the term Kapatid which is the Tagalog term for siblings because it is innate for Filipinos to help their brothers not just in the family but also in the industry.

In the process of Kapatid project roll-out, MSEs will be partnered with medium and large enterprises to develop industries as part of their value chain.  To enable the MSEs to supply goods and services that meet the required standards of the medium and large enterprises and to eventually sustain their enterprise on their own, adequate capacity building will have to be provided.

And this is where the MENTOR ME Program of Go Negosyo comes in. Mentor Me which have been executed in some Negosyo Centers like Mandaluyong and Calamba provides the necessary capabilitiy and linkages to financing and marketing through a series of sessions with entrepreneurs and business mentors. This is Go Negosyo’s way of reaching out to more micro entrepreneurs and helping them develop the needed skills and mindset to reach success. This Mentor Me is the first program under the Kapatid Project which will soon be rolled out in all Negosyo Centers nationwide.

In the end, MSEs will then be efficiently producing goods and services that have waiting markets and will then be empowered to engage in more value-adding activities thereby generating increased income for them.  These interlinked enterprises making up industry clusters under the Kapatid will concretely contribute to industry sustainability, inclusive growth, poverty reduction and employment generation.

I have envisioned this Kapatid as a way for the micro and small enterprises to level-up and be sustainable. Despite having 99.6% of MSMEs in the country, only a small percentage of them aspires to grow and develop. This is why aside from inspiring Filipinos to venture into entrepreneurship, Go Negosyo’s role is to also provide the needed support for micro and small entrepreneurs and encourage them to strive to make their enterprises more sustainable and innovative.

We call out to the medium and large corporations to integrate inclusive business models in their value chain. Through the Kapatid with DTI, we hope that we can address poverty, encourage entrepreneurship, and generate employment. Other government agencies like Department of Agriculture, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Tourism, Technical Education and Skill Development Authority and many more.

With the Kapatid, we are now building a network of different players in the value chain. With the different partners around, Go Negosyo, now acts as an accelerator which will encourage innovation, communication and collaboration among government agencies and private institutions that will direct efforts towards MSME development. Together, we can all create an enabling environment that create a stronger entrepreneurship culture.

Mentor Me: Innovation Forum

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Last week, we conducted the Mentor Me Innovation Forum at the University of San Carlos. This is part of the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Workshop (YEDW), which we launched last year together with the U. S. Embassy Manila.

It was another insightful event filled with inspiring stories and practical pieces of advice from our invited guests who willingly shared their time to help mentor more than 1000 young and aspiring micro and small entrepreneurs. Some of the YEDW fellows who flew from different provinces of Visayas and Mindanao also attended.

I am sure that every entrepreneur knows the value of innovating. As I have mentioned last week, if one does not innovate, he cannot expect his enterprise to level-up and be sustainable. It will soon be conquered by those who take risks and innovate.

We are honored to have Sen. Bam Aquino, who is considered as the entrepreneurship champion in the Senate. Bam, who has been supportive since the beginning and even hosted our television show, shared three Ms which are important for entrepreneurs for them to level up. These 3Ms are: Money, Market and Mentorship. I agree that these three are what most micro and small entrepreneurs lack. Go Negosyo addresses the need for mentorship through the programs we organize for them, most especially the Mentor Me program launched in the established Negosyo Centers all over the country.

As Bam mentioned in his message, he said that there is space for all entrepreneurs to work together. Together, we can develop and earn.

“We do our best to create a nationwide framework where entrepreneurs can get what they need. With support from institutions like Go Negosyo, we can create the environment of success”, Bam said.

More than 1000 participants attended the Mentor Me: Innovation Forum held in University of San Carlos in Cebu.

More than 1000 participants attended the Mentor Me: Innovation Forum held in University of San Carlos in Cebu.

Former Go Negosyo Executive Director and now the head of the Department of Trade and Industry Ramon Lopez also attended the forum. Being with Go Negosyo for 11 years, Mon has known many great examples of innovation ‘with a heart’. He cited Cropital led by Rachel De Villa, one of the YEDW fellows, as an example. Cropital provides funding and support to farmers and through the monetary support, this also helps them improve their productivity. Another YEDW product is the Agriblocks of Mariel Obregon which identified the increasing need for hollow blocks in Tacloban and developed environment friendly hollow blocks which are made from rice hulls. He also mentioned Anna and Dylan Wilk of Human Nature which manufactures environment friendly products which are made from raw materials grown locally. Even the venue partner, University of San Carlos, has produced products from mango waste through biotechnology. These are just some of the notable innovations in the community which we can expect to flourish in the coming years.

From these examples, we can say that in the heart of every enterprise is the idea of innovation to solve community problems.

Paul Rivera founded a technology start-up company in the Philippines called Kalibrr. He innovated the job-seeking system and has helped more than 500,000 jobseekers find opportunities in more than 10,000 best companies in the Philippines. Apart from sharing his inspiring story of success, he advised the participants to “go where you’re not supposed to be” in order to find innovative ideas. He cited several companies which have made disruptions in the industries. One of which is Uber, the mobile application that helps transport people by linking consumers to the riders.

Paul said, “Innovation and disruption can come from anywhere. Anything can be disrupted or innovated.” From the traditional models come the innovative models which are not just creative but also sustainable.

Lastly, he said, “If you’re looking for ideas, shift the mindset. Check the problems in your community and think of ways on how you can make businesses out of it.”

If we are talking about creativity and innovation, one of the top entrepreneurs that comes to mind is one of Cebu’s pride – Kenneth Cobonpue. Kenneth is a multi-awarded and world-renowned furniture designer and manufacturer.

Because of his ingenuity in design, he was tasked to be the creative director for the APEC Economic Leaders’ Welcome Dinner. He highlighted the Filipino culture through the designs and even the chairs he produced for the special venue. He also made the limited-edition souvenirs for the event.

Kenneth shared that his inspirations came from the things around. Kenneth said, “You do not need to look far for inspiration.” He encouraged the audience to use creativity and innovation not only in their businesses but also in their everyday tasks to show the world that this country is capable of.

One of Go Negosyo trustees and President and CEO of Islands Group Jay Aldeguer attended the Innovators Forum together with Wilson Ng of Ng Khai Development Corporation, Jefferson Tan of Wellmade Motors and Development Corporation, Julita Urbina of Laguna Garden Café, and Peter Delantar of Nature’s Legacy Eximport.

Jay who has been with Go Negosyo since 2005, is a great example of innovative entrepreneur. Through Islands Groups, he has creatively improved the tourism industry by developing products and services that showcased the beauty of each province. He shared that with innovation and the right market, one can become successful.

Jocot de Dios, CEO of GE Philippines also joined us in the Innovation Forum and talked about the culture of innovation in their company. He shared, “In GE, our greatest asset is our people.”

Aside from them, we were also joined by several innovation enablers from different institutions and young innovators who shared how innovation helped their start-up companies go big in their respective industries.

These stories presented have imparted the value of innovation to our audience. We saw their tweets and feedback about the program and it revealed that this has helped them nurture creativity and develop better business models. We will soon share this program to other provinces and hopefully, they too will develop an enterprising and innovative mindset!


Go Innovate!

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Go Negosyo and US Embassy’s successful partnership has resulted to several wonderful projects such as last year’s Youth Entrepreneurship and Development Workshop (YEDW) wherein we discovered and honed the potential of young entrepreneurs.

This year, the embassy continues to support our advocacy by sponsoring Go Negosyo’s Mentor Me: Innovation Forum and bringing it to Cebu. This forum is tied-in with the YEDW program. It is a gathering of innovators and enablers whose expertise cover major topics such as innovative products or services development, operation processes, and innovative business models. YEDW-MMIF aims to gather participants from the youth sector, micro and small and medium entrepreneurs (MSMEs), aspiring young entrepreneurs, and academe to enhance their innovation models as a way to take the business to a higher growth plane.

We are expecting around 2,000 people to attend this forum.

As an entrepreneur, I know how important it is to consistently innovate. Over the years, I have seen brands perish, businessmen fail, and companies close because of their failure to innovate. If the world of business has a golden rule, it would be ‘innovate or die.’

The whole notion of innovation reminds me of the Nokia story. When Nokia was acquired by Microsoft, its CEO Stephen Elop ended his speech in tears saying, “We didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost.” In my opinion, they did do something wrong: they did not innovate. While Apple and Samsung were at each other’s throat all the time, competing to pioneer new features in the mobile and computer industry, Nokia kept it safe. It did not take risks. It did not try to compete with the best and that resulted to their downfall. This event made the world realize that even a company as big as Nokia can go down if they fail to innovate.

In the photo:  DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Sen. Bam Aquino, Kenneth Cobonpue, Kalibrr's Paul Rivera, Jocot de Dios of GE Philippines and Mobkard's Carlo Calimon,

In the photo: DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, Sen. Bam Aquino, Kenneth Cobonpue, Kalibrr’s Paul Rivera, Jocot de Dios of GE Philippines and Mobkard’s Carlo Calimon,

Some of our Go Negosyo entrepreneurs take on the challenge of innovation. There is Joseph Calata of Calata Corporation who first introduced a computerized system in their agribusiness in Bulacan. Through this innovative system, he was able to monitor sales, inventory, and expenses. Another innovative entrepreneur is Sherill Quintana who used rice bran in her Oryspa beauty products. Jasmine Basuil (Bake & Churn), on the other hand, developed ice cream cakes to cater to the Filipino sweet cravings. Destileria Limtuaco led by Olivia Limpe-Aw also innovated their alcohol products by incorporating fruits such as dragon fruits, kalamansi, dalandan, and mangoes.

Even at Go Negosyo, we strive to innovate to be able to meet the current needs of our followers. In fact, we are currently developing an online bookstore that will sell digital books to our readers. This is to make sure that we are also tapping the demands of the ‘digital citizens.’

Aside from businesses, we also see innovation in other areas such as entertainment, social media, transportation and even public governance. The K-12 educational system is a proof of this. We needed to change the system to keep up with the international standards.

I hope that we exceed the expected number of participants in the MMIF today. We have a great roster of speakers and panelists like Paul Rivera of Kalibrr. Paul is a Filipino-American who came back to the Philippines to found Kalibrr, a technology startup that’s been transforming how people find jobs. A year after its launch, Kalibrr now helps 500,000 jobseekers find opportunities in 10,000 of the best companies in the Philippines.

Another speaker is the world-renowned and multi-awarded furniture designer, Kenneth Cobonpue.  Kenneth is the designer and CEO of Interior Crafts Of The Islands Inc., a furniture design and manufacturing company founded by his mother in 1972. Known for his pieces of functional art and innovative handmade products, he has earned recognitions both here and abroad. Under his own brand, he has made exceptional pieces for Hollywood celebrities and royalties.

Jocot De Dios is also in the speakers’ line-up. He is the CEO of GE Philippines since 2012, and has deep business expertise and experience in the energy sector. JV has successfully served in various leadership roles including that of managing director of Nido Petroleum Ltd. in Australia, chairman of the Philippine National Oil Company Exploration Corp. and Undersecretary of the department of energy in the Philippines.

Lastly, one of Go Negosyo’s Angelpreneurs will speak: Carlo Calimon. He is the CEO of the tech company Mobkard and has been a mentor to many aspiring entrepreneur and MSMEs through Go Negosyo.

And more importantly, we will also be joined by Senator Bam Aquino and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Aside from these men, we will also be joined by other innovators such as Manny Osmena, Jay Aldeguer, Wilson Ng, Jefferson Tan, Julita Urbina, and Pete Delantar. Innovation enablers from different organizations will also join us such as Tina Amper (, Nonoy Espeleta (FAMCOR Franchise Management and Development Corporation), Joselito Limjap ( PLDT Innolab), Jeffrey Montecillos (CebuinIT), Miriam Bacalso (DTI GIZ-ProGED), Nelia Navarro (DTI), and JP Deloso (A Space Philippines).

Young innovators like Albert Padin (, Anya Lim (Anthill), Jojo Tiongko (San Jose Bakeshop), Slater Young (Litecrete Corporation), Wesley Chiongbian (, Gabino Abejo Jr. (Abejo Waters Corporation), and Vikki and Paulo Rodriguez (Detalia Aurora and Co-creative Studios) will also join the discussion!


Go Negosyo supports Philippine Franchise Association’s Franchise Asia Philippines 2016. With a theme “Building Inclusive Growth in a Hypercompetitive World”, the biggest franchise event hopes to reinforce the role of franchising in economic development and nation-building. We encourage you, Go Negosyantes, to visit this three-day expo of successful business models and franchise concepts.

Collaborative Leadership

Thursday, July 7th, 2016
Photo from Vice President Leni Robredo's official Facebook Page.

Photo from Vice President Leni Robredo’s official Facebook Page.

Last week, I was informed by my friend that in a dinner in Tondo, President Duterte mentioned Go Negosyo as one of organizations that can help bring employment and develop enterprises. Along with SME loans provided by financial institutions, Go Negosyo can provide mentorship and guidance for aspiring entrepreneurs.

This is the beginning of the change.

“But the change, if it is to be permanent and significant, must start with us and in us.”

This is a direct quotation from President Rodrigo Duterte during his inauguration speech last week. Though I was abroad, I am tuned in on the reports and updates on the inauguration. I was even able to catch his speech after taking his oath.

His inaugural address was clear and straight to the point. Unlike his usual speeches during the campaign season filled with unnecessary side comments and foul words, his inaugural speech was meaningful and insightful. He focused on the important matters such as those issues he wishes to resolve and the changes he will implement.

First, he acknowledged the Filipino people who have given him their full trust and faith to lead the country. He said, “No leader, however strong, can succeed at anything of national importance or significance unless he has the support and cooperation of the people he is tasked to lead and sworn to serve.” As we all know, more than 16 million voters voted for Duterte, a large percentage of which came from the youth sector and the OFWs working abroad.

Then, he identified the ‘problems that bedevil our country today’, such as corruption in the government, criminality, illegal drugs, and the breakdown of law and order. All these have been the focus of his campaign since day one and we know that these are rampant in the society today. He plans to remove these social diseases that bring the country in its lowest ebb.

With corruption cases filed against many government officials, people have lost their trust to the government thus resulting to loss of confidence in the system. I cannot blame the Filipino people. How can they trust the people in the government when these people whom they have voted for are stealing their money or doing illegal acts?

But as President Duterte said, “Indeed ours is a problem that dampens the human spirit. But all is not lost.” We still have hope.

He assured the public that he will adhere to due process and the rule of law. “As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I know the limits of power and authority of the president.” There have been doubts on how he will implement his plans but rest assured that as a President; he will not bend laws to favor him.

“Malasakit, tunay na pag-babago”, these are the slogans that were used during his campaign and will now be the main focus of his government: to deliver ‘real change’. We have been wanting, craving, for change but no one can deliver. This time, we can all hope that President Duterte will. But as I have said in my column last week, the change must also start with us. As members of the community, we should also try to change ourselves.

His last statement revealed his urgency to serve the country. “I am here because I love my country and I love the people of the Philippines. I am here, why? Because I am ready to start my work for the nation.”

Somehow, we are assured of his plans. We can trust the government again to push for change. To bring real change will take time but with the kind of leadership President Duterte promises to carry out, we can hope that after six years, we are a better Philippines.

On the same day but in a different time and venue, Leni Robredo also swore her oath as Vice President of the Philippines. Both of them have the same vision for the country, to bring inclusive growth to the country. I believe President Duterte and Vice President Robredo can collaborate to give hope to the underprivileged members of the community. Leni has always vowed to serve those who are in the fringes of the society.

She plans to resolve hunger and poverty, provide healthcare and education, and inspire people empowerment. She also called for those who want to help and contribute to her plans to meet her in her office and together, they will work for a better life for our fellowmen.

Despite having no position in the Duterte cabinet yet, Leni has promised to work and continue what she has started.

I believe that despite coming from different political parties and heated elections, both Duterte and Robredo can lead the country with their efforts to address the concerns of the Filipino people. With our cooperation, we can achieve the progress we long craved for. Let’s rally behind them and support collaborative leadership.

As what Jesse Robredo said, which Leni also mentioned in her speech, “What brings us together as a nation is far more powerful than what pulls us apart.”

Be Part of the Change

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Today, we officially welcome the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. After the taxing months of campaign and elections, the Filipino people have officially chosen the next leader of this country.

But before we usher in the next administration, let’s recognize first the outgoing Aquino administration who started the aggressive fight against corruption which then led to the boost in the economy. We are now considered to be one of the best performing economies in Asia and we continue to grow and develop. It had its fair share of successes and failures. But it has also left programs and developments that can be continued by the next government.

As President Duterte takes his oath as President today, we can say that there is a high expectation. As they say, “change is coming” under his leadership. More than 16 million voters from different sectors believed in his promise to change the country. Yes, we all desire change but as I have said in my previous columns, the change must come within us as well. We must change for the better like entrepreneurs who develop their products and improves their services. And this next president is sure to implement change.

President Duterte is known for his take on federalism. This will be a radical shift in the system but is said to be the solution for poverty and development of the regions.

My grandfather, Salvador Araneta, once wrote an article on federalism entitled “For a Federal Republic of the Philippines.” In this article, he discussed how federalism will work for the Philippines. He said that the Philippines has the geographical area and population to justify the establishment of Federal Republic of the Philippines. One of the key features of this type of government is the division of power. As this will divide the country into smaller states, there will also be a division of power: (1) constitutional powers, (2) active operating powers, and (3) moderating powers. It will be a collective leadership and a balance of powers between the Federal government and the state governments. His idea on collective leadership is that “it may be a very controversial provision, for by it, the leadership in the federal government and in the states shall not be vested in one person.”

Lastly, my grandfather added, “The best guarantee to prevent the death of democracy in any country is a federal system of government with a well-balanced collective leadership.”

Yes, federalism can be explored by the next administration. It might seem to be a new concept for majority of Filipinos, but once discussed and well-planned out, this can be an answer to the development of the poor regions with fair distribution of funds. Also, this will empower smaller communities to contribute and be part of the government. The government will be divided into state governments which will focus on the needs of their regions.

Aside from Duterte’s promise of Federalism, we can also expect him to fulfill his commitment of reducing crime and drugs within three to six months. While others may have raised their eyebrows on how he will implement this within a short span of time, I can see that it is doable. He has not taken his seat of power but we have seen reports of drug users and drug pushers who have surrendered themselves to the police, successful drug raids, and more. Let’s wait for his other plans on how he can further reduce criminality in this country.

But more than anything else, I and the whole entrepreneurship community look forward to his plans for economic development. His economic team, together with Ramon Lopez as his incoming DTI secretary, has created a 10-point socioeconomic agenda that will further boost the economy and address poverty in the country. One of the points raised is to ‘increase competitiveness and the ease of doing business’. This will greatly help the micro, small and medium entrepreneurs who comprise 99.6% of the economy. With the Go Negosyo Law and the Negosyo Centers in different provinces, there will be a stronger support from the government to guide and empower MSMEs. And with Mon Lopez at the helm of DTI, we can expect real change for MSMEs.

Yes, not all will become entrepreneurs, some may lead companies, or promote advocacies, but in whatever paths we take, we must have the drive to take new challenges. We must also develop our enterprising attitude that will lead us to greener pastures.

It is a big challenge for the next administration to stir the country to greater heights but we must all remember to contribute and be part of the development. As I always say, “Success is for those who want it the most”, so let us all strive to reach our own success!


(In Photo) L-R: Go Negosyo Adviser for MSME Development Merly Cruz, Calata Corporation President and CEO Joseph Calata, and Go Negosyo Outgoing Executive Director and Incoming DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

(In Photo) L-R: Go Negosyo Adviser for MSME Development Merly Cruz, Calata Corporation President and CEO Joseph Calata, and Go Negosyo Outgoing Executive Director and Incoming DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Calata Corporation led by its President and CEO Joseph Calata renews partnership with Go Negosyo and promises to continue supporting MSME development.


Go Negosyo in partnership with the US Embassy led by Ambassador Philip Goldberg is bringing the Mentor Me Innovation Forum to Cebu on July 14, 2016 at the Cultural Center of University of San Carlos. This forum is a gathering of innovators and enablers whose expertise will cover major topics such as innovative products or services development, operation processes, and innovative business models. We invite aspiring, young, and micro, small and medium entrepreneurs to take this chance to be inspired to innovate their business ideas to a higher level. For more information, please visit or call 637-9229 or 6379347.

Our Calling in Life

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

This column comes out on a day when we just want to push back the time in our life. My daughter Isabella is getting older and she loves and looks forward to her birthday as she wants to be able to do the things her sisters, who are very much older, do. While for us, it reminds us of our mortality and how much time we have left to pursue our dreams, passions, and most of all our calling in life.

When I was young, I really wanted to be the cape crusader, Batman. My father Joecon would buy me all his gadgets. My father also has his passion to serve even while he was building our company. He was too civic-minded and his legacy will be NAMFREL the organization that gave courage to Filipinos to fight for democracy through honest and peaceful elections and that as citizens we had to be part of that transformation – from dictatorship to real democracy.

As I look back, I took the inspiration from my father. Without really planning it, all these things have come to be. I find myself in an organization that is helping entrepreneurs who I believe are the country’s driving force that will help end poverty.

The fight to end or reduce the level of poverty in our country starts with instilling the right mindset to all Filipinos. It is poverty that can drive one’s passion to succeed for a better life but it is also sometimes draws into an attitude of “Bahala Na” or blind faith then blame others for their situation.

As you can see there are many Filipinos who have taken the path of working overseas because they want a better life for their family. While it is met with a lot of sacrifice like not being able to be with the family. But there are those who are unable to move abroad and work because they are farmers tilling the land they inherited or running their own businesses. Going abroad to work should not be the only option.

The attitude – “it’s time for me to help give a bright future”, is the attitude that many who want to succeed in life must have.

This is how Go Negosyo came to be. Its purpose was to give hope to those who have chosen a different path. For many years, it has been working with the DTI to complement its efforts in helping the micro and small entrepreneurs.  We know that DTI also looks at large companies, who bring in the investments, employment and income contribution to the GDP.  But it has equally strong efforts in helping the micro and small entrepreneurs.  With our outgoing Executive Director Mon Lopez joining DTI, we can expect greater push in widening the reach of the support to promote entrepreneurship especially in the countryside.  More programs that will enhance access to training and mentorship, market, value chain links to big enterprises, equipment and shared service facilities, shall be made.  What Go Negosyo is today at heart is what the Department of Trade and Industry will be.

When Mentor Me Program was conceptualized months ago, we heard the concerns of many start-ups, aspiring, and micro and small enterprises and their need for guidance. They needed someone who will mentor them. The Mentor Me program is aimed at helping MSMEs scale up through coaching. Mentors will be the business owners, practitioners, and experts who are well-experienced, backed up with years of entrepreneurial journey, equipped with knowledge and wisdom and can address the concerns and doubts of first-time entrepreneurs.

We are represented by Go Negosyo’s Executive Director and incoming Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Adviser for MSME Development and incoming Go Negosyo Executive Director Merly Cruz, and Special Programs Consultant Vix Madlangbayan; and PCCI was represented by its President George Barcelon.

We are represented by Go Negosyo’s Executive Director and incoming Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Adviser for MSME Development and incoming Go Negosyo Executive Director Merly Cruz, and Special Programs Consultant Vix Madlangbayan; and PCCI was represented by its President George Barcelon.

We are glad to have many institutional partners, aside from the Department of Trade and Industry and the office of Sen. Bam Aquino, who answered our call for mentors in different facets of entrepreneurship. We currently have more than 20 partners which includes the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc. (AFFI), Philippine Franchise Association (PFA), PLDT-SMART SME Nation, and many more.

Last Sunday, we sealed the partnership with PCCI, where they will help in mentoring micro and small entrepreneurs. PCCI is the largest organization of all businesses and we can be assured that the mentoring program will reach more MSMEs in different parts of the country as they have hundreds of members from local chambers as well.

I met with their President George Barcelon few months ago when we presented the Mentor Me program. During our discussion, we saw the shared vision of Go Negosyo and PCCI in mentoring and empowering the MSME sector.

With Mon Lopez as the next DTI chief, we are now welcoming former DTI Undersecretary Merly Cruz to be Go Negosyo’s Adviser for MSMEs. Her experience and expertise with the MSMEs will be of great supplement to the roll out of Go Negosyo programs most especially in MSME development.

Apart from the signing ceremony, PCCI also hosted a dinner with their local and national officers and members and with the incoming cabinet members such as Secretaries-designate Carlos Dominguez of Finance, Ernesto Pernia of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and Lopez of DTI.

Incoming DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez said that with these partnerships and greater collaboration with the private sector, the government allows members of the community to contribute as well to their programs. Incoming NEDA chief Ernesto Pernia shared that one of President Duterte’s economic programs is the rural development which will help the disperse developments into the regions thus empowering the MSMEs in the provinces.

Go Negosyo also participated in the two-day consultative session called Sulong Pilipinas, to get the various stakeholders’ views on President-elect Duterte’s 10-point socio-economic agenda. Merly and Go Negosyo’s Special Project Consultant Vix Madlangbayan represented Go Negosyo in the said forum.

Hopefully, with a much stronger partnership between the government and private institutions such as Go Negosyo, our country and people can truly achieve what we call a real inclusive growth.

My 3 Wishes

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

I have always been grateful to reach the public in this manner and for those who have been following my columns for the past ten years, I have always shared what I think and feel openly, and I hope this will inspire or enlighten some of you.

We are now in Europe, a total of 52 in the group composed of my brothers and sisters, children, and some of our grandchildren.  We are celebrating my mother’s 80th birthday. For seven days, all of us have to bond with each other in one cruise ship. Our father is 84 years old and his memory fails him at times. He would sometimes ask me who my wife is, and at other times, he would ask my wife who am I. In a video dedicated to my mom’s life for the past 80 years, my father took us by surprise on his reaffirmation of love for my mother.

Since I was a teenager, it has somehow become a normal routine to visit churches wherever our family travels. It has become a tradition to make three wishes in every church that we visit for the first time. My parents would always remind us about our wishes and I have seen many of them come true. My wife is one of the wishes that came true. I asked for her many years ago and she has been by my side for 33 years now. This trip which ended just the other day has brought us to many churches in small towns that I have never been to before.

One of my wishes, and I don’t mind sharing this with you our loyal Go Negosyo readers, is how Go Negosyo can play a bigger role in this new administration in helping the millions of micro and small entrepreneurs in the country. As a foundation for the past 11 years, we have been doing our part in community development through entrepreneurship. What we need now is on how to level up the support needed.

President Duterte reaffirmed that it was just the big businesses that benefit the most. But millions of micro and small entrepreneurs are somehow not experiencing this booming economy for many reasons.

About two weeks ago, I unexpectedly received a call in my other phone. This phone is usually turned off during my travels abroad but on that day, I turned it on and the phone rang. It was a call from Duterte’s group asking if I would like to be part of his team. In that moment, I felt honored of being asked and being offered to play a bigger task. But I knew then that being in the business would be a conflict to the position that was being offered. Honestly speaking, in my mind, I am turning down an answered prayer and the chance to take things like Go Negosyo to the next level. I however offered to help in the area of MSME development in whatever capacity which has no conflict. This way, Go Negosyo and I can work with the enablers in the government for entrepreneurship development.

Sen. Bam Aquino and Ramon Lopez.

Sen. Bam Aquino and Ramon Lopez.

I recommended Ramon Lopez instead, Executive Director of Go Negosyo, who I felt was ready and a better candidate given his experience in business operations, economic development policy-making and passion to help the micro, small and medium enterprises. He would also have no conflict of interest.  He has been with me in Go Negosyo for the past 11 years and understands and shares the same vision of making this country an enterprising nation by helping marginalized entrepreneurs to level up. He has also gained the support of many entrepreneurs and organizations that have been part of the advocacy since the beginning. I am proud to say that I have known Mon for many years and I know that he has the competency, experience, energy and integrity to play a bigger role now in helping small entrepreneurs reach their dreams and the overall process of combatting and finally winning over poverty in this country.

And with Sen. Bam Aquino, who has passed so many laws in helping entrepreneurs, Mon will make sure that these will all be implemented. Bam’s Go Negosyo Law, the first law he passed as a senator, will be establishing hundreds of Negosyo Centers across the Philippines that will be manned and operated by the right people with the right programs. This will then provide the needed technical support and knowledge to all micro and small entrepreneurs.

For now, our entrepreneurs will have an ally in the Department of Trade and Industry as Mon assumes his role as the secretary. Yes, my wish is granted now that Mon is leading the department that will closely help micro entrepreneurs. In the end, we all want to see small entrepreneurs become like the next taipan. With the help and support of enablers, government agencies, and organizations other than Go Negosyo, it is not impossible to see them all level up. This will muster public-private partnership which will then consolidate the strengths of all groups to help MSMEs.

But that is not the end of my wish for entrepreneurs, I know that this is just part of the process in seeing a bright future for many Filipinos. This is just the beginning. It’s now the time for MSMEs to shine bright in this country!