Around 5,000 OFWs and their immediate families came to participate in the 1st OFW and Family Summit, which was held at the World Trade Center tent last November 24, 2011. Presented by the Villar Foundation in partnership with the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship – Go Negosyo, the summit seeks to empower OFWs by teaching the basic how-tos to move up in life through entrepreneurship.
In her opening remarks, the former Las Pinas congresswoman and Villar Foundation’s Managing Director Cynthia Villar recognized the efforts of the OFWs in ensuring the future of their families by working overseas, as well as their contribution to the economy through their remittances. She also stressed the importance of being able to invest their hard-earned money by establishing their own small business. Following her speech was Ramon M. Lopez, the Executive Director of the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship, who discussed the Go Negosyo advocacy and the importance of developing an entrepreneurial mindset and the having the know-how to succeed in life. He also elaborated on how Go Negosyo can assist aspiring entrepreneurs.
A special message was presented by Go Negosyo’s founding trustee Mr. Joey Concepcion, where he expressed his admiration to the OFWs for their dedication, as well as his desire to see them out of poverty by establishing their own businesses. He then called up onstage two of this year’s Citi Foundation’s Microentrepreneur of the Year awardees, recognizing them as personifications of the “Sipag at Tiyaga” motto. Corazon Bautista, this year’s National Masikap awardee, is a seamstress who now supplies ready-to-wear apparel in five malls in Metro Manila from an initial loan of Php 5,000. She was given the stage after Mr. Concepcion’s speech to share with the OFWs her secrets to success. On the other hand, National Maunlad awardee Carina Gonato used to be an employee of a Magnolia chicken factory, when she developed her own lumpia recipe and branded it as “Nateck’s Chicken Lumpia”. She now produces up to 6,000 packs of lumpia per day, which she sells to regular wholesale buyers.
The highlight of the program was the keynote speech by the Founding Chairman of Villar Foundation, Sen. Manny Villar. He shared how a wife of an OFW gave him the break by entrusting him to build a house out of her husband’s hard earned money. He also revealed that the team-up between Villar Foundation and Go Negosyo aims to educate the OFWs in seeking other opportunities to earn, with the benefit of being with their own families in their home country. Villar encouraged the OFWs in attendance to be unafraid in venturing to other options to improve their lives.
Forums and talks continued through the day, starting with the Tagumpay forum, which featured former OFWs Prudencio Garcia and Myrna Padilla who are now successful entrepreneurs managing their own corporations, Mekeni Foods Corporation and Mynd Consulting, a business process outsourcing company. Financial literacy expert Randell Tiongson also shared his insights on how to properly invest money into business. The second forum highlighted how to spot a good business opportunity through Puregold Price Club’s President Leonardo Dayao Sr., Marikina Shoe Exchange and Natasha’s founder Victoria Villar, and Avon’s Process Development Manager Shiela Culpa.
Meanwhile, three of Go Negosyo’s Angelpreneurs gave individual talks on various entrepreneurial topics. Michael Angelo Lobrin, author of “Laugh with God Today” provided a funny yet meaningful talk on entrepreneurial mindset. The Entrepreneurs School of Asia’s former dean Francisco “Pax” Lapid shared tips on how a negosyo should be managed. Furthermore, Armando “Butz” Bartolome, the country’s Franchise Guru, provided real-time examples of businesses that may “click” with the OFWs. On the other hand, Ms. Susan “Toots” Ople, President of the Blas F. Ople Center talked about the different plight of the OFWs and their reintegration, while Luisa Reyes, a Director from the Overseas Workers Welfare Association, talked about how the government can assist the OFWs should they decide to start anew here in the country.
The event was graced by the lively hosts RJ Ledesma and Love Anover, as Pilipinas Got Talent Season 3’s Jet Barrun, Ray Gapuz, and ASAP Rocks mainstay Zia Quizon serenaded the crowd with their song numbers.
Another highlight of the event is the raffle draw. During the day, minor prizes from t-shirts to mobile phones were given away, courtesy of San Miguel Corporation, Smart Communications, Wil Time Bigtime, Vista Land, and GMA Pinoy TV. Five OFWs were drawn to receive Kettle Korn dealership packages, while another one got the Swift Negosyo Cart worth Php 100,000.
The crowd erupted into cheers when Foresa Morada, a wife of an OFW from Quezon City, was called as the winner of the house and lot from Camella Homes. Moved into tears, she shared that her husband has been overseas for quite some time, but because of his dedication they were able to send their three children to school. At present, all of their children are engineers and are beginning to start their own lives.
This is the first OFW summit conducted by the Villar Foundation and Go Negosyo. With the success of this event, it is with hope that these organizations were able to impart the values and relevance of putting hard-earned money to good use by investing it in a suitable business. Both organizations dream that someday, Filipinos will take advantage of the numerous opportunities to prosper here in the country through the course of entrepreneurship, alongside their loved ones.
Villar Foundation and Go Negosyo – Kabuhayan para sa Kinabukasan!