GO NEGOSYO recognizes Filipina social entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship enablers

February 28th, 2011

All over the globe, March is celebrated as Women’s Month. I’m sure that the different countries have their own activities and events in observance of this time of the year. For Go Negosyo, together with GMA Network and The Philippine Star, we are preparing the biggest women entrepreneurship event for the year – the Go Negosyo Babae Kapuso Ka ng Bayan Women Entrepreneurship Summit and Expo. This will be our third women summit, and it will be the biggest yet.

Aside from three days of seminars, expos and entertainment, we will be recognizing Filipinas who have made a mark in our country. They are women who have gracefully balanced life, family, pursuits and service to community. They are the 2011 Go Negosyo Filipina Starpreneurs. This is our way of recognizing inspiring women entrepreneurs and enablers, who have made a difference in their fields and have become role models as women with positive enterprising mindset, passion and innovative skills.

In my previous column, we featured the stories of the Starpreneurs to be recognized in the large entrepreneur category. This time, I would like to share the stories of Starpreneurs who are social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship enablers.


Of course, who would not be familiar with the resounding name of Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto. In the glamorous world of entertainment, she is considered to be royalty –the “Star for All Seasons.” In government and politics, she has also made a name as a well-respected, multi-awarded and accomplished public servant.

Governor Vi, as she is now fondly called, was the first woman mayor of Lipa, Batangas. She served for three consecutive terms. She also became the first female governor of Batangas Province and was re-elected for her second term during the May 2010 elections.

Many people know of her acting awards, but Gov. Vi has also been getting recognition for her unrelenting service to Batangas and the people. She has been recognized as Most Outstanding Mayor four times during her term by the Civil Service Commission and numerous organizations. She has also been part of the Ten Outstanding Young Leaders in the country and has brought many distinctions to the City of Lipa. Despite these, Gov. Vi has worked silently and has focused her time and energy in developing Batangas. Here accomplishment can be seen in the development of her territory. As Governor, she has launched her H.E.A.R.T.S. Program which aims to improve Health, Education, Agriculture, Roads and Tourism of Batangas.

One woman who has made a name for herself as a successful entrepreneur and an effective leader of social change in the Philippines is Ruth Callanta, the founder and President of the Center for Community Transformation (CCT).

It all started when she was just a young Anthropology graduate from the University of the Philippines who was eager to find answers on how to implement change in her native land. Her questions led her to pursue a career in research at the Philippine Business for Social Progress where she was exposed not only to the more pressing issues of the society, but also to the means on how to bring about true change.

Optimistic to reach out and do more, she founded the Center for Community Transformation (CCT) in 1992 with the intention of introducing a long-term solution to fight poverty in the country. Since then, she has devoted her time and talent to teaching impoverished Filipinos income-generating skills and assisting them with microfinancing programs to help them jumpstart their own negosyos. It is her sense of mission that drove her to start being a solution to the problems around us.

And because of Ruth’s devotion to helping the community, the small organization has become a massive non-profit, self-sustaining social enterprise with more than 850 fulltime workers and 130 branches that reach out to more than a hundred thousand beneficiaries all over the Philippines. She believes that true transformation happens when Christ is placed at the center of our lives; and so CCT has focused on a holistic approach to empowerment and reformation. CCT has established several other ministries including a scholarship program, housing program and a training company to help more of our fellow Filipinos rise above poverty.

Pacita “Chit” Juan is another inspiring womanpreneur who’s effectively promoting social and environmental change in the Philippines through her successful negosyo, ECHOstore (which stands for Environment, Community, Hope Organization). Chit has always been an advocate of environmental causes and she has spearheaded numerous campaigns to promote “living green.”

It was 1999 when she initiated treeplanting activities all-over the Philippines to help push for environmental awareness. Since then, Chit has devoted her time to her advocacy and worked hand in hand with the Department of Agriculture on treeplanting tours in different regions in the Philippines. She also promoted organic farming in Kalinga, Ifugao and Benguet. In 2007, Chit launched a program called “Live Green” and introduced Filipinos to the eco-friendly lifestyle.

Chit knew there is so much to be done to make environmental causes part of the consciousness of Filipinos; and so she thought of a negosyo that would help Filipinos ease their way into living green. In 2008, Chit took her advocacy to a whole new level by turning it into a successful social enterprise. ECHOstore is a retail shop that offers “upcycled” products by marginalized groups making use of old newspapers, magazines, juice pouches and even tarpaulin from billboards. It is her way of showing the people that by being resourceful and creative, we can help save the environment and preserve it for future generations.

Chit has also put up “Le Bistro Vert” (The Green Bistro), a restaurant that supports the joy of eating sustainably. The products and the food that she serves are environment-friendly and organically-grown from small farms all over the Philippines. These are just a few of what keeps Chit Juan busy. But one thing is for sure, her negosyos and her activities are all in-line with her advocacy to protect and preserve the environment. She is a proud social entrepreneur who runs environment-friendly, sustainable and socially-conscious negosyos.

ms-bing-limjoco-ceo-of-francorp-philippinesAlegria “Bing” Sibal-Limjoco is also another inspiring woman negosyante who we will be recognizing as a Filipina Starpreneur for her immense contribution in the field of entrepreneurship. Many of you may recognize her as a familiar name in the publishing industry, but not a lot know that she is also the woman behind a number of the most successful business franchises in the country.

As CEO of Francorp Philippines for fifteen years, she has been helping and inspiring entrepreneurs, big and small, to expand their negosyo through franchising. Bing has been steering one of the premier franchise developers in the country to its peak. Her company, Francorp Philippines, is part of the worldwide network of Francorp International, which specializes in franchise development and consulting.

Bing has already assisted and helped develop more than 200 negosyos into successful franchises in the country. Aside from Francorp, she is also busy sharing her talent with the Philippine Franchise Association. She has been the President of PFA twice; and now, she has taken the role of Vice Chairman. Bing is also serving as the Chairperson for the Philippine International Franchise Conference Expo (PIFCE) and has been representing the Philippines in the biggest international franchising events.

What is truly admirable about Bing is that her work and success is founded on her desire to help out others who can benefit from what she knows. She believes that franchising is an effective tool to grow negosyos and encourage economic development as it creates more jobs and enterprises. It is her way of promoting entrepreneurship to help elevate the quality of life of our fellow Filipinos.

We would like to invite every woman (and man) to join us in the Go Negosyo Babae Kapuso Ka ng Bayan Women Entrepreneurship Summit and Expo from March 4 to 6 at the World Trade Center. It will be an experience that will surely be remembered.