Some of the mentees who scaled up after successfully joining Kapatid Mentor ME Program of Go Negosyo and DTI.
While I always stress the importance of money, market and mentorship, I personally believe that mentorship is the most vital. That is why, aside from the success of the Kapatid Mentor Me (KMME) and Kapatid Agri Mentor Me, we continue to develop mentoring programs for aspiring and start-up entrepreneurs such as the Mentor Me On Wheels.
After its successful launch last May 11, we are bringing it to Southern Luzon on June 2 at the SM City Calamba.
From the many successful batches of KMME, I will share with you some stories of micro and small entrepreneurs who were able to scale up their businesses and increase their sales after they attended KMME. Most of the KMME graduates were given loans and equipment from government offices such as DTI, DOST, DA, DOLE and banking institutions like BPI and Security Bank. I am thankful to these institutions as they were also able to see the potential of small businesses to prosper.
Fely Jean Pacris had a vision to start her own business. So in 2014, she started her own resort with only five rooms. After KMME, MASCOOP Training Center and Beach Resort has been able to introduce products made from banana and other tropical fruits and has been able to increase its sales by more than 10 percent. The resort plans to improve its services and establish market awareness. Pacris also received a loan from DOLE and equipment from DTI.
With only a small starting capital, Alexander Parel and his family set Antigua de Madera Furniture in the 1990s. Attending KMME Parel equipped with the right skills to manage his business as he does not depend on others. His business is now more organized because it has a system. He also learned how to handle his employees through modules on human resource management. Additionally, he received a loan from DOST.
To satisfy his summer cravings, Xavier Mercado decided to start his own halo-halo store in April 2004. With a small starting capital, he started his business. He eventually ventured into Filipino cuisine fused with his Ilocano roots. He got a loan from Security Bank. Now, Halo Halo De Iloko is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations as it also features art pieces from local artists and has caught the interest of TV and magazine programs both locally and internationally. It is also setting up a new branch and intends to build another next year.
Virginia Piano’s family originally wanted to create something special to give to her co-teacher. It also gave her family an opportunity to have an alternative source of income.
With only a meager capital, Virginia Piano started producing products made of muscovado, suka (vinegar), and tubo (sugarcane) in 2005. After KMME, the business improved its product and target market. The Ilocos Sur Cooperative also provided a loan for business development. For Virginia, KMME equipped her with the appropriate knowledge especially for small business owners like her.
Jesus Jose Jr.’s mom originally started the business by making leche flans for her co-workers. She eventually taught him how to do it with their secret ingredient. According to Jose, he had no luck being an employee that is why he tried being an entrepreneur and established Bakeology Sweets Factory. They used to sell their products in bazaars and other local events like the Panagbenga Festival. Just this year, they opened their first physical store in Paciano Terminal and were also able to penetrate 7-Eleven stores in Laguna where they provide two product cycles.
Zam’s Delight Foods started out as a grocery store, but eventually ventured into calamansi drink products. Sheryl Jean Candido and her family developed the flavor according to their own tastes as they used to make calamansi juice to quench their own thirsts. For Sheryl, attending KMME boosted her self-confidence to pursue her business despite competition in the market. The program also helped entrepreneurs to innovate and level up in life. She received financing from BPI and was provided with machineries by DOST.
Maria J’s Coffee Shop and Kitchenette was able to increase its sales, production, and customers. KMME helped Maria Julieta Berces’ business in handling the company’s finances.
Judit Alday-Mangmang started Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative with only 10 employees. After KMME, she hired more than 40 employees due to the increase in the demand for her egg products. KMME helped her to handle her employees and establish a network to market her products. She then developed a framework for her pasteurized eggs which she calls the “Egg-o System.” Additionally, DA also extended a loan for her business.
Leonie Reyes’ Natures Dew Enterprises produces 500 bottles for each of their six variants which will soon be distributed through Rustan’s Supermarkets. It is still seeking additional funding support. Leonie learned how to create and execute better business plans and was tapped to train other aspiring SMEs about financial modules.
Raymond and Lanie Fruits and Vegetables was able to set up four stalls in Robinsons malls and supply its products in Laoag and La Union. The success of Melanie Pinedo’s business paved the way for a house, car, and farm investment and market expansion in Metro Manila.
Every time stories like these are reported to me, it reminds me that our programs are effective in empowering and guiding our MSMES. I hope that with these stories, we can continue to inspire everyone to embrace the entrepreneurial culture and start conceptualizing their own businesses.
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion led the launch of the Mentor Me On Wheels last May 11, 2018 at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall. He mentored JB Estrada who is a start-up entrepreneur who specializes in pastries and breads.
I cannot stress enough that mentorship is key in helping our micro and small entrepreneurs. In fact, when I was starting as an entrepreneur, I was mentored well by my father, that is why I strongly believe that bringing our mentors close to the people will help our budding business owners to embrace the entrepreneurial culture.
Last May 11, Go Negosyo launched the first leg of the Mentor Me on Wheels (MMOW) at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall together with Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, mentors Johnlu Koa, and Josiah Go, and other dedicated mentors from different areas of entrepreneurship expertise. It was a free one-on-one mentorship session from a pool of successful entrepreneur-mentors. This first and biggest mentoring session is just one of many MMOW launches we plan to hold in partnership with the different malls nationwide.
We shared our knowledge on entrepreneurial mind-setting and marketing to aspiring and start-up business owners from all over the country. JB Estrada was one of the mentees to whom I personally shared my experiences and business tips on becoming an entrepreneur. I learned that JB’s mom really loves serving breakfast every morning for her family. She usually posts them online, so friends took notice of the bread she bakes. Because of the response, they decided to start the business at home.
He talked about how they struggled with running the business, especially his mom as she cooks everything from scratch. He also asked for help in developing the branding of his business and attracting potential customers. He also mentioned about their closed trucking business previously operated by his father. I asked my assistant to link him with our company, RFM Corp., to explore breads and pastries development and the possibility of a business venture for their trucking.
I also asked him to meet with Johnlu Koa, who is behind the successful French Baker, to gain more knowledge about the baking industry. I am certain that he learned a lot from Johnlu as they both share the same passion for baking.
Lorenzo Llera, one of the attendees, was in luck as he was also able to gain new concepts from our experienced mentors. He also started a baking business to have an alternative source of income and be self-sufficient. He owns and bakes his own Filipino food products like monay, loaf bread, pandesal and ensaymada. Johnlu also gave him advice on how to market his own brand and make a name for it so more people would know about his business.
Sec. Lopez mentored Claverene Ramos on how to run her computer and gadgets shop. I am certain she gained new ideas because she is now conceptualizing her business plan. I hope Sec. Lopez’s advice on being passionate in everything you do will eventually bear fruit as her business flourishes.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez also joined the launch of the first and biggest one-on-one mentoring session. Claverene Ramos who travelled all the way from Lobo, Batangas was lucky to receive mentorship from Sec. Lopez.
Ma. Anjellica San Miguel sought advice from Josiah Go on how to sustain her cafe. She learned how to be more disciplined in handling her employees and, at the same time, gained some helpful ideas on how to market her business.
Butz Bartolome, one of our pioneer mentors for the past 13 years, dedicated his time to mentor during this launch. He shared that gone are the days that we do not get to actually interact with our stakeholders. Seeing their smiling faces after our one-on-one mentorship sessions is really an indicator that we are really filling the gap between us and these budding entrepreneurs. Through MMOW, according to him, we walk the journey with them.
I salute Toto Barcelona, one of our mentors in our Kapatid Agri Mentor ME Program, as he personally attended to the needs of our mentees in the agriculture sector. He said this opportunity was a great avenue in concretizing their business plans. One-on-one sessions help in making the approach more personal to our mentees.
Delby Bragais said that there is really more to mentoring than making money. She said that the business landscape is changing fast and we need to embrace the technologies available to help micro and small enterprises scale up. I hope that the launch of our mobile application will further expand our reach to those who cannot go to the malls and other venues for Go Negosyo’s programs like Kapatid Mentor Me and Kapatid Agri Mentor Me.
I agree with what Sec. Mon said that MMOW is really a testament to a stronger public-private partnership. I want to thank our mentors for sharing their time, effort and expertise on how to become successful entrepreneurs. Participating in one-on-one mentoring sessions is not only rewarding, but also a memorable experience for me and all the dedicated and patient mentors.
I wish success to everyone who attended the event. May you take the lessons with you as you plan your own enterprises. I hope the next MMOW launch will be welcomed by many aspiring entrepreneurs so we can help them scale up their lives.
Around 500 pre-registered aspiring and start-up entrepreneurs signed up as mentees during the launch of the Mentor Me On Wheels.
Business organizations who are now part of the Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance discussed programs for stronger money, market and mentorship for MSMEs.
Over the years, Go Negosyo has gathered many entrepreneurs who are all willing to be part of the advocacy of inclusive growth. And now, since my appointment as the presidential adviser for Entrepreneurship in the Duterte administration, I am uniting all business organizations to form a stronger private sector which is in full support of the government’s programs in MSME development.
Recently, I met with leaders of business organizations who have long been part of Go Negosyo and led the creation of the Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance. The alliance is composed of private and public organizations that come together to alleviate poverty in the Philippines. Members of the alliance each presented their efforts in building an avenue for inclusive economic growth, especially the underserved sectors of the society.
If you can remember, we launched a similar group last year. This time, we have tapped more organizations and associations to form part of the group together with key public sector stakeholders.
The alliance meeting was attended by George Barcelon and Bing Limjoco from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Rex Daryanani of the Federation of Indian Chambers Philippines, Ben Castillo from Bankers Association of the Philippines, Ramon Fernandez and Marife Zamora of the Management Association of the Philippines, Jun Ortiz-Luis of Philippine Exporters Confederation, Samie Lim and Richard Sanz of Philippine Franchising Association, Paul Santos of Philippine Retailers Association among others.
Aside from gathering the members, the main objective of the meeting was to apprise them of the Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance launch with President Duterte which will formalize the alliance and the strategic framework laying down the priorities of the group which is digitalization of microentrepreneurs, particularly the sari-sari stores and other nano-entrepreneurs, island tourism roadmap and agribusiness development. These will help us identify what we want to achieve in the next four years to help the government and how we will achieve them.
There is a need to digitalize our micro-entrepreneurs to help them become more efficient. In the case of sari-sari stores, making them go online will help them separate their own money from the money their business generates. By equipping them with e-wallet and enabling them with fintech solutions, it will be easier for them to access money even from their mobile phones.
The next one, which is tourism, is now seen as one of the priorities of the government, after having to close down Boracay. One major action that should be done here is airport rehabilitation. Last month, I chaired the meeting joined by the economic team together with the conglomerates to discuss the unsolicited proposals that will help the government align with its Build Build Build program. Airport rehabilitation will eventually further boost tourism in our country.
Lastly, the agribusiness development. A model that works well is the Yazaki-Torres model wherein the 3Ms converge. Mr. Feliciano Torres of Yazaki-Torres hired a mentor to help the farmers while providing the money through his rural bank and basically buying all the rice produced for all his employees.
Initially, we presented the programs of the government sector which are directed or can be linked to MSME development clustered under the 3Ms of MSME development (mentorship, money and market) as an inventory of the initiatives where the private sector could be of help.
Other programs led by the private sector was discussed as well, which includes our Kapatid Mentor ME Program and the Kapatid Agri Mentor ME Program.
I agree with George when he shared that through the alliance, business organizations working as a team would provide a leverage for MSME owners to be equipped with the right skills and knowledge. The alliance will help on continuing and sustaining actions geared towards the 3Ms, Marife added.
People Management Association of the Philippines president Ramon Segismundo asserted the need to have a “start-up society” to build an entrepreneurial culture with hard work, frugality, risk-taking, and innovation. He also mentioned recognizing the role models, implementing a rewards-and-consequences system, promoting learning to fail, developing a grassroots innovation process, and developing the entrepreneur’s competency and values as ways on achieving the said goal.
Meanwhile, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines president Dan Lachica suggested to reach out to retirees who can become mentors to Go Negosyo’s programs and other endeavors. He also mentioned the need to improve the electronics industry which can eventually contribute to the infrastructure programs of the government.
Both PFA and AFFI agreed that franchising could help MSMEs expand. Jorge Wieneke, director of AFFI who is also one of our pioneer mentors pledged their commitment to the mentorship program. Richard Sanz, who is now the president of PFA, supports the digitalization initiatives. PFA has also partnered with Go Negosyo for their program Franchising Intervention in Rebuilding Marawi (FIRM). I suggested to these two groups of franchisers to lead the digitalization by putting QR codes in their stores for the cashless payments and to incentivize their entrepreneurs who are executing this projects.
I also would like to highlight the suggestion of Jun Ortiz-Luis on converting a portion of the Conditional Cash Transfer of the DSWD and reallocate it to fund programs which will create more businesses and more jobs. This is one of our initial ideas when we were consolidating inputs on 3Ms.
Bankers Association of the Philippines managing director Benjamin Castillo suggested that since there are different providers of digital money (ex. Globe and Smart), interconnectedness system should be implemented in order to push for digital growth. By year 2020, as mandated by BSP, BAP would lead the formation of structure and regulation for digital payments.
MJ Panganiban, one of the directors of the Digital Commerce Association of the Philippines (DCOM), reported that DCOM is working on digital platforms, marketplace, payment solutions, and logistics to help provide a better e-commerce roadmap. According to him, DCOM is developing a platform where customers can order directly to sari-sari stores.
With this alliance, we hope to bring growth to the money and market aspect as it goes side by side with the mentorship programs. I would like to highlight that Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance is how private and public sector can come together to bring down the level of poverty and hopefully bring prosperity for all.
During the last long weekend, I invited a group of friends to join our family in exploring the beauty of some of our islands. Together we toured the majestic islands of Palawan, including Coron, Busuanga and Linapacan. Despite being well traveled, many of them had not seen this side of the Philippines.
Over three days, the group was able to see and enjoy the sandbars, lagoons, but most of all the serenity of the islands. Joining us were Hans and Carol Sy, Ernest and Arlene Cu, Sen. Sonny and Tootsie Angara, Rikki and Beng Dee, Chris and Patty Chilip, Eric and May Yu, Mikey and Lizette Cojuangco, Naresh Mirani, Manuel and Karin Igual, Haresh and Sharmela Hiranand, Kevin and Rosanne Belmonte and John and Peachy Concepcion.
Clearly, Hans and Naresh, who joined us for the day, saw the beauty that the Philippines can offer. It definitely was not their comfort zone but they were game enough to join us for a swim on a private island owned by Charles McCulloch. Our host was gracious enough to invite the entire group for a well-prepared lunch. Ariara is a private island that you can rent and not have to worry about anything because they will do everything for you.
Governor Jose Alvarez joined the group for dinner and was gracious enough to ensure we had a great time. He shared with us his plans for Coron, Busuanga and Linapacan. I told him that we have been coming here for years and this place is Boracay and the Visayas islands rolled into one. The Apo Reef, which is off Busuanga’s waters, is one of the best reefs for diving in the Philippines.
We also had one of the greatest encounters with a dugong or sea cow in the waters of Busuanga. I am glad that the residents impose very strict rules and regulations before they take you to the diving site, which means there are limited and restricted areas for swimming and exploring.
The elegant Busuanga Bay Lodge (BBL) was our home for a few days. For the past 20 years we have been exploring the Philippine islands and have seen its great potential. BBL did an excellent job in impressing our visitors with a great dinner setup on the island’s south cay for close to 40 people.
In the end, it was a great bonding experience with our good friends. We are glad to share with them what we have seen throughout the years. Yes, the Philippines has more than 7,000 islands, which offer a lot of opportunities to countless Filipinos. By being entrepreneurs in the tourism industry, they can be part of tourism growth. But in return, we need to take care of the environment because these islands are our treasures.
South Cay Island in Coron
Joining me in photo are Roseanne Belmonte, Charles McCulloch and Kevin Belmonte
The ladies enjoying their summer outfits. [In photo L-R] Carol Sy, Beng Dee, Arlene Cu, Marissa Concepcion, Peachy Concepcion, Karin Igual, Sharmela Hiranand, Roseanne Belmonte, Lizette Cojuangco, Tootsie Angara, and May Yu.
Our big group who enjoyed the Palawan tour.
Kevin and Roseanne Belmonte with Sen. Sonny Angara at the back.
Another group shot as we arrive in another island.
Our group enjoying the well-prepared lunch in the island of Ariara.
Beautiful sunset seen from one of the islands of Palawan
The dugong we saw in the waters of Busuanga.
The beautiful South Cay Island in Coron
Our friends enjoyed our lovely stay in Busuanga Bay Lodge.
Patty Chilip, Carol Sy, and Tootsie Angara.
The gentlemen enjoying our stay in the beach.
Rikki and Beng Dee
Ernest and Arlene Cu
Sen. Sonny Angara and wife, Tootsie.
The big dugong in Busuanga
Kevin and Roseanne Belmonte
Coron bay at sunset.
Beng Dee waving at the drone camera.
Ariara Cottages and Pool
Dive boat Bella leaving South Cay.
A monitor lizard we saw in Palawan.
Sen. Angara, Gov. Alvarez, and I.
Marissa and I.
One of the sandbars in Palawan.
Going digital is one of the hottest topics in the business community lately, with many traditional brick and mortar businesses launching online platforms for their companies, and new digital players emerging in the industry. Because of this, I strongly believe digital is a great equalizer for micro and small entrepreneurs.
Last April 26, I, together with my digital adviser Jopin Romero who is also a fintech player, led the first dialogue on enabling MSMEs, through the digital economy with government officials, fintech and e-commerce players.
Present in the meeting were Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier, Rep. Peter Unabia, Gov. Abet Garcia of Bataan, Gil Gonzales (ASEAN BAC), Ron Tucker (Australia Digital Commerce Association), Anthony Thomas (Mynt), Lito Villanueva (FintQ), Dindo Marzan (Voyager Innovations), Andres Torres (Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines), Eugene Acevedo (UnionBank), Mark Ruiz (Hapinoy), Ed Sunico (Unilever Philippines), Ibba Bernardo (Sari.ph), Martin Yu (Shopee), Lawrence Ferrer (Paymaya), Ivy Piedad (Puregold), among others.
I have always grounded my advocacy with the 3Ms: mentorship, money, and market. As you all know, we have partnered with government institutions like DTI, DA, and DAR in providing mentorship with the offline sector.
But to me, the biggest game changer is the digital economy which is also a disruptor for big businesses. We want to see both offline and online businesses complementing each other. MSMEs must embrace online because it provides them with a platform where they can have e-wallets and transact online. Through e-wallet, SMEs will be able to manage their finances better. I think that as we move forward, we want our country to be more digitally inclusive which is why our Kapatid partners have been developing ways to digitally enable MSMEs with the right technologies and environment.
BSP Dep. Gov. Fonacier reported that most unbanked Filipinos have mobile phones that contribute to the increase in the number of people engaging in digital payments. However, there’s still a very long way to go as far as digitalization and fintech is concerned. She shared that in the recent Findex study, 41 percent of unbanked adults cited that the distance to a financial institution hinders them from owning a formal bank account. Another concern is the development of a national ID system which will aid in opening a basic account. We are glad that even the BSP has taken a huge step forward in digital payments as they have recently launched PESOnet and InstaPay. All these are being implemented with the hope of engaging more Filipinos to go digital.
We are glad to hear from Lito Villanueva that there is a fintech alliance wherein several stakeholders have teamed up to accelerate digitalization. Lito also shared that through Kasama Ka, a community-based, self-help, income-generating, and inclusive ecosystem-building movement, MSMEs will now be provided with alternative access to cheap finance. They also have the Lendr which is a digital lending platform. These programs are in support of the goal of having 30 million Filipinos form a financial system by year 2020.
But the real point to the meeting is how do we hasten the connection and get everybody on board. It is a challenge for many players on how we can all ask every sari-sari store or micro entrepreneur to invest and train themselves for digital inclusion. There are 1.2 million sari-sari stores in the country, a large industry we can all target. Eugene Acevedo of UnionBank agrees that “sari-sari stores are not the last mile; they are the first mile since Filipinos see sari-sari stores as their main point of contact.”
Anthony of Mynt reiterated that incentives are needed for micro entrepreneurs to start accepting electronic payments and that aside from the e-wallet, other formats include smartphones for payments. There should be a change in mindset as Andres Torres of Coca-Cola said. It is an investment for sari-sari store owners to put their money into an electronic device.
Ibba Bernardo raised a different approach wherein some mompreneurs are actually embracing technology and can run urban stores where she can post promos in her social media accounts and actually engage with her clients. Lawrence Ferrer then raised concern on data connection, which hinders digital advancement most especially in remote areas. Dindo suggested if FMCGs can sponsor data for their sari-sari store partners, it would enable them to go online.
I also invited Mark Ruiz of Hapinoy since they have been in touch with sari-sari stores for the past 11 years and have worked with FMCG companies. He shared that it is important to determine the desire for growth of sari-sari stores. As we also have noticed for the past years, many of our micro entrepreneurs run their business by survival. Meaning most of them are really not into growth and sustainability.
Aside from the incentives raised, it is in developing a user-friendly interface which would help educate buyers and sellers with their services as Martin of Shopee has pointed out. Shopee educates people on how to use their application, an online marketplace for micro-entrepreneurs.
Following the concern on education, Ed Sunico shared that through their “Kalyeserye,” they were able to find the right people to mentor and teach them the basics on entrepreneurship, similar to what we have been doing in our mentorship program. We are also fortunate that we had Gov. Garcia in the meeting as Bataan is one of the fastest growing local economies in the country. He reported that they plan to provide incentives for small businesses who will be part of the initiative. He is also willing to make Bataan to be a proof of concept, a pilot project site for all fintech programs.
Lastly, Rep. Peter Unabia gladly informed us that they are working on the legislation needed for MSMEs to scale up. Recently, they proposed a multimillion budget for the Kapatid Mentor Me Program, one of Go Negosyo’s efforts in scaling up MSMEs through mentorship.
I thank all the attendees in the meeting for actively participating in the digitalization of MSMEs. We are really serious about this. The private sector is doing their part in connecting the consumers, merchants, and different networks to one inclusive ecosystem.
There are many things and pain points to address so we still have a long way to go but this is a good start. Digital will make the economy inclusive and we will achieve prosperity for every Filipino.