Tuloy ang Laban

Sen. Grace Poe in Go Negosyo's Meet the Presidentiables Forum.

Sen. Grace Poe in Go Negosyo’s Meet the Presidentiables Forum.

Less than a day prior to the Negosyo Talks: Meet the Presidentiables Series’ third instalment featuring presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe, the Commission on Elections second division disqualified her from running for the highest position in the country.

But this did not stop Go Negosyo, PLDT SME Nation, Smart Communications, Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corporation and RFM Corporation from pushing through with the forum yesterday at the Solaire Grand Ballroom because we believe that every Filipino has the right to get to know every candidate vying for the presidency and know what they intend to do with our country and our people.

Although this series aims to give the entrepreneur community and key enablers a chance to meet the presidentiables who will share their vision on economic and entrepreneurship development, we also leaned toward different national issues such as: agriculture, entrepreneurship development, public transportation, foreign land ownership, disputes with China, constitutional change, laglag-bala, and politics among several others.

On her opening speech, Senator Poe revealed that aside from being an actor, her father was also an entrepreneur. He built his own film company with the help of friends so that he would be able to make movies that he wants to be in. She spoke of the importance of entrepreneurship in the country, stating that the number one problem of our country is poverty. “Hindi po natin matutugunan ang kahirapan kung walang trabaho, at hindi magkakaroon ng trabaho kung walang investments at puhunan sa ating bayan.” Senator Poe also commended her fellow senator Bam Aquino for authoring the Go Negosyo Act. She furthered that the private sector and the government should work hand in hand in order to help each other.

Sen. Grace Poe with the panelists - Patty Chilip, Rosalind Wee, Mike Toledo, Ramon Lopez, Babe Romualdez, Myrna Yao, host-Luchi Cruz-Valdes, and Joey Concepcion.

Sen. Grace Poe with the panelists – Patty Chilip, Rosalind Wee, Mike Toledo, Ramon Lopez, Babe Romualdez, Myrna Yao, host-Luchi Cruz-Valdes, and Joey Concepcion.

At the forum, Poe was directly asked about the disqualification case against her. According to the senator, this case is a fight that has only made her braver. And while she lost the 2nd round (the first being the Senate Electoral Tribunal), she is confident and more positive of the upcoming ComElec en banc and the Supreme Court. As she said, “tuloy ang laban…ang tao ang magde-desisyon.”

Ramon Lopez from Go Negosyo asked Poe if she is in support of conditional cash transfer programs, since it might encourage a culture of dependence among the poor. And while the senator responded to this on a positive note, she also mentioned the need to balance dole-outs with conditions in order to elevate the situation of those in the poverty line through the inclusion of livelihood education and training programs.

When asked about her plans on reducing the horrendous traffic in major cities in the country, Poe’s answers are circling around construction of proper mass transit system and developing the rural areas in order to decongest the cities.

On agriculture, the senator thought that this sector is one of the most overlooked industries in the country, thus, threatening food security. In line, we should be able to turn farmers into agri-businessmen so that we can achieve inclusive growth.

“The three worst things with the current administration are: infrastructure, peace and order and inclusive growth,” Says Poe. For her, the current administration has not fully focused on these things which hurt our economic growth. She added that drugs should be added to the national security threats so public agencies can join forces in fighting against it. She also plans to come up with a national emergency line all over the country.

Senator Poe also took the opportunity the acknowledge the presence of the student attendees of the forum by saying that the youth will be the biggest beneficiary of a Poe administration since she will be banking on programs that aim to provide better opportunities for the young. Aside from that, she strongly supports lowering corporate and personal taxes.

Throughout the forum, Grace Poe answered every question thrown at her with integrity and competence—two things that she said will also determine her cabinet members. “Regradless kung kalaban man o kakampi, basta ikaw ay mabuting tao, may kakayahan at may plano para sa mamamayan, kailangan kita.

I will never regret the decision of having Senator Poe in our forum. She is an epitome of an empowered woman who knows herself and her capabilities. In a matter of minutes, she has revealed a huge part of her personality by showing integrity, intelligence, and principle-centeredness, and with a heart. But most of all, it’s her humility that struck me the most. When asked about her inexperience in working for the government, she said that while experience is important, it is not a guarantee of successful leadership. She even compared herself to a blackboard, “Kung isang pisara ang buhay ko, ‘yung mga ibang nanilbihan, punung-puno na ng sulat. Sa akin, marahil hindi pa puno pero maayos ang outline, at pakikinggan ko kayo kung ano ba talagang hinanaing ninyo at sabay nating isusulat ang maayos na kasaysayan ng Pilipinas.

Levelling-Up the OFWs

Go Negosyo's Joey Concepcion and Ramon Lopez with Sen. Cynthia Villar, Sen. Manny Villar, Cong. Mark Villar, and other entrepreneurs and guests in last year's 4th OFW & Family Summit.

Go Negosyo’s Joey Concepcion and Ramon Lopez with Sen. Cynthia Villar, Sen. Manny Villar, Cong. Mark Villar, and other entrepreneurs and guests in last year’s 4th OFW & Family Summit.

Senator Cynthia Villar’s statement at our OFW Summit press conference held the other week summed-up today’s reality for the Overseas Filipino Workers all over the world: “We already heard countless stories about OFWs who after working for a long time abroad, went broke because they had no savings nor alternative ways to earn. Programs should be initiated and regularly held to help our OFWs become successful even after their employment abroad.”

Sadly, she is right. Consumer Expectations Survey results for the Third Quarter 2015 conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas found that OFW households are saving less from 49.7 percent in the second quarter to 38.2 percent in the third quarter. The percentage of OFW households allocating for investments also fell to 6.2 percent in the third quarter from 6.7 percent in the second quarter.

We understand that many OFWs would spend first for their children’s education and their dream homes.  But after these basic requirements, spending continues on clothing, fashion accessories, gadgets and latest smart phones.  The list goes on and on. The hardest part is when to stop or learn the need to redirect their funds for savings and investments.  They have to plan for their future because they would not be working abroad for the rest of their lives.  They have to think of how they can have replacement income, as early as possible. When we conduct Go Negosyo seminars abroad, especially the recent ones with PLDT Global and PLDT SME Nation, we learned the reality from the OFWs that all of them would really like to return home someday, if they only have the income opportunity.  Actually, the opportunities are there, but one must prepare for these. One has to plan for the future.  I heard from our friend Doris Magsaysay Ho that the right OFW mindset is to Earn-Learn-Return. 

It is never too late to start with some venture so that there is something to work on when the OFW returns.  The families of the OFWs should help prepare for that, perhaps even as an act of reciprocation.  

We in Go Negosyo share in the vision of the Villar SIPAG (Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance) Foundation to empower the OFWs, to inspire them for them to aspire.  To dream and to learn.  

Now on our 5th year, we are conducting today the OFW and Families Summit at the World Trade Center.  This year’s theme is “Ipon Mo, I-Negosyo Mo.”  We believe that having the right mindset and knowhow is the great equalizer. Anyone can do it, as long as one has the right character and competencies. Thru entrepreneurship, one can find a good replacement income that can sustain them for the rest of their lives.  OFWs should plan for their own replacement incomes, for their future.

This annual summit gathers OFWs and their dependents who wish to get helpful entrepreneurial insights and be inspired by stories of successful former OFWs-turned entrepreneurs. Senator Cynthia Villar and Founding Chairman of Villar SIPAG Foundation Manny Villar and I will attend this event hoping to inspire OFWs with our messages.

Aside from seasoned entrepreneurs and business experts, we have also invited several former OFWs who became entrepreneurs to be panelists in the first forum:

Imelda Dagus, owner of Dennis Coffee Garden in Zamboanga City, Rosalie Ellasus of Philippine Maize Federation, Myrna Padilla, founder of an IT/BPO called Mynd Consulting are some of the former OFWs-turned-entrepreneurs who will be featured.

Prudencio Garcia of Mekeni, Zarah Juan of Green Leaf Eco Bags and MobKard’s Carlo Calimon will also join this group of successful former OFWs for the first forum of the summit.

As we always believe in the potential of agriculture, especially when we talk to majority of Filipinos who live in the countryside where the farms are, we try to present various working-agrinegosyo models, ventures that make money.  This is to show that there is money in agriculture if only we learn the right way to do it, the right technology and processes and value-adding strategies that would lead to better efficiencies, products and incomes.  We can learn much from the with successful Agripreneurs such as Henry Lim Bon Lion of SL Agritech, Joseph Calata of Calata Corporation, Edith Dacuycuy of REFMAD Farms, Leo Dator of Itlog Ni Kuya, Lomboy Farm’s Avelino Lomboy, Paco Magsaysay of Real Fresh Dairy Farms Inc., Antuza Refalda of Kalinga Brew and Paris Uy of Livegreen International Inc.

Knowing the marketability of existing bsuiness concepts and brand, we are also presenting models on franchising and direct selling. Rico Garcia (World Ventures), Greny Guadamor (Max International), Rhea Horrilleno -Gudani (Nu Skin), Joey Sarmiento (Chair of Direct Selling Association of the Philippines), Cyd Bascar (Crystal Clear), Prof. Euclid Cezar (Famous Belgian Waffle), Ricardo Z. Cuna, (Fiorgelato), Jerry Neil C. Ilao, (Ink All You Can), Ms. Jean Uvero (Nail It) and Carolina T. Rivera (Crystal Clear franchisor) will sit as panelists for this forum.

Aside from the forums, there will also be discussions about various special topics from experts in different fields:

Michelle Molas, Product Marketing Manager for Ads Marketing of Google Philippines will have a presentation on “Google for Business.” Randell Tiongson, Director of Registered Financial Planner Institute Philippines will supply the attendees of important knowledge about financial literacy. Meanwhile, Benel Lagua, EVP & Chief Development Officer of Development Bank of the Philippines will discuss financing opportunities for SMEs.

Since the summit is made especially for OFWs, we found it important to invite experts who can talk about OFW protection:

Atty. Angelo Jimenez, Asia Pacific Basin for Energy Strategies EVP will talk about the National Reintegration Center for OFWs. Susan Ople, Head of Blas F. Ople Policy Center and Training Institute will discuss the very important topic of illegal recruitment and human trafficking amongst OFWs. Lastly, Atty. Minerva A. Sobreviga-Retanal of the Anti-Fraud Division of National Bureau of Investigation will give everyone crucial information on business investment scams to avoid falling for these schemes.

Aside from the precious advice on entrepreneurship, participants will also have a chance to take home a house and lot from Camella Homes, business franchises from Kettle Korn, sari-sari store package from All Day, home appliances from Savers and business packages from event partners and sponsors.

Empowering the OFWs is our commitment. We hope they all can live better lives, back here in our country, together with their families, and managing their own businesses. 

Innovation and Big Ideas: Pushing Boundaries

President Benigno Aquino, III delivers keynote address at the APEC SME Summit 2015.

President Benigno Aquino, III delivers keynote address at the APEC SME Summit 2015.

SME development now takes center stage. For the first time in APEC, a dedicated Summit was mounted to focus on SMEs’ innovation and big ideas.  In prior years, SME discussions have only been a topic in the APEC Agenda.  The other day, Go Negosyo was privileged to partner with APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and Asia Society, both headed by industry icon Doris Magsaysay-Ho, in mounting the APEC SME Summit, held in GreenSun, Makati.  President Aquino and some of his Cabinet Secretaries, together with our entrepreneurship co-advocate in the Senate, Sen. Bam Aquino, who was also the Go Negosyo Act’s principal author, likewise joined the Summit to give importance the sector and how we can all rally the support it needs to elevate the competitiveness and innovativeness of the SMEs to push them to grow and expand.  As SME’s account for 99.6% of the number of enterprises, they play a major role in having a kind of growth that is more inclusive and beneficial to a wider base of the population.  

The SME Summit was jampacked with SRO crowd of over 2000 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs, business leaders, and young and aspiring entrepreneurs.

President Aquino keynoted the Summit where he encourage SMEs to inject innovation and greater competitive value-adding to be able to grow.  He cited a number of SME programs like the Shared Service Facilities, and the setting-up of Go Negosyo Centers under the Go Negosyo Act that are being built around the country to assist Micro SMEs.

The Summit I would say was a cut above the rest as we were able to feature leading innovative entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the world such as the passionate founder of AirAsia Tony Fernandes, Uber’s Chief Adviser David Plouffe, Barbara Navarro of Google, Josette Sheeran of Asia Society, Scott Anthony of Innosight, Wendy Kopp of Teach-for-All, Nix Nolledo of Xurpas,  Fil-Ams Shiela Marcelo of Care.com,  Dado Banatao of Tallwood Capital Ventures, Maria Ressa of Rappler, Dexter Ligot Gordon of Kalibrr and Angelo Umali of Simple Wearables, just to name a few.

Josette Sheeran talked about how megatrends can contribute to change. She mentioned that Manila is one of the next megacities and center of innovation in the world and can bring more opportunities.  Internet connectivity is one of the important ways SMEs can gain access to global information and market. 

David Plouffe discussed the sharing economy and how this has helped Uber scale up from a small company in San Francisco to a global brand servicing in more than 300 cities in the world. He commended the Philippines as one of the first countries to regularize these kinds of transport services. Key learning is on how regulations and behavioural changes are needed to maximize the potential of innovation.

Tony Fernandes shared how branding and investment in people is important for companies. He has changed AirAsia by looking at other non-traditional marketing campaigns and made use of social media and merchandising. He also mentioned how his people are his biggest assets. Lastly, he reminded everyone to turn their dreams into reality, to inspire and to always have a positive outlook in life. 

One of Go Negosyo’s featured entrepreneurs, Sheila Marcelo of Care.com, shared how CARE is an economic imperative. After sharing the story behind Care.com, which connects families and caregivers in 16 countries, Sheila said how important it is to value the people, in and out of the organization. She mentioned, “Building companies is about building people.” 

Another global Filipino entrepreneur who shared his inspiring story was technopreneur Dado Banatao. Dado discussed how SMEs can grow with innovation. He mentioned the need to include the poor and underprivileged sector in the economic growth and empower them with education to compete in a global world. He also said that to eliminate poverty, a country must compete with its innovative products designed by its people.

Bunker Roy discussed the importance of education in uplifting people’s lives. He founded Barefoot College, a school that teaches engineering to elderly women who could not afford to send themselves to school. Bunker is proud that this advocacy of Barefoot College has educated many women from different countries including the Philippines.

The inspiring stories continue. The next speaker, David Swanson is the co-founder of Thumbtack. Thumbtack is a remote-staffing company that provides services for various corporations by getting talented and qualified people from all over the world. He shared the story of a young Filipina who uplifted herself from poverty by working hard and realizing her talents. She is now fulfilling her dreams of studying for her MBA in France.

Maria Ressa of Rappler.com and Nix Nolledo of Xurpas Inc. shared how they started their companies and maximized the use of technology products such as mobile phones and internet. Rappler challenged the traditional broadcast journalism by incorporating it in social media. Xurpas, on the other hand, is considered as a pioneer in the Philippine IT industry which specializes in creating digital mobile products.

Another forum session featured Dexter Ligot-Gordon of Kalibrr Inc., and Angelo Umali of Simple Wearables. Dexter shared how he has failed twice but continued to become a problem solver by connecting jobs to people through Kalibrr which is an online recruiting platform. Angelo discussed how a personal experience pushed him to establish his company which provided life-assisting and life-saving devices for elderly.

Barbara Navarro of Google shared how passion is the driver of innovation. Google’s passion is to organize information for the world and make it accessible for all. She encouraged SMEs to do something in a different way and to think bigger and let the passion do the impossible. 

“Innovation is changing everything”, said Scott Antony of Innosight. He shared the background of several companies who changed the traditional way of doing things. He also mentioned what great innovators do – simplify, enable, and disrupt. 

Alok Shetty, another young and inspiring speaker, wowed the audience with his innovative architectural works. Shetty is the Principal of Bhumiputra Architecture, the firm behind several outstanding but convenient designs of houses that help shelter people in need of a home.

Bill Barhydt of ABRA discussed how ABRA, a new type of digital cash money transfer app helped in the promotion of financial inclusivity. ABRA is the world’s first digital cash, US dollar-based mobile wallet.  

Teach For All led by Wendy Kopp, is a social enterprise which aides in changing low-income communities through education. Teach For All programs invests in people through trainings and seminars and equips on how to ensure that an excellent education is provided to all children across the globe.

Karen Reddington of FedEx Asia Pacific shared how it is important for small businesses to go global. “Small businesses will double its growth once brought global”, she said. She also advised SMEs that it is a must to have mobile technology in order to reach global market as this provides platform for e-commerce.  

Lastly, Scott Anthony returned on stage to address the need for companies to anticipate disruptions and create transformative strategies. 

World-class and ground breaking technological advancements were also featured at the interactive exhibit during the Summit.

 The Summit was definitely a unique advanced experience for all those who attended.  They heard innovative ways to grow, out-of-the-box ideas, newfound inspiration and encouragement, importance of disruptive innovations, need for value creation, growth strategies, need for competency-building, humility to accept mistakes and correct them at once, and the essence of customer satisfaction.   

Enhancing SME growth potential through innovation, moreso thru disruptive innovation, and the use of technology can surely lead to a more robust SME sector, which will lead to a  more inclusive economy, to make sure that nobody is left behind.   

Mabuhay ang Micro SMEs!

The Need for “Department of Common Sense”

Mar Roxas in the Negosyo Talks: Meet the Presidentiables last November 9, 2015.

Mar Roxas in the Negosyo Talks: Meet the Presidentiables last November 9, 2015.

After the success of the Negosyo Talks: Meet the Presidentiables with Vice President Jejomar Binay last October, we had the second part of this series with former DILG secretary and Liberal Party representative Mar Roxas.

We had a good number of audience with more than 600 entrepreneurs and guests from different organizations who want to hear Mar’s policy directions and plan of action as well as answer the pending issues that need to be addressed.

He opened the program with a good talk discussing how the Philippines has transformed from being the “Sick Man of Asia”, as Lee Kuan Yew labeled us, into “Asia’s Bright Spot”. Mar, who has spoken from the heart, said that we have come a long way. From the fight for democracy in 1986, (where he acknowledged my father Joecon’s role in NAMFREL and as one of the few who stood up against the dictator), to the continuous growth and progress of the country today, Mar commended everyone for participating in the transformation of the Philippines. He also recognized that the last five years had the most improvements when the current administration installed a new kind of management, and not afraid to put people in jail.

“We have made substantial progress”, Mar said when talking about the growth in GDP and investment capital. Also, he mentioned that in the last five years, 180,000 classrooms with complete chairs and tables and teachers have been provided to assure the next generations with quality education and facilities conducive for learning. This is the greatest improvement that we have seen.  He said, “Because what is a population, and what kind of future will we have if our kids are not educated?”

Mar, who promised to continue the “Daang Matuwid” in his past interviews, mentioned the programs of the Aquino administration that have contributed a lot in the progress. Some of these are the CCT program which has produced 330,000 scholars, the health care services with a 75 billion budget (which translates to savings and disposable funds for the people), and the aggressive fight against corruption. The investment in infrastructure and the people has led us to where we are today.

As the discussion with the panelists started, Mar was asked with questions on programs for foreign investments, constitutional change and inconsistency in policies, tax reform, traffic decongestion, and internet issues to which he answered straightforwardly and with full conviction.

He was asked by Mon Lopez regarding the foreign ownership restrictions that would require constitutional change to attract more foreign investments, Mar answered that, to him, this is not the issue that needs to be addressed. There are other operational issues and to have a constitutional change might even pose some risk. Investors might adopt a wait-and-see attitude if there will be a change in the system. He also mentioned, “Walang investor and nagreklamo na ang nakakahadlang ay ang batas o konstitusyon.” He noted that the issues which hinder the investments are the VAT, importation and shipping, and even the harassment in customs, immigration, and internal revenues. He said he wants an efficient distribution system that will improve business operations to more investors.
Vicki Belo asked if a ‘Vote for Mar’, is also a ‘Vote for Kim Henares’, to which Mar said “In fairness to Kim, she has done a good job.” But he added that many of the cabinet members wanted to move on to the private sector. When pushed to answer whether he will give Kim a position in his administration, he said, “I’ll look at it at that point in time.”

Babes Romualdez asked him also about the lowering the taxes. Mar, who authored the bill that exempts minimum wage earners from taxes, answered that the ‘money principally belongs to the people who worked hard for it’. But he mentioned that this must be studied carefully as this will affect revenues and therefore there must be substitute sources of government revenues elsewhere or find ways to reduce expenses. “I won’t be here to mention policies that some popular and gain points from the public, he said. “I am for responsible governance.”

Babes also asked him on traffic decongestion. Mar said “I find it anomalous that buses are owned by different entities.”  To have a more efficient bus transport system he said, “Terminate various franchises and bid it out.” With bigger operators, bus drivers will be paid properly and not on commissioned basis which usually lead to improper driving habits.

Jokingly, Mar added that majority of the problems we are encountering need only ‘common sense’ which he mentioned is not very common that is why he plans to establish a Department of Common Sense.

The panelists also recognized the Negosyo Centers established by the Department of Trade and Industry, Go Negosyo, and Sen. Bam Aquino who authored the Go Negosyo Law. This provided that easier process of registration to which Mar supported. He said, “Naniniwala ako na ang mga negosyante ay dapat nag-nenegosyo at hindi pumipila para kumuha ng permits.”

On the issue of internet which was asked by Tina Papillon, Mar provided two solutions: “On the supply side, the government must incentivize; and on the demand side, there must be a change in regulation.” Mar also mentioned that the internet is no longer a luxury but a necessity as we continue to reach for change and progress.

Babes also asked him about one of the most sensitive issues – the Mamasapano tragedy. He said that, “The President ordered coordination and he was disobeyed and lied to.” Until now, he honestly answered that it is an issue that is still on his mind even after months have passed. “”I keep thinking and re-thinking. What else could I have done?” He added, “”But I constantly go through in my mind, wondering. Forty-four people, 44 fathers, 44 husbands, 44 brothers, 44 sons, through no fault of their own, gave up their lives for our safety.” Lastly, he said, “I will live with it for the rest of my life.”

When asked by Henry Lim Bon Liong about his plans on how to increase the yield of production of our farmers, Mar said, “Agriculture is one of the areas that will experience a boom in a Roxas Administration.” He added, “We will find a way to consolidate the holdings. I don’t mean that in ownership. At least through cooperatives, joint ventures, or lease agreements.” Lastly, he added, “We will guarantee a minimum level of prosperity for him (the farmer) and his family.”

Apart from these, Mar gamely answered questions on how he will choose his cabinet secretaries and on his plans to continue “Daang Matuwid.”


Watch out for the next part of the series with Sen. Grace Poe on December 2, 2015 which will also be aired by TV5.

APEC SME Summit 2015

APEC Column
For the first time, APEC is giving extra push in helping SMEs by having a Summit for SMEs and this will be done on November 17, a day ahead of the main APEC. The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) is partnering with Go Negosyo and Asia Society Philippines in hosting the APEC SME Summit 2015.

The Summit aims to challenge the traditional SME framework and mindset in order to motivate APEC entrepreneurs to re-think and re-create the way they do business, as well as to look at their products, services and business operations through the lens of innovation to successfully meet the demands of the 21st century global market.

We have a good line-up of speakers from different countries who are founders and leaders in innovation. They will share how they utilized creativity and innovation to make transformative and changes in addressing old and emerging market needs. Their inspiring stories will be the spotlight of each session – highlighting the elements that motivated them to create and introduce a new product and/or service in the market, the factors that helped overcome challenges encountered, and the key lessons learned to succeed.

Here are the confirmed speakers:

1. Juraj Vaculik – In 2010, Juraj co-founded AeroMobil and manages the company as its CEO. He also acts as an Angel investor with investments into successful start-up projects in the media content, IT and alternative transport sectors throughout Europe and the US. Aeromobil is a Slovak company that is developing prototype roadable aircraft, a vehicle that can be converted from an automobile to an aircraft.

2. Scott Anthony – He is the Managing Partner of Innosight, a consulting and investment company that focus on strategic transformation, disruptive change, and business model innovation. Based in Innosight’s Singapore office since 2010, he also leads its Asian consulting operations and its venture-capital investment activities.

3. Karen Reddington – She is President of Asia Pacific Division of FedEx Express, the world’s largest express transportation company. She heads up Asia Pacific from its headquarters in Hong Kong. Dr. Reddington is responsible for leading the FedEx business across the region, including overall planning and implementation of corporate strategies and operations across 30 countries and territories.

4. Jonathan Swanson – He is the Co-Founder of Thumbtack, Inc. and serves as its President. Mr. Swanson served as Director of Operations at Thumbtack, Inc. Jonathan built and manages Thumbtack’s global team of 500+ based in San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and the Philippines. Thumbtack is an online marketplace for local services. It matches service providers and consumers through an online directory.

5. Diosdado Banatao – She is the managing partner of Tallwood Venture Capital. With this past experiences as an entrepreneur, Dado provides Tallwood with a unique perspective in technology investments. Tallwood invests in unique and hard-to-do semiconductor technology solutions for computing, communication, and consumer platforms. He is credited with developing several key semiconductor technologies and is regarded as a Silicon Valley visionary.

6. Wendy Kopp– She is CEO and Co-founder of Teach For All, a global network of independent organizations that are cultivating their nations’ promising future leaders to ensure their most marginalized children have the chance to fulfil their true potential. Wendy founded Teach For America in 1989 to marshal the energy of her generation against educational inequity in the United States.

7. Shiela Marcelo– Inspired by challenges finding care for her children and ailing parents, Sheila founded Care.com in 2006. Today, the public company is the world’s largest online care destination with 15.2 million members in 16 countries.

8. Angelo Umali – He is a technical and business strategist with a decade of broad international experience in marketing, business development and product management for both hardware and software products. He founded Simple Wearables, a healthcare tech startup based in Hong Kong focusing on wearable technology that provides peace of mind.

9. Dexter Ligot-Gordon – He is the Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Kalibrr. Working together with another co-founder, Paul Rivera, he helped grow Kalibrr to have more than 30 people handling front- and back-end, content, sales, and marketing. Kalibrr is the Philippines’ hottest tech startup, which delivers a faster, smarter, and more sophisticated way of job matching.

10. Melissa Guzy – She is the founder and the Managing Partner of Arbor Ventures, has more than 25 years of experience as an entrepreneur and as a venture investor. Arbor Ventures is focused on investing in FinTech, Big Data and Digital Commerce. Arbor invests in companies that have a regional or global reach.

11. Alok Shetty – Alok Shetty is Principal of Bhumiputra Architecture, an internationally acclaimed architecture and design firm based in Bangalore City. Operating across many scales, Shetty’s firm consistently works towards new built environments that improve the quality of life in emerging economies.

12. Josette Sheeran – Josette has been President and CEO of the Asia Society since May 2013. Previously Sheeran was Vice Chairman of the World Economic Forum. Sheeran believes that hunger and poverty must and can be solved through both immediate actions and long-term policies.

13. David Plouffe  – He is an American political strategist best known as the campaign manager for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. In September 2014, he became the Senior Vice President of Policy and Strategy for transportation network company startup Uber. In May 2015, he left that role to become a full-time strategic adviser for the company.

14. Nix Nolledo – He is the President and Chairman of the Board of Xurpas, a technology company that creates digital products for the Mobile Consumer. He is also the Chairman of Fluxion, a subsidiary of Xurpas. Considered as a pioneer in the Philippine Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, Nolledo first started in the consumer technology sector.

We invite all interested entrepreneurs to visit the official website: www.apecsmesummit2015.com and register. You may also call the APEC Secretariat at 6315024/6332838/6345604.


Entrepreneurship for a Cause

BPI Sinag Grand Awardee: Karaw Craftventures received P500,000 along with a credit line up to P500,000 from BPI Ka-Negosyo. (In Photo L-R) Ginbee Go, BPI Head for Retail Loan; Jaime Augusto Zoberl de Ayala, Chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation; Leciel Ramos and Paul Andrew Orpiada of Karaw Craftventures; Fidelina Corcuera, Executive Director of BPI Foundation; Cezar P. Consing, BPI President; and Atty. Jaime Holifena, VP for Social Development, Ateneo de Manila University.

BPI Sinag Grand Awardee: Karaw Craftventures received P500,000 along with a credit line up to P500,000 from BPI Ka-Negosyo. (In Photo L-R) Ginbee Go, BPI Head for Retail Loan; Jaime Augusto Zoberl de Ayala, Chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation; Leciel Ramos and Paul Andrew Orpiada of Karaw Craftventures; Fidelina Corcuera, Executive Director of BPI Foundation; Cezar P. Consing, BPI President; and Atty. Jaime Holifena, VP for Social Development, Ateneo de Manila University.

Throughout the years, entrepreneurship has evolved into a multi-faceted industry.  Aside from the traditional brick and mortar type of businesses, franchise business models, there have been until now technology platforms and e-commerce business models. We also see more and more social enterprise models that encourage pursuit of passion, profit with purpose.

Social entrepreneurship has emerged in the country for years now. But what is social entrepreneurship? Social entrepreneurship has a wide range of definitions but the textbook definition is that it is the application of business techniques and strategies through a specific business model to help solve social problems. To many, social entrepreneurship focuses on solving the social problem and less on its viability and scalability. But In reality, a good social entrepreneur must generate income in order to sustain the business model and continue addressing his social cause.

In Go Negosyo’s 10 years, we have met a number of social entrepreneurs who continue to help different sectors of the community through their programs and enterprise. Their enterprises address social issues by providing solutions and helping create a lasting and reliable system for the continuous development of every community.

For example, Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip of CARD-MRI which provides loans and financial assistance to micro entrepreneurs in different parts of the country; social entrepreneur couple Mark Ruiz and Reese Fernandez-Ruiz of Hapinoy and Rags to Riches; entrep-advocate Pacita “Chit” Juan who established ECHO Environment & Community Hope Organization) Store with Reena Francisco and Jeannie Javelosa; Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm initiated by Tony Meloto; Human Nature of Dylan and Anna Wilk and Camille Meloto; and Nanette Medved-Po of Friends of Hope which sells bottled waters for the establishment of classrooms in different schools in the country.

Recently, Go Negosyo met 10 inspiring social entrepreneurs who are making a positive difference in their respective communities through their enterprises. They pitched in the recently concluded BPI Sinag Awards. BPI Foundation in collaboration with Ateneo Center for Social Entrepreneurship (ASCENT) and BPI Ka-Negosyo launched this program to empower young Filipino entrepreneurs with social mission.  From more than 150 social entrepreneurs who applied and registered, only 40 participants were invited to join the Acceleration Bootcamp and lastly, only 10 finalists made it to the pitching and awarding ceremony.

The panel of judges include Jim Ayala of Hybrid Social Solutions, Go Negosyo Angelpreneur Josiah Go of Mansmith and Fielders, Chit Juan of ECHOstore, Injap Sia of DoubleDragon Properties and Injap Investments, and Mark Yu of SEAOIL Philippines and Go Negosyo’s Ramon Lopez.

Let me share with you the stories of the top five finalists from which we can all get inspiration to also contribute positive change in this country:

1. Bayani Brew
Bayani Brew is one of the promising social enterprises in the country. Led by Herxilia Protacio and Ron Dizon, Bayani Brew offers a refreshing drink made from locally-sourced ingredients such as camote tops and lemon grass.  Bayani Brew sources its ingredients from 4 farming communities including Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm. Currently, Bayani Brew offers two flavours: Kick-ass Lemongrass – brewed from all-natural lemongrass and pandan, and Purple Leaf – brewed from all-natural sweet potato purple leaf tops.

2. CocoAsenso
CocoAsenso is a social enterprise founded by Asa Feinstein. CocoAsenso’s goal is to increase economic opportunities in remote region by helping virgin coconut oil manufacturers reduce production costs through the establishment of small-scale coconut processing centers in remote farming communities.

3. Plush and Play
Fabien Courteille hails from the other side of the world but has fallen in love with the Philippines. Because of this, Plush and Play was born. Plush and Play is a social enterprise born in the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm which creates Filipino toys delighting the young ones in the Philippines and the rest of the world. It aims to restore the Filipino seamstresses’ livelihood and pride in their craftsmanship. There were former garments companies’ employees who were dislocated.

4. Siglo
One of Go Negosyo’s young entrepreneurs, Alvin Tan started his social enterprise, Siglo. Siglo is a platform providing long term sustainable solutions to alleviate poverty by providing access to technology, capital, information, and major market supplies. It has tools for loans management, micro-entrepreneurship, modern intelligence and data mining, ads and research, and a livelihood tool that works via text messaging, an app, or via the web.

5.  Karaw Craftventures
Addressing the issue on recycling, Karaw Craftventures is a design hub that upcycles scrap materials into novelty gifts and lifestyle products. Aside from this, their Ragpet Project is a flagship brand that helps in the rehabilitation of women inmates in Naga City District Jail by providing sustainable livelihood activities and introducing an in-prison skills development program for poverty and crime reduction.

Karaw Craftventures won the BPI Sinag and has been awarded with P500,000.00 and a credit loan of up to P500,000.00. Each of the top five finalists were awarded with P200,000.00, six month mentorship, and access to the Ateneo Business Incubation Center.

As we promote entrepreneurship in the country, we present alternative models that can bring even more positive change – empowering not only the entrepreneurs, but the community it serves while protecting the environment for sustainable growth models. Let’s support social entrepreneurship, and to me, the sustainable and scalable way to develop social enterprises is to link them to a sustainable market. Big companies can play a vital role in their development. They can link social enterprises, say farmers’ cooperatives or associations of small producers to their supply chain so that it can assure a regular stream of supply transactions to level-up the condition of these underprivileged sectors.