Persevering Women Entrepreneurs

PHOTO CAPTION: Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion with 15th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards National Winner Merle Paete and Fr. Jovic Lobrigo of Microfinance Council of the Philippines.

For the past years, I am honored to be part of many awarding ceremonies recognizing entrepreneurs from various sectors. One of which is the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards presented by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Citi Foundation, Citi Philippines, and Microfinance Council of the Philippines Inc. I have been part of their National Selection Committee for many years already and I am glad that they have reached a milestone of 15 years of awarding outstanding micro entrepreneurs in the country.

Last year, they have searched for micro entrepreneurs who through the help of microfinance institutions and rural banks have scaled up to where they are today. Year by year, I am impressed and inspired by their perseverance and will to succeed. Indeed, with an enterprising mindset, an individual will succeed. But one thing I noticed as well in this search is that the majority of the nominees are women. If I remember correctly, the recent past winners are also women.

This year, the national winner is another Filipina entrepreneur. She is Merle Paete who is a manufacturer of pili nuts and its by-products. Merle, who hails from Sorsogon City, started her entrepreneurial journey as a sari-sari store owner in 2002. She soon expanded in the business of buying and selling pili nuts and women mats which she learned from her father.

Soon, she discovered another by-product of pili which is pili oil or locally known as lana. This oil is extracted from the pulp of the pili nuts and is used to improve skin conditions, regulate cholesterol levels and help in weight loss. She then bought additional three-hectare land to grow pili trees.

In her speech, she said, “Sa mga barangay sa malalayong isla man or mauunlad na siyudad sa Pilipinas, maraming nanay ang nagpupunyagi araw-araw upang makatulong sa asawa, magkaroon ng dagdag na kita at mapagtapos ang mga anak. “

She also shared that she is thinking of ways on how she can further help her community most especially the women whose main source of livelihood is also in pili nuts. To her, she is blessed to have the ability to help fellow entrepreneurs in her community. And with the livelihood that she is sharing, the mothers no longer worry about having food on their table or sending their kids to school.

This is one of the great characteristics of women entrepreneurs – their willingness to share and help other women earn a living.  According to DTI’s Sex Disaggregated Data 2016, 53% of the 579,794 registered MSMEs are led by women.

This is why we aim to empower women entrepreneurs.

On March 6, in line with the celebration of the National Women’s Month, we will once again host our annual Filipina Entrepreneurs Summit. This will be the 10th year of reinforcing the entrepreneurial spirit of Filipinas and recognizing them in their capacity to be agents of change and progress. Every year, we present successful Filipina entrepreneurs who can provide inspiration and support by sharing their stories of triumphs and struggles to fellow aspiring, start-up and micro and small entrepreneurs. As it is a milestone year for Go Negosyo and the Filipina Summit, we promise that this is the biggest women event of the year.

While many stories have been shared for the past years, there are a lot of inspiring entrepreneurial stories waiting to be told. Additionally, we are recognizing another batch of inspiring women entrepreneurs from different industries for being role models because of their passion and dedication in their crafts. The Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Awards is an annual recognition of Filipina entrepreneurs who have taken the leadership role in their respective enterprises and led it to its growth and prosperity.

The search is on for the next Go Negosyo Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur 2018!

The search is on for the next Go Negosyo Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur 2018!

The Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Awards is now accepting nominations and applications for this year’s search. An inspiring Filipina may or may not have come from humble beginnings but must embody the following characteristics: Passionate, Positive, and Inspiring. She must also have an innovative business model and must have the ability to care for her community through livelihood projects and entrepreneurship advocacy.

For interested applicants, you may visit the Go Negosyo website, or email us at [email protected].

We hope that you can join us once again as we celebrate the successes of Filipina entrepreneurs!