Alliance Towards Prosperity for All

Photo Caption: The Alliance Towards Prosperity for All is a group of business organizations and individuals who will pursue prosperity among the ASEAN countries.

After the success of the Prosperity for All Summit, I feel like there is a need to continue the momentum which we have created to develop concrete and viable plans for the future. It’s not like we just run an event and do nothing afterwards. We are after the continuous and more sustainable MSME development.

Last week, I invited difference business chambers and organizations to be part of the Alliance Towards Prosperity for All. This alliance is created to pursue real inclusivity in the Philippines and hopefully be recreated in other ASEAN countries.

The Alliance Towards Prosperity For All is a long-term private sector-led campaign at the national level to build a multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary alliance of organizations and individuals to pursue prosperity for all among ASEAN nations.

I know many of us have great ideas and plans starting from our own groups and organizations. But I believe that to make it more effective, we have to work together, study the process, and develop a plan that will align with the government’s action plan. For example, in agriculture, we can create projects where we can have areas of collaboration. The goal here is to let the Filipino people know that big businesses are here to support the growth of the majority. We are one with President Duterte in bringing change to this country. Like the President, we only want what is best for the Philippines.

I told them that if we work independently, it might not come across as effective as compared to when we work as a group. There is more power and strength in numbers. During the initial meeting, 22 business chambers were well represented by their presidents and executive directors. Initially, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Management Association of the Philippines, Makati Business Club, Financial Executives of the Philippines, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc., Philippine Franchising Association, Chamber of Mines of the Philippines, Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, and Bankers Association of the Philippines attended the short discussion. There are more groups who expressed their support to this initiative and we are expecting more organizations to join this alliance.

Go Negosyo who has been in the forefront of entrepreneurship development in the country for the past 12 years will be the leading organization for this alliance in the Philippines. Go Negosyo has a wide network of entrepreneurs, industry experts, policy influencers, and government officials who can contribute to this alliance.

To make this alliance effective is to focus on key areas of MSME development. We have identified 3Ms of entrepreneurship which we think should be the priority. The 3Ms include Money, Market, and Mentorship.

One of the biggest problems of micro and small entrepreneurs is the lack of access to finance. There are existing microfinance institutions like Dr. Alip’s CARD-MRI and other rural banks who have programs for micro finance but not everyone is granted of loans or financial assistance. In order to start or sustain businesses, MSMEs will need programs such as DTI’s Shared-Service Facilities, or DOST’s Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program, or DA’s Agricultural Modernization Program which provides tools and technology which will aide MSMEs to increase their productivity and creativity.

DTI recently established the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pag-asenso which plans to replace the 5-6 scheme in the country.

DWSD’s Conditional Cash Transfer program aims to alleviate poverty through financial assistance for poor families. While this provides basic financial assistance for basic necessities, this can be improved to provide support for micro entrepreneurs. Additionally, DSWD’s Sustainable Livelihood Program provides vocational training and funds to those who are interested to start their micro-enterprises. Although this has been running for more than 5 years now, it has not proven its capacity to fully support the interest of enterprising individuals to scale up. This can also be looked into and studied if we can create additional MSME development programs.

With their innovative products and services, MSMEs will need a strong market where they can introduce and promote. Strengthening market linkages should also be prioritized. Go Negosyo and several organizations promote inclusive business where large corporation include MSMEs in their value chains. By including MSMEs, they are given wider market access and sustainable income.

Our Kapatid, Angat Lahat program links MSMEs to large corporations. As mentioned before, we have introduced Bongabon Nueva Ecija farmers, through the help of Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol, to companies such as SM Supermarkets, Robinson’s Group, Rustan’s and many more. Today, you can see locally grown onions in the biggest supermarkets. We are hopping to create more linkages like this for our micro entrepreneurs.

Most successful entrepreneurs today started small. And they would have not made it to the top if they were not assisted and guided by mentors. I personally was mentored by my father who I think is the best mentor. He has guided me through the process of the business, teaching me everything. MSMEs will need the same kind of support from experts and mentors.

Go Negosyo has partnered with DTI and created the nationwide mentoring program entitled Kapatid Mentor Me which aims to help micro and small entrepreneurs scale up through a weekly coaching and mentoring program with successful business owners, practitioners, and experts which are held in most of the Negosyo Centers nationwide. We are currently rolling out the 2nd batch of Mentor Me launches in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Apart from DTI, Department of Agriculture and Go Negosyo are providing a mentoring program for farmers entitled Kapatid Agri Mentor Me Program. Adopting the same program, KAMMP is developed to complement the initiative to sustain and develop agri-business in the country. Many Go Negosyo agri-entrepreneurs have signed up as mentors to help strengthen the agriculture industry.

Lastly, ASEAN Business Advisory Council under Philippine chairmanship is launching its flagship program called ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network which creates a region-wide pool of experts and mentors who will share their knowledge and expertise. Members of AMEN will also help develop teaching modules for MSME development which can be shared and promoted among the 10 ASEAN countries.

If we all work together, we are positive that the MSMEs we have today will become the next industry leaders not just in our country but across the region. Unity is important in creating effective and impactful changes in the lives of our MSMEs.