Wonder Women

This June, it will be seven years since the Go Negosyo advocacy started. For four years now, we have been holding the Women Entrepreneurship Summit, and without fail, it always has the highest attendance among our summits, caravans and various events. I love working with women since they are so committed. There are so many of them, and you must have seen some of the most successful women in our ads and press releases over the past weeks.

It was my first time to meet Sara Soliven de Guzman, who represented Philippine Star as a major sponsor for the Women STARpreneurs. Sara is the daughter of Max Soliven, and a columnist of Star and an entrepreneur herself. Rosalind Wee, a Go Negosyo trustee and very successful entrepreneur, who will also be featured in our TV show this Saturday, helped in the selection of Women STARpreneurs and stayed practically the whole day helping out. She and Echostore founder Chit Juan were the judges for this year’s STARpreneurs.

Thanks to the women from the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines and from the Association of Image Consultants International Philippines who sat in the mentoring booths the whole day. Thank you to our speakers who were all excellent: Mel Tiangco, Vicki Belo, Grace Padaca, Joy Abaquin, Myrna Padilla and Maria Mercedes Corrales; our panelists Cynthia Villar, Pinky Poe, Honey Sumndad-Usman, Miriam Quiambao, Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan, Angeli Pangilinan-Valenciano, Fanny Serrano, Vina Morales, and Regine Tolentino.

I had the chance to interview Vicki Belo before her turn to talk. I’m going to keep mum about her love life, but she asked Marissa and I about what has kept our marriage this long. Funny, we took a long time to answer. I guess we never asked each other that question. But after thinking long about it, we told her that we just make way for each one’s shortcomings. Vicki gave an excellent motivational talk to the women. Vicki has been with Go Negosyo since we started.

Over the past weeks, many people have been asking me why Go Negosyo is focusing on women. 90 percent or more of enterprises in this country belongs to micro and small entrepreneurs, and majority of startup businesses are owned by women. We just want to give women the chance to grow and succeed, and this can be done through inspiration, teaching, and mentorship. It’s a long journey and seems never ending, but as long as there are people who want to have that chance of becoming big entrepreneurs, we are here to inspire and help. There are many successful stories and many more that we do not even know are happening. As I always say, greatness is for those who know that they can be great.

I would like to send my thanks and congratulations again to the 2012 Women Starpreneurs, who took the time to join the morning forum in the summit. They shared their experiences, as well as imparted really insightful advice to others. For those who missed the summit, we’ve asked our Women Starpreneurs to again share their advice in this column, to help any woman who wants to be successful:

A woman’s formula for success: SUCCESS = D + SC + C + R
1) DETERMINATION: she should be one who will never give up no matter what the odds are; 2) STRENGTH OF CHARACTER: she should be one who cannot be swayed by anyone or any circumstances after a decision is made; 3) CHARM: she should be one who knows how to use her charm to her full advantage; 4) RESOURCEFULNESS: she should be one who has the ability to transform something out of nothing – Maritel Nievera, president of the Cabalen Group of Restaurants, 2012 Go Negosyo Woman Starpreneur

My way to success is guided by these words: what, why, who, when, where and how; then I set my vision and focus unwaveringly on my goal. – Putlih Kumalah Sug Elardo, founder of Sulu Royal Coffee, 2012 Go Negosyo Woman Social Entrepreneur

A lot of factors are involved: 1) PASSION is the driving force that would compel you to go the extra mile for others. Passion doesn’t know how to complain; it only makes you work with enthusiasm; 2) The RIGHT ATTITUDE makes one feel very positive in everything she does. One can turn a big problem to a smaller one and eventually solve it with a big smile. 3) CONNECTIONS: treat every person well. He or she may be your benefactor in the future. Keep friendships intact. 4) KNOWING YOUR LIMITS and where you stand makes it easier to accept how far you can go with your strategy; 5) PLANNING is planting; it gives you a clear direction of where you stand and where you will be heading. – Penk Ching, owner of The Pastry Bin, 2012 Go Negosyo Woman Starpreneur

It is always a treat to learn from those with experience. These are distilled learnings that one should value, and more importantly, apply in our lives. We can only plant the seeds, but the success of each one really depends on how one would use these learnings in moving forward and achieving their dreams.

More insights and advice from our other Starpreneurs next week.

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A good friend, mentor and vice-chair of RFM Fritz Server lost his wife Chiqui to cancer. What I admire about Fritz is his love and devotion to his wife; married for 49 years, they would have celebrated their 50th anniversary next year.

Women play a very important role; they serve as the anchor in the family and the compass in helping steer the course of life. Those who have read Heaven is for Real somehow know about what happens next, as the book gives us a glimpse of what lies ahead. It is comforting to know that we will rejoin our loved ones once again.