Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion shared the stage with other advocacy speakers at the last Global Youth Summit held at the Mall of Asia Arena, Aug. 25, 2018.
Inspiring the new generation of young entrepreneurs
GO NEGOSYO PILIPINAS ANGAT LAHAT! - Joey Concepcion (The Philippine Star) - September 20, 2018 - 12:00am

Last week, my column titled “Boom or Bust” reached close to 500,000 readership and shares combined online. An overwhelming majority agreed that inflation is a grave concern, however, we should be focusing on solutions and the bigger picture. We can rein in inflation by carefully addressing the contributing factors. As mentioned, we should be managing the country like a company. Think of the Philippines as Phil Inc. In summary, we should not lose sight of our goals, and when faced with challenges such as inflation, we band together to come up with a long term plan. So what is our goal? It’s to establish an inclusive economy by linking the world to us through different programs similar to the infrastructure project, which brings our provinces closer to a bigger market.

Inflation – if not controlled – will be a problem. But we are just two to three months into this higher inflation number. While it is a cause for concern, it does not mean we cannot address it properly and manage it effectively. We should not throw in the towel and change course.

With regard to the sugar and rice shortages, the government is rolling out the importation of these products soon. Maybe this is where things should be anticipated. When raw materials like fructose was levied with a high tariff, this discouraged softdrink makers and pushed them back to cane sugar. This switch led to a huge shortage of sugar. The solution they see best to address this issue is to allow the importation of sugar and rice. Moving forward, we should just allow the importation of both sugar and rice, and put a tariff that would protect our farmers.

As a businessman, I do understand the serious issue of inflation. However, from the point of view of a mentor, I also see this as a golden opportunity to teach younger entrepreneurs on how to build flexible businesses and navigate financial challenges – which are part and parcel of all businesses.

I would like to share the joy of mentoring the youth and aspiring entrepreneurs. For the past Go Negosyo Mentor Me On Wheels rollouts, I have met several young individuals who have the passion and grit to make it in the industry. It’s a wonderful experience to inspire and influence the younger generation. They’re our next agents of change and movers of the country.

Recently, I was invited to speak in two major youth events: the 6th Global Youth Summit and first JFINEX Business and Finance Leaders Conference 2018. Both were held at the Mall of Asia Arena, and it gave me so much hope seeing participants fill up all the bleachers.

Last Aug. 25, Global Peace Foundation and SM Cares Foundation also hosted the 6th Global Youth Summit, which was attended by more than 15,000 participants, composed of high school, college and young professionals. The Global Youth Summit is a one-day celebration of youth leadership that aims to engage and inspire the world’s future experts.

I was the closing speaker of the event, and I maximized the opportunity to share an inspirational message to the youth about entrepreneurship. I related the story of Tatah Dela Calzada, a graduate of the Kapatid Mentor ME Program who recently opened her third branch in Manila. Her passion and interest in fashion and accessories opened up opportunities and a way for her to establish her own shop in January 2014. Tatah is testament that young people can be taught and mentored in order to make their business more successful. Today, Tatah has gained traction in her business.

In my speech, I said, “I believe that everyone in this room has the greatest chance to succeed in life if you really want to. I can’t force you to be successful. Your school, your parents will mentor you as much as they can. Your pastor, priest, or religious teacher can mentor you in your spiritual needs. But in the end, it is what you do with your life. It’s the decisions you make that give direction. As an entrepreneur, if you think the Philippines cannot help you achieve success, then I’m sorry, that’s the end of you. There is always hope and opportunity if you seek them. Always believe that this is a journey, our journey, and the journey of the Philippines to become a successful nation. May God give you the grace to be all successful in life.”

Another noteworthy youth engagement was the JFINEX conference organized by one of the Pilipinas Angat Lahat Alliance members, Finance Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX), led by Marivic Españo. It was another great gathering of business and finance students from different universities.

This first JFINEX conference served as a venue to learn and showcase the best corporate and business practices, concepts, and values. Also, it outlined and integrated the thinking process of the new generation and how it can be adapted to the future business environment.

I hope to inspire the youth by presenting entrepreneurship stories and how to take advantage of technology and the digital world to leverage their businesses. “All of you have the greatest chance today to succeed. Many of you know how to use technology, so use that power of the digital to convert it into gains for your business. I believe that the landscape is changing, the brick and mortar businesses that you have seen today – the shopping centers, the retail stores. The way we advertise, the way we buy our things is going to rapidly change.”

Indeed, with the advent of technology and the new developments and innovation done every day, anyone can use these to their advantage.

But even with these tools, without the right mindset and know-how, one cannot be successful. One must possess the hunger for success. “Never be satisfied with the status quo. Be hungry. I encourage all of you to maintain that want and desire to make a difference and find meaning in what you do – whether that be in business or any other endeavor. You can be a success.”

Lastly, I told them, “In the end, it’s what you do with what you have. Seek a mentor and have a model icon you can look up to. Look at the young entrepreneurs. Dream big. Always be an optimist. You can find success, but you must want it. Good luck and I hope God bless you with success.”

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