Entrepreneurship has its day
WRY BREAD - WRY BREAD By Philip Cu-Unjieng () - February 18, 2007 - 12:00am
It was one of those cool evenings of February and Joey Concepcion had decided to host a dinner party at his home. With the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE) and Citibank helping Joey host this one, it was a clear clarion call for entrepreneurs to take on the mantle of "vanguard for national economic progress." The President was the special guest of honor for the night, and she was visibly pleased with the support Joey had mustered. It isn’t often that one can put together so many luminaries, up-and-coming trendsetters, technopreneurs and successful start-up operators of the business world in one spot. But on this night, there was no denying how such broad representation had converged at the Concepcion residence.

The GoNegosyo book is now available at most bookstores, and it’s a light, easy read. As editor, I likened it to a Chicken Soup for the Businessman. The idea was to purposely keep the articles inspirational, rather than turn it into a blueprint for setting up a business. Any entrepreneur worth his weight will know that there is no foolproof plan to making an enterprise succeed. So many good ideas end up by the wayside and it’s the peculiar alchemy of one’s drive, vision and luck that can spell success for one entrepreneur, and dismal failure for another. This book’s vision had more to do with putting together 50 "success stories" and showing us the paths that had been taken — the hardships, the setbacks along the way and the manner in which success is measured by what you’re ready to do tomorrow!

Along with the book, a nationwide campaign of teaching a nation how "to fish" was also launched. With regular forums and workshops, the PCE constantly imparts its message of how basic tools and "life’s lessons" of Negosyo mentors can be harnessed to maximize chances of success. Rather than give handouts, the clear cut message was that one best helps the emergent business community by creating a groundswell of ready and able entrepreneurs. You don’t just hand the person fish for his next meal, but teach him to fish so that he is equipped for the rest of his life.

The rock band Rivermaya was on hand to give us the new theme song of the movement. Korina Sanchez and Anthony Pangilinan hosted the night’s festivities, and with over 300 guests in attendance, it was interesting to muse on how much of the country’s GNP were gathered by the tables that dotted Joey’s garden. Without a doubt, this was Joey’s night; a night when the tireless efforts he has dedicated to making Entrepreneurship a byword for progress, came to fruition. From Techno-Business, to OCWs and in the planning stage, a Fashion Negosyo conference, Joey has shown us the many possibilities and bevy of opportunities that are just waiting out there.
Sizzling summer campaigns
At a recently held "party" for his franchisees, Ben Chan and Bench unveiled their OJ Summer Campaign. Without a doubt, the launch of new billboards and print ads of Bench are one of the most sought after and anticipated seasonal activities of our retail and consumer world. Whether it’s the Underwear Show, his Perfect Tees, a new Bench Body line or the Wear Your Conscience campaign, there’s no denying the buzz that Bench’s savvy marketing team always generates.

For the 2007 OJ Summer Campaign, Mark Nicdao was brought on as lensman, and bringing the talents to Dumaguete late last year was like a military mission. For the first wave of ads, focus will be on Francine Prieto and Angelica Panganiban as female leads, and Rafael Rosell, Don Mendoza, Sofian Ait-Mansour and AJ Winkler as the male personalities. With Francine and Angelica, there is no doubt that these billboards will emerge as welcome sights for all male motorists all over Metro Manila. For those with a historical bent, who can forget the 2004 Guadalupe Underwear Show billboard that had Francine inviting us to attend the show. Her Eurasian looks and Ronnie Salvacion’s photography created "street magic." Angelica was the cover of the first Maxim magazine, and sales for that issue went through the roof. A billboard for that issue never saw the light of day because the AdBoard felt it would be too much of a distraction and could cause motoring accidents.

Thankfully, for the next month or so, these two will be part of my daily Makati-to-QC commute. To this day, I don’t understand why these two are not enjoying more mainstream endorsements, for the likes of shampoos, cosmetics, snack foods and mass-based jewelry and watches. On the part of Francine, you even have two highly-rated late night shows on GMA-7; while Angelica has done her share of teleseryes on ABS. They have both transcended just being "sexy stars," proving their acting mettle in both comedy and drama.

As for Bench, they’re once again paving the way for other apparel retailers. Celebrating its 20th year in the business, Bench has certainly come a long way from the days of Richard Gomez serenely rowing on the Pasig River. With US and China outlets, Bench is emerging as one of the homegrown retail brands that has the "legs" to travel abroad and succeed. Ben was at the GoNegosyo dinner, and one could see the kind of respect and admiration he elicits. Insofar as Philippine retail fashion is concerned, he is one of the true visionaries, and I tip my hat off to him for never resting on his laurels, but constantly refining and expanding his vision.

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