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Opinion

Angat Lahat and the vision of a Bagong Pilipinas

GO NEGOSYO PILIPINAS ANGAT LAHAT! - Joey Concepcion - The Philippine Star

Last week, Go Negosyo joined First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos’ LAB for All caravan in La Union. The nationwide initiative brings medical, social and legal services closer to the communities and, of course, we were there last week to support it with entrepreneurship training. Working with the First Lady was quite easy; she is very humble, accommodating and has quite a sense of humor.

I was glad to see that the First Lady is supportive of our efforts. After all, we share the President’s vision of a Bagong Pilipinas, one where a robust MSME sector creates a Circle of Prosperity where no one is left behind. When MSMEs thrive, they can employ more people and generate more revenue, become part of the formal economy and pay taxes, contributing to the overall economic output of the country. This increased economic activity has a positive multiplier effect, creating growth and development across various sectors. We as a nation have the power to create this Circle of Prosperity, and we start by reaching out to MSMEs through mentoring.

Our 14 mentors during the LAB for All caravan in La Union included successful entrepreneurs Myrna Yao and Sandy Montano, who led the mentoring of more than a hundred active and aspiring entrepreneurs from the communities surrounding San Fernando, La Union. It was a huge success, and we are already excited for the next leg of the mentoring caravan this February in Pampanga.

Mentoring is crucial if we are to give Filipinos a clear path toward entrepreneurship. During our mentoring sessions, our mentors give small entrepreneurs the knowledge, skills and guidance necessary for founding or building enterprises. We normally organize these mentoring events ourselves with the cooperation of our partners in government such as the DTI, the DA and the DepEd. But now with the First Lady’s Lab for All, our Go Negosyo mentors can reach even the farthest communities and provide invaluable support to budding entrepreneurs, thanks to the well-executed and efficiently coordinated caravans that attract so many people. I was told there was even seed money, given by the DSWD, awarded to the top 20 entrepreneurs at the La Union caravan to start them on their business ventures.

This wouldn’t be the first time that Go Negosyo has worked in partnership with the national and local government as well as our peers in the private sector to bring entrepreneurship closer to people. At the PSAC (Private Sector Advisory Council) Jobs Fairs at the SM Malls, for example, we introduce jobseekers to the potential of entrepreneurship as an alternative career path for them. Youthpreneur, our program with the DepEd, mentors the youth in entrepreneurship and, in cooperation with existing programs within the department, it encourages them to pursue a future in agriculture. With local governments – especially their Sangguniang Kabataan – we hold the Negosyo sa Bayan to create local agents of entrepreneurship who can help foster the growth of MSMEs at the grassroots level.

These projects owe much of their success to partnerships. In La Union, for example, we are grateful for the help given by the DTI La Union, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the La Union Local Economic Investment Promotions Office. In the private sector, executives and owners of businesses volunteer as mentors to MSMEs, while the country’s largest malls help us by being the venues for our mentoring events; some even support us with the logistical requirements such an outreach project requires. On a regular basis, the leaders of the country’s biggest companies devote their time advising the President as part of their duties with the PSAC.

Government cannot do it alone. As the First Lady pointed out during our La Union caravan: if we are to thrive as a nation, we need everyone to be on board. She herself has worked in the private sector and knows how much potential it holds to help the economy and uplift lives. She told me that the Bagong Pilipinas vision is all about everybody coming together: private sector and government working hand-in-hand. It’s about genuine development that benefits everybody, not just a privileged few. “I am thrilled every time I see yet another private sector partner coming to join us,” she said during the La Union caravan.

Private sector can contribute so much in terms of growing businesses and generating jobs. I always see jobs and entrepreneurship as two sides of the same coin, and I often point out that MSMEs are responsible for creating more than half of the jobs in the country.

With the Philippines having millions of MSMEs spread out to the farthest and smallest communities in the country, we can only imagine how many jobs can be created if we scale them up, and the positive ripple effect this can have on our economy. As these MSMEs grow, they will require more manpower, leading to increased employment opportunities for the workforce. This, in turn, leads to higher wages and improved standards of living for employees. When individuals have more disposable income, consumer spending rises, stimulating economic growth and driving demand for goods and services.

Scaling up MSMEs through mentorship and training is essential for fostering economic prosperity. By supporting and guiding entrepreneurs, we can create a virtuous cycle where more businesses lead to more jobs, higher wages, increased consumer spending and a stronger GDP. Our efforts in mentoring individuals, partnering with various organizations and focusing on the youth are crucial steps toward achieving this goal. By investing in the growth of MSMEs, we invest in the future of our economy.

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