Building a country of enterprising citizens
Razel Estrella (The Philippine Star) - November 10, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines -  â€œWe noticed that there are many entrepreneurs in the Philippines, but most of them are engaged in the usual micro and small enterprises like retail, buy-and-sell, or sari-sari stores,” begins Go Negosyo founding trustee Joey Concepcion, referring to survival micro-entrepreneurship, which is prevalent in the country. “There isn’t much innovation. Poverty is also everywhere and all want to do something to help alleviate this situation.”

Compelled to change this condition, Go Negosyo was initiated by Joey in 2005, believing that all Filipinos, equipped with proper education and an enterprising attitude, will have an equal chance to thrive, and consequently build a prosperous nation. Joey continues, “Poverty cannot be solved by government alone. It has to start from within each Filipino, or what we call a ‘revolution from within’. And all of us who can help empower and teach them should help. We aim to ‘teach them how to fish, to feed them a lifetime’, as the popular saying goes.” In order to spread its advocacy throughout the country, Go Negosyo organizes entrepreneurship summits, seminars and forums, as well as provincial caravans; and maintains a strong presence in various media, such as the newspaper, TV, and radio.

The Go Negosyo vision is shared by entrepreneurs who have already attained great success in their journey and are now wanting to give back, in a way that will empower others to move up in life. Among those who lend their helping hand to the movement are Manny Pangilinan of the PLDT Group, Injap Sia of Mang Inasal, Tennyson Chen of Bounty Fresh, Justin Uy of Profoods, Myrna Yao of Richwell Trading, Esther Vibal of Vibal Publishing, William Belo of Wilcon Depot, Benjamin Liuson of The Generics Pharmacy, and Alice Eduardo of Santa Elena Construction and Development. They join the hundreds of successful entrepreneurs that find time and offer their expertise in sharing their know-how and making their presence felt to inspire and educate Filipinos who would attend Go Negosyo’s numerous activities.

These names serve as role models and mentors to aspiring entrepreneurs. Through their stories and knowledge in their specific fields, Go Negosyo is able to reach out to a wider and more diverse audience. According to Joey, when the right story resonates with the right person, he will be driven to take action and achieve his dream. “We don’t just want to provide seminars, we want to provide inspiration,” he says.

Joining the campaigns means being away from the office for at least a day or two, yet these successful businessmen and women continue to actively take part in Go Negosyo activities as a way of extending their blessings to society. “It makes their life more meaningful, and they know that while we in big businesses have reached this stage in our life, it will mean nothing if we see many of our fellowmen still struggling,” offers Joey. “I think they realize that in joining our fora and mentoring people, they’re able to help their fellow Filipinos in another way. They are already helping by giving employment, but this time they are helping more people beyond the comfort of their companies.”

Over the years, Go Negosyo’s efforts bore fruit as Filipinos slowly realize that putting up a business, managing it and making it grow is no joke. “Before, if they can’t find a job, the typical Pinoy would say, ‘magnenegosyo na lang ako’,” notes Joey. “Now, entrepreneurs are viewed as innovators and job creators.”

For being a force in promoting the potential of entrepreneurship, Go Negosyo is tapped by the British Embassy in Manila to become its partner in holding the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), an annual worldwide celebration that takes place in the third week of November. This year, the theme is “Take a step forward” and it will be hosted by the Philippines for the first time.

“GEW is celebrating entrepreneurship and creating awareness and empowering activities to reach out to more aspiring entrepreneurs. It is like a fiesta or Christmas for entrepreneurs where everyone can make their own activities or gatherings to enable each other in this field”, explains Joey. “More than 100 countries are participating and we have a lot of entrepreneurship-enabling activities during this period, from seminars to trade fairs and bazaars.” He further shares that the British Embassy also wishes to heighten the involvement of British entrepreneurs and companies in helping Filipino entrepreneurs.

Events to look forward to are: the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit, Creativity and Innovation on November 19; the PLDT Bossing Awards on November 21; the Annual OFW and Families Entrepreneurship Summit, in partnership with the Villar Foundtion, on November 22; four university tours on November 25 to 28; and the Inclusive Business Forum on December 2.

In the future, Concepcion shares that Go Negosyo aims to tie up with big companies to work on more new projects. To him, while the different companies may be trade competitors, they are ultimately working as one in empowering Filipinos to beat poverty. “That to us is making the Philippines an entrepreneurial country and a nation of more prosperous Filipinos,” he says.

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