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Soco takes the reins of Mandaue chamber, to champion MSMEs' needs

Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - July 4, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Businessman and news anchor Glenn Anthony Soco takes the reins of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) with plans to champion the needs of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

Soco is the fifth president of MCCI and the youngest ever elected since the business organization's revival in 2004.

Soco said that his leadership will zoom in on the development of micro businesses because majority of the businesses in Mandaue, including chamber members, fall under the category.

The new MCCI leader anchored his confidence of giving hope to small businesses with the appointment of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) secretary Ramon Lopez, who is also known as a strong MSME advocate, and one of the fathers of the "Go Negosyo" program.

The 42-year old bachelor president said he personally understands the plight of small businesses having been there in the past, therefore access to capital, market development, and mentoring programs will be among the top priorities during his term.

He added that he also hopes to bridge the gap between small businesses and the financial institutions, especially state-run agencies.

Soco also vowed to further revitalize the voice of Mandaue-based businesses. MCCI, he said will be introducing more improved programs and fresh advocacies.

Likewise, MCCI will strengthen its working partnership with the Mandaue City government and strongly push for solutions to perennial problems such as traffic and garbage disposal.

Blessed by a former prexy

As early as April this year, outgoing MCCI president Donato Busa already floated the idea that if he was given the chance to choose his successor, he would strongly recommend Glenn Soco, describing the young business leader as a person with the passion to serve.

It can be remembered that Soco tried his luck on politics and ran for vice governor of Cebu in the 2010 and 2013 elections, but failed in both occasions.

He ran under the ticket of Gwendolyn Garcia in 2010 but lost. In 2013, he ran for the same position but lost to vice governor Agnes Magpale.

Nevertheless, Soco said he will satisfy his passion for public service as the head of the chamber.

Currently, MCCI has close to 300 members. He targets to increase the membership count in the next few months, saying there are a lot of things that the private sector could do if they work together with the government.

He added that his acceptance to lead the second largest business organization in Cebu is also very personal, saying he is just continuing what his father Guillermo Soco has started, being one of the founding members of the MCCI when the organization was originally established some 50 years ago.

Existing programs of MCCI will be given "teeth" or be enhanced to adapt to the present needs of MSMEs, such as the "Obra Negosyo Eskwela, Winners or the "Women in Need Now Entreprenuers and Role Models," among others.

These kinds of existing programs of MCCI will be repackaged and be aligned to the thrusts of the new Duterte-led government, he added.

Soco is also preparing to convince the younger and new breed of business decision makers in Mandaue City to join his cause, and be effective activists for change and development.

Early years

Glenn Soco managed several of his family's businesses after he graduated from the University of San Carlos with a degree in Industrial Engineering.

He however wanted to open up his own business venture, thus in 1996 with P90,000 from his personal savings and a business partner, he opened the first Coffee Dream outlet near the Ayala Center Cebu cinemas.

At first, his products only appealed to the middle income markets, but to date, Coffee Dream has already captured all market segments.

He is now the President of the Coffee Dream chain, which is now present nationwide through company-owned stores and franchised outlets. (FREEMAN)

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