‘Equalizing measures’ needed to help micro-entrepreneurs
Presidential consultant Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion III has asked government, lawmakers, finance leaders and big businessmen to help create a friendlier environment for micro-entrepreneurs in the country so they can have a chance to level up.
Concepcion, President Duterte’s consultant for entrepreneurship, more specifically wants business leaders to consider making micro-entrepreneurs “part of (their) supply chain” and appealed to banks to find ways to lend money to this sector despite their lack of collateral.
As the current chair of the Asean Business Advisory Council, he stressed that by allowing micro-entrepreneurs these “equalizing” measures, they would eventually have the opportunity “to be at least one day seated at this table.”
Concepcion is the founder of Go Negosyo, a nonprofit that provides programs, caravans, summits and seminars for entrepreneurs nationwide.
He is also the president and CEO of RFM Corp., a well-known food and beverage company in the country.
Concepcion aired his request before President Duterte, Asean economic ministers, esteemed local businessmen and around 900 foreign guests who attended the 10th Asean Business Awards 2017 Gala Night at Solaire Resort and Casino on Sept. 6.
Also seen in the audience were Senate President Koko Pimentel, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, Sen. Bam Aquino, former President Fidel Ramos, Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo and Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano.
A total of 47 awardees from all over Southeast Asia led by John Gokongwei Jr., founder and chair emeritus of JG Summit Holdings Inc. Philippines, was honored by Concepcion, President Duterte, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, and co-awardees and incumbent council members Tessie Sy-Coson and George Barcelon.
Other 2017 Legacy Awardees who joined Gokongwei on stage were Haji Musa bin HJ Adnin of Brunei; Rattana Prathoumvan, Laos; Goh Peng Ooi, Malaysia; Aung Ko Win, Myanmar; Wee Cho Yaw, Singapore; Sakchai Unchittikul, Thailand; Le Thu Thuy of Vietnam; and Dr. Sudhamek Aws of Indonesia.
Filipino entrepreneurs cited were Cecilio Pedro of Lamoiyan Corp. (SME Excellence Award for Corporate Social Responsibility); Dennis Uy, Udenna Corp. (Young Entrepreneur Award); Teodoro Ferrer and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Erikagen Inc. (Inclusive Business Award); Emma Imperial, Imperial Homes Corp. (Green Technology Award); Paul Rodriguez, Asian Marine Transport Corp. (Logistics); Pedro Delantar, Nature’s Legacy Eximport (Wood-Based); Olivia Limpe-Aw, Destileria Limtuaco and Co. (Agri-Food); Bernie Liu, Golden ABC (Retail); and Cambodia-based Jojo Malolos, Wing Ltd. Specialised Bank (Most Promising Award).
Concepcion reminded the audience that many of them also “started very small (and) all my life, I have looked up to many entrepreneurs who succeeded and inspired myself and countless (others).”
He singled out the “enterprising mentorship” that Gokongwei taught his own children that in time “created a lot of jobs.”
Concepcion said he wants the same quality of mentorship repeated in other areas, but noted that micro-entrepreneurs would also benefit if big business will create a more compassionate environment to assist them.
“I call on all our awardees today to face this challenge and… embrace many of these entrepreneurs into your own ecosystem. The fastest way toward inclusive growth is to make them part of our supply chain,” he said.
By providing needed assistance from big business or mentors, he said micro-entrepreneurs would then have a better chance to “survive, become sustainable and eventually grow.”
President Duterte seconded Concepcion’s observations, noting
in a six-minute speech that big businessmen in Southeast Asia “have
the responsibility to help micro-
entrepreneurs do better. I call on other entrepreneurs to also help eradicate poverty and develop initiatives for enabling a nurturing environment… embrace supply chains and open up their stores (and) eliminate inequality in the region.”
In an ambush interview, Sen. Aquino vowed to support legislation that would help banks lend to micro-entrepreneurs.
“We have a ‘missing middle’ in the country. Large companies with a good track record will not have a hard time finding loans. It’s the small enterprise that needs help. In other countries, this (group) is supported by the government through guarantees and entrepreneurship programs. We need to do more of that,” Aquino told Lifestyle.
“Once you are able to fill the gap of the missing middle, you can create a link from micro- to small- to medium- to large scale business,” he added.
Guests that night were treated to performances by West End-bound singer Christine Allado, tenor Arman Ferrer, St. Scholastica’s Chamber Choir, Kalilayan Folkloric Group, Ryan Cayabyab Singers and Gary Valenciano.
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