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In my previous articles, I have mentioned countless times the importance of giving the micro and small entrepreneurs a chance to move up by improving and expanding their businesses. Now that the economy is doing great, our small negosyantes must be prepared to grab on opportunities to grow their negosyos.  They must be empowered with the right attitude, skills and know-how to take their business to the next level. The success of the many micro and small entrepreneurs, which account for 99.6 percent of the total number of companies here, would be crucial in sustaining the kind of growth that our country is seeing; a growth that is “inclusive.” But we need to work more on our laws and government processes that will facilitate the growth of the small businesses which have a wider impact in solving poverty. We need people like Bam Aquino and Cynthia Villar who are passionate in the cause to help this sector, and they understand the problems and solutions.
Last Monday, I arranged a small lunch for entrepreneurs in the Go Negosyo community to manifest our support to our two partners, Cynthia and Bam, who are running for the Senate.  Among those who attended were Felix Ang (CATS Motors), Esther Vibal (Vibal Publishing), Ray Gapuz (R.A. Gapuz Review Center), Nelson and Siu Ping Par (PR Gaz), Tennyson Chen (Bounty Fresh), Rosalind Wee (Marine Resources Development Corp.), Annabelle Wisniewski (Raintree), Dra. Vivian Sarabia (Vivian Sarabia Optical), Samie Lim (Automatic Center and Blims), Ferdinand Sia (Double Dragon), Francisco Colayco, Chris Chilip (Tyremart), Rey Lapid (R. Lapid’s Chicharon), Rikki Dee (Foodlink), Marife Zamora (Convergys), Myrna Yao (Richwell), Genevieve Tan (Southville), Ben Liuson (The Generics Pharmacy), Robert Yupangco, and Ramon Garcia (DFNN). Cecilio Pedro (Lamoiyan) and Henry Lim Bon Liong (SL Agritech) were able to catch up, too.  Others who supported were Justin Uy (Profoods), Johnlu Koa (French Baker), Willy Tee Ten (Autohub), Injap Sia (Mang Inasal).  Our partners like Kat Luna-Abelarde (PLDT SME Nation), Ana Tan (British Council), Chal Lontoc, and angelpreneurs Dean Pax Lapid, Carlo Calimon, and Jorge Wieneke also attended. It was a great show of support for two sincere candidates who were already involved in the advocacy, even way before they decided to run for public office. 
In my short talk, I thanked the entrepreneurs for their continuous support to Go Negosyo over the years, as well as extending this support to like-minded individuals like Cynthia and Bam. I emphasized that the small entrepreneurs are the ones that really needed extra help from legislators through entrep-friendly policies.
Bam and Cynthia then shared their thoughts about their candidacy, as well as their plans in promoting entrepreneurship further. Bam recalled how his Tito Ninoy and Tita Cory offered their lives in the interest of the Filipinos, and how their story influenced him to serve the people as well. His tagline “Bida Ang Mamamayan” sends a message that he prioritizes people empowerment, and that this can be done by ensuring education and promoting entrepreneurship to create jobs. Bam also shared his plan to author the “Go Negosyo Act,” a bill that will cover extensive training, market access and finance for aspiring and existing negosyantes. Most of the entrepreneurs present including me were quite amused with the name, but we honestly thought that there is no better title for that bill than “Go Negosyo.”
Moving on, Cynthia explained the reason why she adopted livelihood and environmental preservation as her personal advocacies. “Hanep ang Buhay pag may Hanapbuhay” was a perfect slogan that reveals her focused passion to help small entrepreneurs.  Back when she was still a congresswoman, she noticed the need for a sustainable livelihood as well as an effective waste management system in Las Pinas. She decided to create a process where the waste materials like water lilies that clogged the Las Pinas river will be converted into usable products. These eventually solved the two issues, just like hitting two birds with one stone. Cynthia plans to extend her initiatives throughout the country and replicate the success stories that emerged from it.
Now is the chance for us to further strengthen entrepreneurship in the country by supporting candidates who truly understand the needs of negosyantes and have PROVEN their capacity to help. The strong support of the entrepreneur community that we have seen last Monday is a clear indication that Bam and Cynthia’s efforts were truly appreciated. We are all hoping that they could take the Go Negosyo advocacy a level higher as we work together towards turning the Philippines into a nation of entrepreneurs.
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More: Bam and Cynthia: Empowering small negosyos – Philippine Star

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