Honored

The Philippine Business for Social Progress – Enterprise Development Group held last Tuesday a forum  for SMEs (that’s small, micro and medium enterprises) on how to make their business operations more eco-friendly.  The same event also honored PBSP’s Volunteer Advisors (VA) under its Business Advisory Program.  I have been a VA for PBSP for some time already, making myself available for small enterprises that need support in the areas of Service Marketing, Customer Service,  Business Planning and Strategic Management.

As an aside, and for you to better appreciate why SMEs are important to the national economy, read today’s A View From Taft column in BusinessWorld written by Aida Velasco of DLSU.  In summary, “SMEs comprise more than 96.6% of all registered establishments in the Philippines (NSO, 2002). Ninety percent of business establishments are micro industries, and 59% are engaged in wholesale and retail businesses. Only 2,984 or 0.4% are classified as big businesss, and 43% are in the manufacturing sector”.  This figure alone tells us that the SMEs are the real engine of commerce, supplying big business and houselholds alike and employing a large number of people at the same time.  Unfortunately, the SMEs are also the least supported sector.  They lack skills, technical know how and capital among many other support mechanisms.

I am sharing below the speech I gave that afternoon, as a response to the recognition PBSP conferred to its volunteer advisors.  Taking inspiration from President Noynoy Aquino’s inaugural speech and SONA, I also prepared my speech in Filipino.  Here you go:

Bagsik ni Ondoy, Tapang ng mga VA, Tibay ng PBSP, at Syempre, Tagumpay ng mga Maliit na Namumunuhan

Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.

Buong galak po naming tinatanggap ang karangalan na iginawad sa amin ngayon ng PBSP.  Sa ngalan ng mga kasamahan kong VA, maraming salamat po.

Noong una kong tinagpo ang mga kababaihan ng Women for Progress of Nagpayong Multi Purpose Cooperative (see previos post) para sa isang strategic planning session sa Intramuros, malakas na ang ulan noon.  Medyo nahuli sila ng dating kasi bumaha na sa ibang parte ng Kamaynilaan, at mahirap na din humanap ng masakyan patungong Manila.

Pagkaraan ng ilang linggo, para naman sa aming follow up session, nakatakda kaming magkita sa kanilang lugar sa Nagpayong, Pasig.  Lingid sa aming kaalaman, iyong araw na din yon pala ang nakatakdang pagdating ng mabagsik na si Ondoy.

Syempre pa, na-stranded kami sa daan- ako, si Weng at si Edwin ng PBSP.  Bago pa man lang kami makarating sa Nagpayong, nakatanggap na kami ng tawag mula sa coop na nagsabing huwag na kaming tumuloy.  Hanggang bewang na po daw ang tubig.  Kaya naman bigla din kaming nag U-turn.  Madami na kasi kaming nadaanang mga kalsada na lubog na sa baha.  Madami na din kaming alternate routes na sinubukan.  Nakikinig man kami sa radio noong mga panahon na iyon, pursigido pa din kaming makarating.  Sige lang…sabi namin…makakarating din tayo.

Hindi po kami nakarating sa Nagpayong.  Na-stranded kami sa kalye.  Naghanap ng malulusutang daan na hindi pa lumulubog.  Naipit sa trapik ng mga sasakyang ilang oras na ding nakatigil sa daan.  Hatinggabi na kami nakauwi, sina Weng inumaga na.

Si Ondoy ay matagal pa bago natin makalimutan.  Mas matagal sa apat na linggong pamamalagi ng bahang dulot ni Ondoy sa mga naninirahan sa Pasig.  Mas matagal kaysa sa mahigit 8 oras na walang tigil na pag ulan noong araw na iyon.  Mas matagal pa sa mga madilim at mahabang sandali ng paghihintay ng tulong habang natatakot at nangangamba ang mga nasalanta ng bagyo.

Sa tagal ng pananatili ng alaala ni Ondoy sa ating mga kamalayan, gamitin din natin ang panahong yan sa pagsisikap na maintindihan kung bakit may mga Ondoy o unos o bagyo sa ating buhay.

–         May bagyo para gisingin ang natutulog nating kakayahan para makilahok sa paghugis ng ating lipunan.  Di ba, madami ang nag volunteer, naki-alam, tumulong, nagpaka-bayani?

–         May bagyo para sabihin sa atin ng kalikasan na hindi na nya kayang buhatin pa ang mabigat nating mga basura at pagsasawalang bahala sa ating kapaligiran.  Kaya naman, ibinalik ng kalikasan ang mga basura natin…sa loob mismo ng ating mga tahanan.

–         May bagyo at pagbaha para mamulat tayo sa ating mga angking kakayahan, at upang lubos na maunawaan ang kahalagahan ng pagiging responsableng mamamayan.

–         May bagyo para tayo ay matuto.

Ang bagyo, tunay man o metapora sa mga suliranin sa buhay, ay kasangkapan lamang upang ipaalam sa atin ang mga kelangan nating malaman o matagal nang alam pero tila ay binabalewala. 

–         Na lahat tayo ay may angking kakayahang tumulong sa kapwa.  Kelangan lamang ay panatilihing buhay ang ispirit ng boluntarismo at pakikilahok – bilang propesyonal, bilang negosyante, bilang isang mamamayan. Lahat tayo ay humuhugis sa ating lipunan; nagpapanday sa ating kinabukasan.  Walang sisihan.  Pero wala din dapat lamangan. 

 –         Na lahat tayo ay may pananagutan sa kalikasan.  Kaya dapat tamang sakto lang ang paggamit sa enerhiya, tubig, kahoy, gasolina, papel, hangin, bakal at iba pang likas na yaman. 

 –         Na hindi na natin kelangan ng isa pang bagyo para alamin ulit ang aralin o lessons sa mga sakunang pwede naman talagang maiwasan.

Ganyan din sa buhay mangangalakal o negosyante o namumuhunan di ba?  Kelangan tapat sa mga suki at mamimili; kelangan responsable sa mga kalat o basura at gumagamit ng mga materyales na angkop at hindi nakakasakit sa kalikasan o sa lipunan.

Sa mga VA, ito ay hamon din para sa atin na rumisponde hindi lamang sa mga oras ng kagipitan.  Mas makatutulong tayo kung maging instrumento tayo ng wastong pagnenegosyo – handa, tapat, malinis at may silbi sa kapwa. 

Bilang pagtatapos, maraming salamat sa PBSP sa mga pagkakataong ibinigay nyo sa amin upang maging kapaki-pakinabang.  Sana ay madami pa tayong matutulungan.

Tag ulan na ulit.  Madalas na naman ang bagyo at ang pagbaha.  Sana ngayon ay mas handa na tayo.  Maraming salamat po.

Interested to volunteer as Business Advisor?  Click here.

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Surrounded by Women

Last weekend, I found myself surrounded by very enterprising ladies from Women for Progress of Nagpayong Multi-Purpose Cooperative.  We had a 2-day strategic planning workshop for their 3-year old cooperative.  I facilitated the workshop in my capacity as volunteer business adviser for small and micro enterprises, of the Philippine Business for Social Progress

I enlisted as volunteer adviser (VA) for PBSP’s Business Advisory Program some three years ago.  Despite that, it was only this month that I took a real advisory assignment.  The other assignments that came in the past did not jibe well with my schedule.  The other engagements I had with PBSP until last Saturday was limited to being present in its various seminars for VAs and emceeing an acquaintance party.

The Women for Progress of Nagpayong Multi-Purpose Cooperative is one of the many urban poor community enterprises that the PBSP supports.  The PBSP on the other hand, is what we may now call as the country’s oldest living consortium of private businesses that aims to eradicate poverty through concerted, deliberate, and sustainable programs that empower the poor.  This is not simply one of those private philantrophic activities that make donations for good PR or to ease a guilty conscience.  PBSP is about corporate citizenship:  we are citizens of the world therefore we should leave this place a lot better than we found it, whichever part of the world you may be right now.   

Women for Progress is currently into sewing rags from scrap fabrics, sewing of school and office uniforms, and lastly, weaving of bags, mats and slippers using wicker and dried water lily stalks.  Shown below is a screen capture of Alibaba.com promoting the products of WPMPC.

 

Interestingly, the Women for Progress MPC has already started doing internet marketing as a way of reaching out to their target customers.  Aside from Alibaba.com, they also have their own website and presence in other online trading sites like Sulit.com.ph.

women for progress

As an enterprise, I see that the WPNMPC has a lot of potential to grow and become successful.  Hopefully, there will be more people and corporations who will lend a helping hand in ensuring that the cooperative will achieve their business objectives, and ultimately become significant contributor of income to the families of each of their members. 

As for me,  I was just glad that I cleared up my calendar for this activity.  I’ve had the chance to meet the women of Nagpayong whom I admire for their steadfast commitment to bring their business to the next level.  Their positive attitude, fighting stance and willingness to listen and learn, despite the negativity around them, was a powerful reminder that the poor Filipino is already fed up with government dole outs or pantawid gutom strategies of this government.  The pantawid programs make them feel poorer, inutile and useless.  Those are not sustainable response to the poverty problem. 

Empowering the poor is the answer.  But they can never succeed without our help.  So pitch in and be involved.  Let us stop poverty today.

Idea Camp Davao

Amidst the cynism and intellectual laziness that seemingly dominate  our generation today,  there are a few things that, thankfully, can still give us space for a refreshing mental masturbation, allowing us to explore the unimagined and create solutions to problems not yet known by ordinary mortals.  One of these few things is the Idea Camp Davao:  the unconference for people who want to make a differenceposter-20090811I am in no way connected to, or friends with the people who are behind this revolutionary initiative.  At least not yet.  But I am an avid observer and a silent supporter, ever since I’ve learned of their first Idea Camp few months ago.  

If I were based in Davao, this event would surely be a never-to-be-missed day on my calendar.  For those who are in Davao City, or nearby provinces, why not pitch a tent to this camp of ideas?  It could be the right orgasmic experience for you- intellectually speaking.

Trainers in Convention

I am spending three days in Marikina this week for the 35th National Convention of the Philippine Society for Training and Development (PSTD).  This is my first time to attend the PSTD convention, and also my first time to be back in Marikina City after a long, long time.

Playful at the Convention

Playful at the Convention

About PSTD

PSTD is the country’s widest and oldest professional association of corporate trainers.  It started in 1965 and has until now, provide venue for exchange of styles and best practices in training among its members.  It has also hosted several international gatherings of training and development professionals through the Asia Pacific Regional Training and Development Organization (now commonly known as ARTDO International).  Coincidentally, PSTD is currently preparing for yet another hosting job for the 2012 ARTDO Conference in Manila.

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The 35th Convention    

This year’s convention revolves around the theme, “Building Capacities for Global Competitiveness”.  This is consistent with the PSTD’s vision of making the Philippines a training hub of Asia.  As to what it means in a specific and measurable terms, I still do not know.

Expectedly, the lady mayor of Marikina City, Marides Fernando, graced the occasion as its keynote speaker.  It was my first time to listen to the mayor and I must say that I was impressed by her short and direct message to the convention participants.  It was devoid of the usual gobbledygook from bureaucrats and politicians.  She talked about quality and how should work be quantified and measured against set standards.  She talked about veering away from the pandesal mentality, or the zagu phenomenon as it is also called, where people go into the same business as their neighbour because the neighbour is successful in it.  The other neighbours follow suit, thus creating a saturated market.  We see this phenomenon everywhere in the Philippines, from sari sari stores, carinderia, car wash, water station, and even laundry service.

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The good mayor said that the government needs to limit competition in such instances, to allow business players to survive and so as not to saturate the market.  People must be trained to be creative, as a true entrepreneur should be. 

It made sense.  Government must really come in to avoid market failure brought by, in this case, market saturation.  There should be a zoning of enterprises to allow competition to prosper without risking the life savings of other people.  Sometimes, business owners would resort to corrupt practices like not paying correct taxes or selling sub-standard goods or paying low wages to its employees only to be able to maintain its lowest price position in the market, to the detriment of legitimate business owners.

Speaking of corruption, Mayor Fernando shared to us a line from Lee Kuan Yew which she claimed has come from the horse’s mouth during her audience with the latter:  whenever there is a queue, there is corruption.

The Marikina Convention Center

The Marikina Convention Center

The point being is automation of government transactions and minimizing  face to face contact with government employees, especially those that are prone to negotiations.  You know what I mean.

As to what training can do to achieve this?  A lot.  It is about changing a mindset and building capacities to understand and embrace the change.  It is finding one’s niche and making a reputation on it.  Employee development mechanisms must also teach employees on how to train their sights to an area of expertise where they can specialize- finding their own Blue Ocean, so to speak.  Trainers must also do the same.

r u E S or B I?

I’ve been reading a lot of Robert Kiyosaki these days and I feel enlightened. Like a child in his first Aha! moment, I was surprised by the profundity and power of this book and at the same time, annoyed at myself for not having read Kiyosaki’s books sooner.

51ohfre8lgl__bo2204203200_pisitb-sticker-arrow-clicktopright35-76_aa240_sh20_ou01_1I spent almost four years in B-school but not one of my professors there ever mentioned or made Kiyosaki a required reading.  In fact, these types of books were classified as self-help and students were told to shy away from, like the plague, because self-helps, we were told, are just commercial ploys intended to capture the single-minded non-readers.

They were right about the single-minds but wrong about Kiyosaki.

The book’s power lies in its simplicity, honesty, matter-of-fact discussions, and use of stories, or allegories to drive home a point.  I was not at all bothered by those who criticizes Kiyosaki for the seemingly fictional characterization of his Rich Dad (no one can locate him and Kiyosaki is mum about his whereabouts) because, I guess the use of Rich Dad is a literally license.

Rich Dad Poor Dad, like his other books, is for those who want to be wealthy.  The first step to creating wealth is to find out where you are right now.  Kiyosaki thus introduces the Cashflow Quadrants:  the E for employment, S for small business and self-employment, B for big business and I for investments. 

He said that most people were/ are educated to become good employees who pay their taxes religiously (since income taxes are automatically deducted in company’s payroll), and eventually retire upon reaching the age of 65, hoping that their pension plans can pay for their lifestyle after retirement.  People in this quadrant are POOR.

The other poor people are those who have small businesses, the kind where owner is also the sole employee.  Poor people have one thing in common:  they lack passive income and they thrive in fear (fear of losing their jobs, fear of investing their money).

The other two quadrants are where the rich people are:  big business owners and investors.  Rich people are risk takers because they understand what they are doing.  They are not only educated in the traditional school sense but they have, most importantly invested much time in their financial education.  While poor people work for money, rich people let their money work for them. 

Unfortunately, our formal education system does not teach us these things.  Is there a grand conspiracy somewhere to make people stay poor?  I won’t allow myself to be a victim of that. In fact, I have given up my Saturday mornings for my financial education.  I’ve been attending the Cashflow games in Ortigas Center organized by the Create Abundance 2020 Business Community Continue reading