Traders share best practices with entrepreneurs in Subic Freeport forum

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — “Don’t prove me wrong, prove me right! Can you deliver?” This was the challenge sounded by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Assistant Secretary Blesila Lantayona at the opening here on Wednesday of the agency’s “Kapatid, Mentor Me Program” session some 200 local entrepreneurs.

The program, held at the Subic Bay Travelers Hotel, tapped speakers from among some of the highly successful entrepreneurs in the country today and aimed to help micro and medium enterprises grow and attain sustainability.

According to Lantayona, from 70 to 80 percent of small to medium businesses have a short life span due to insufficient knowledge among owners on how to manage the business. The mentoring project, she added, seeks to help small and medium enterprises in Zambales and Olongapo City penetrate markets more stably and consistently.

(DTI) Assistant Secretary Blesila A. Lantayona (3rd from right) urges entrepreneurs to aim for sustainable business by learning about best practices from successful businessmen.

During the forum, Paul Anthony de Guzman from the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurs and CEO of Go Negosyo, reminded participants that all entrepreneurs, big and small, should live by the vision of “Kapatid, angat lahat!”

He stressed that all entrepreneurs must lift and encourage one another, allowing small companies to benefit from and with their bigger counterparts.

Tokyo Tempura CEO Jorge Noel Y. Wieneke III, meanwhile, shared the origins of his entrepreneurial mindset and impressed upon the audience the need for an attitude of gratitude, all the while introducing his listeners to the “power” within them.

Wieneke said his business-centric mentality that originated from his infatuation with a childhood toy, which caused him to inadvertently find ways to make money through odd jobs. The same determination, risk-taking, passion and outgoingness carried into his adulthood and birthed his business, Potato Corner, which he had built with close friends and family.

The businessman would later on receive an award for sharing his insights on how to attain success.

Meanwhile, Business Mentors Inc. president Wilfredo Victor Arcilla contended that while overseas Filipino workers are recognized for their contribution to the Philippine economy through remittances, entrepreneurs play a bigger role in nation-building.

“The money OFWs collectively generated, if these were divided among the individuals OFWS, would still be a paltry amount. The OFWs weren’t going to change the Philippines; only enterprises will,” he concluded.

Asec Lantayona also urged the entrepreneurs of small and medium businesses and enterprises not to underestimate themselves, pointing out that their businesses “provide a whopping 62 percent of the jobs in the Philippines.”

She also cited the success of their mentees from Tacloban who had collectively generated P14 million after only five months of using a business model formulated under the DTI’s Mentor Me Program.

Lantayona said the DTI plans to extend the program into more easily accessible territory with web seminars, or webinars.

The mentoring session carried well into the afternoon with Arcilla lecturing on current marketing trends, followed by inspirational success stories from local entrepreneurs led by James Lee, chairman of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Council of Olongapo. (Dante M. Salvana)