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A passion to serve


As someone who runs a company started by my grandfather and nurtured to growth by my father, I have been fortunate to see firsthand the power of business to transform lives and communities.


Growing up, I saw how my grandfather, Salvador Araneta, as secretary of Agriculture, and my father, Jose Concepcion Jr., as secretary of Trade and Industry, committed themselves to creating an environment that gave everyone in the Philippines an equal opportunity to succeed. They understood that true progress comes not just from personal gain, but from lifting up the entire nation.


Even in their lives away from politics or business, my father and my grandfather continued their passion to transform society using their talents as businessmen, as leaders, and as influencers among leaders. The gift they had as men who could lead companies to profit, they used to lead communities to achieve loftier goals like order, inclusiveness, equal opportunity, and positive change.


It was from them that I saw how fulfilling it was to be never satisfied with just running a business and creating wealth for one’s self. What drove people like them was a deep passion to serve – to help create an environment where everyone has an equal chance at succeeding.


Their dedication to public service left a lasting impression on me. They instilled in me the belief that being a business leader is about more than just running a successful company – it’s about using that platform to lift up others and contribute to the greater good.


My grandfather and my father chose the platforms where they believed they can do the most good. They became part of the Constitutional Convention to help build the policy frameworks that would favor the growth of Philippine industry. At a time when it was most difficult for Philippine companies to remain in business and employ Filipinos, they soldiered on and gave people jobs.


I’ve made it my priority to support MSMEs. They make up the vast majority of enterprises in our country and employ more than half of our fellow Filipinos. Entrepreneurship offers an alternative path to success for people who may not have the advantages of formal education or social connections to move up in life. Given access to mentors, capital, and a market for their goods or services, MSMEs have a better chance at succeeding.


I’ve witnessed how access to mentorship, practical advice, and the confidence brought by seeing other people achieve their dreams can be transformative for these entrepreneurs. Seeing the crowds that line up at our Go Negosyo events, eager to learn and grow, fills me with a sense of purpose and the determination to reach out to even more people.


And now, with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., I’m encouraged to see an administration that is making a concerted, sincere effort to achieve an economy and a society that is more inclusive. I believe it was a gamechanger that the President decided to bring in the private sector as his advisors to government.


Even in other countries, governments are acknowledging the potential of private sector to help in achieving their development goals. This public-private collaboration, exemplified in the Philippines by the creation of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) led by Sabin Aboitiz, is exactly the kind of approach I believe can make a real difference. With the PSAC, business giants like Tessie Sy, Doris Ho, Riza Mantaring, Kevin Tan and Fred Ayala – people who have proven themselves highly capable of leading people to success, have a platform to help the government create more and higher quality jobs for Filipinos.


From my own experience over the past 18 years with Go Negosyo, I’ve been able to directly support nano, micro, small, and medium entrepreneurs. Collaborating closely with Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual and Undersecretary Cris Roque, we’ve been able to accelerate our efforts to empower MSMEs.


The success of our programs with other government agencies such as the Department of Education, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Migrant Workers, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Labor and Employment, and even the Office of the First Lady, demonstrate how it is possible for government and private sector to harness each other’s strengths and work together.


Our YouthPreneur program is especially close to my heart, as I see the potential of the next generation of business leaders. It reaffirms my belief that Filipinos have the will to succeed, and that there are people who genuinely wish to help them do so. And the power of mentorship – providing practical advice and, most importantly, instilling confidence – is what I’ve found to be truly transformative.


Of course, I know that not everyone shares my optimism. It’s easy to be cynical, to simply bash the government without considering the nuance and complexity of the challenges we face. But I firmly believe that if we approach these challenges with a spirit of collaboration and a passion to serve, we can create real, meaningful change. I choose to focus on the positive: on the progress we’re making, on the opportunities we’re creating, and on the deep well of entrepreneurial spirit that exists within the Filipino people. Because that is where the real power for change lies.


That’s why I will continue to dedicate my time and energy to supporting MSMEs, partnering with the government to create an enabling environment for them to thrive, and inspiring the next generation of young and aspiring entrepreneurs. It’s not just about the bottom line for me – it’s about using the gifts and opportunities I’ve been given to make a difference in the lives of my fellow Filipinos. This is the transformative power of passion.



Source: Go Negosyo - www.philstar.com

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