Building a nation through entrepreneurship

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DEL ROSARIO, Cuna, Tuason, Sy, Pardo-Orbeta, Lopez, Bartolome Stephen Norries A. Padilla

De La Salle University (DLSU) is hosting an entrepreneurship expo on March 16 on the ground floor of Henry Sy Sr. Hall on its Taft Avenue campus.

Organized by De La Salle Alumni Association (DLSAA), “Bullseye! Ignite Your Business Animo” will feature discussions with well-known Filipino entrepreneurs who, after some struggle, succeeded in their business ventures.

Members of the DLSU community and the general public are invited.

In organizing the event, DLSAA aims to “contribute to nation building” and “give back to the community” by encouraging Filipinos, especially the youth, to become entrepreneurs and invest in their own businesses.

“We know that Filipinos have a natural flair for business,” DLSAA president Johnny Sy said in a press statement. “We have also seen how they have grown with much gravity in the Philippine economic scene [and have contributed to] generating jobs and livelihood for other people, giving opportunities for expansion of new businesses and increasing productivity through technological change.”

Sy said that starting a business had “a huge multiplier effect” that could contribute to the country’s growing economy.

But he said many Filipinos were reluctant to put up their own enterprises because of lack of access to capital and lack of knowledge. He expressed the wish that “this event will bridge that gap.”

Sy said, “We see that entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy, that is why we have come up with this event to ignite the spirit of the people aspiring to start up and grow their own business.”

Expo participants are expected to learn from the success stories of businessmen like Prudencio Garcia of Mekeni Food Corp. and Johnlu Koa of French Baker and Chatime.

A forum, hosted by television personality and entrepreneur RJ Ledesma, will feature other successful entrepreneurs, like Gilbert Jim of Bubbatealicious Pearl Milk Tea Place, Rossana Lenado of Ahead Learning Center and Rommel Juan of Binalot.

Students and aspiring entrepreneurs could learn how to become “real negosyantes” and “turn adversities into opportunities” in business ventures, said DLSAA chair Herbert Tuason. He  expressed the hope  the event would inspire more people to become entrepreneurs.

“Take the plunge and jump in,” Sy said.

Apart from the discussions,  at least

25 booths of different companies and franchisors will be showcased at the exhibit, including Generika, SeaOil Philippines Inc. and Microsoft.

Exhibitors will not only sell their products but will  invite participants to join their businesses by becoming franchisees.

“Franchising is the best shortcut to doing business,” said Ricardo Cuna, vice president of the Association of Filipino Franchisors Inc. (AFFI).

“We want the Philippines to become the center of franchising development in Asia,” said Philippine Franchise Association (PFA) president Elizabeth Pardo-Orbeta, adding that franchising was like “a big brother watching over you.”

But AFFI president  Armando “Butz” Bartolome advised caution in buying a franchise. He said  anyone who planned to become a franchisee must first “do your homework and investigate” to avoid “being scammed” and “burning your money.”

He also emphasized that franchisors and other entrepreneurs “need to professionalize doing business.”

Ramon Lopez, executive director of advocacy group Go Negosyo, said the expo was a “great equalizer” as it would try to reach out to “aspiring entrepreneurs,” “underprivileged ones” and “the youth.”

Lopez said students who would attend the event should grab the opportunity to absorb as much relevant and practical information from real-life experiences of established businesspersons that would complement theories and lessons learned in school.

Although Lopez admitted that not everyone could be an entrepreneur, he expressed the  belief that “everyone can be enterprising” in any field.

The one-day expo will be held from

9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free to DLSU students, teachers, staff and alumni. Others will have to pay an entrance fee of P50.

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