Published from http://www.manilatimes.net/index.php/business/business-columnist/11920-villar-foundation-gonegosyo-stage-ofw-summit
Friday, November 25, 2011 00:00
THE critical economic mass represented by overseas Filipino workers was amply demonstrated when several thousands of them gathered yesterday for the launch of “The 1st OFW & Family Summit” at the World Trade Center which is set to be a yearly event of the Villar Foundation and GoNegosyo.
“This summit was conceptualized for our OFWs and their families. So we really ensured that every aspect of the event—from the program to the exhibitors—was focused on them. We want the summit to be really worthwhile, educational and inspirational for all of them,” said Senator Manny Villar, who chairs the foundation.
Various speakers and Villar himself (as keynote speaker) provided the OFWs and the other attendees with insights and tips on entrepreneurship—from basic pointers on how to start a business, to instruction on how to tackle the financing procedures involved.
OFWs-turned-entrepreneurs inspired the audience with their success stories. Former Saudi Arabia-based Prudencio Garcia returned home to help out in their family business Mekeni, now one of the leading meat companies. Myrna Padilla, a former domestic helper, is now the owner of a BPO company.
The other speakers in the summit were businessman Jose Concepcion 3rd, the founding trustee of Go Negosyo, Blas F. Ople Policy Center’s Toots Ople, Leonardo Dayao Sr. of Puregold, Dean Pax Lapid of Entrepreneur School of Asia, Natasha’s Victoria Villa, Hortaleza’s Dra. Rosalinda Hortaleza and Armanda Bartolome of GMB Franchise Developers.
According to Villar, providing OFWs and families with needed business know-how and inspiring them with success stories, can help them better handle their hard-earned money.
“How many times have we heard sad stories of OFWs who returned to the country without any savings. Their hard earned money amounted to nothing. We want to help them use and invest their money wisely so they can raise themselves out of poverty.
“This yearly OFW Summit is our way of giving importance to OFWs who continue to prop up the country’s economy with their remittances. It is not enough to repatriate them when they get into trouble, which we have been continously doing. We also need to equip them with know-how and skills so they can use or invest their hard-earned money wisely,” said foundation Managing Director Cynthia Villar.
The numerous exhibitors at the summit that are involved in franchising and direct selling among others presented the OFWs with business ideas and opportunities.
GoNegosyo also gave away Swift and Kettle Corn cart businesses. Various other prizes and giveaways were also provided by exhibitors and sponsors.
Resource persons from the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration and the Development Bank of the Philippines also spoke about OFW-related matters and bank financing, respectively. Agencies such as OWWA, Department of Labor & Employment, Philippine Overseas Employment Agency, Department of Trade & Industry, and Commission on Filipino Overseas also had information booths.
At the end of it all, the Villar Foundation raffled off a Camella house and lot, which went to one very lucky OFW.