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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

First lady backs Filipina entrepreneurs

FIRST lady Marie Louise “Liza” Araneta-Marcos on Saturday showed her support for women entrepreneurs, joining them at a Go Negosyo event aimed at encouraging more women to start their own businesses in the country.

Araneta-Marcos graced the Go Negosyo’s Women Entrepreneurship Summit at the SM Mall of Asia Activity Center in Parañaque City on Saturday.

She was joined by Go Negosyo founder Jose Maria “Joey” Concepcion 3rd, United States Ambassador MaryKay Carlson, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual, and Parañaque Mayor Eric Olivarez.

In his remarks, Concepcion thanked Araneta-Marcos for supporting Go Negosyo’s initiatives to help women entrepreneurs in the country.

“I would like to thank the first lady, Louise Araneta-Marcos, for being here today. She has been very supportive of our women entrepreneurs. She attended the Kabayan last December for OFWs (overseas Filipino workers),” Concepcion said.

The Go Negosyo founder also congratulated all the women, who made a “first big step” by participating in the event.

“That step may lead you to greater prosperity, but you have to work hard to reach that,” Concepcion said.

In the 17 years that Go Negosyo worked closely with micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), Concepcion said they found that “women make the most resourceful, creative and determined entrepreneurs.”

“That’s why we make it a point, since early in Go Negosyo’s history, to always dedicate one of our events to honoring women entrepreneurs,” he added.

With the theme “Celebrating Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs,” the Women Entrepreneurship Summit 2023 sought to highlight the role of women in various fields such as in innovation, technology, trade and business leadership, and recognize women who have excelled in these areas. The event also presented successful business models that women can venture into.

For her part, Ambassador Carlson recognized the contributions of women entrepreneurs and business leaders to the Philippine economy.

She also lauded Araneta-Marcos for supporting the event and other women-led initiatives in partnership with local governments and the US embassy.

Last August, the ambassador said she joined President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the Go Negosyo team to celebrate the central role entrepreneurs play in the Philippines at the MSMEs summit in Manila.

“One thing really stood out to me from that experience — to be an entrepreneur is to be an optimist. Your vision for the future and your willingness to invest in that vision are inspirational and your optimism is contagious,” Carlson said.

“The United States is honored to partner with the Philippines to support women in micro, small and medium businesses so your enterprises can continue to grow and propel the country’s economic prosperity,” she added.

Carlson cited the US embassy’s initiative to support Filipino businesswomen, through its Academy for Women Entrepreneurs or AWE, which they launched in December 2020.

Over the past two years, she noted that more than 300 Filipinos have graduated from the AWE, joining a group of alumni that includes 25,000 women from 100 countries who have received training and working support to launch or scale their businesses.

“The Filipino alumni of this program are already operating and expanding their businesses with direct positive results for their incomes, their families and their futures,” Carlson said.

She said that programs like AWE “are part of a broader US commitment to the future of women here in the Philippines and around the world.”

“Advocating for an exclusive economy is central to the work we do at the US embassy, alongside our Philippine friends, partners and allies. Diversity, fairness and inclusion are qualities that make our workforces more competitive and our marketplaces more dynamic,” she said.

Carlson noted that how they frame women’s participation in all sectors of society “lays a foundation for the opportunities that women and girls will have as tomorrow’s decision-makers.”

“As we work together to develop a prosperous future, I pledge to you that the United States will continue to partner with the Philippines to promote economic inclusion as part of our shared effort to increase prosperity for all Filipinos,” she added.

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Author: Catherine S. Valente

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