Nominations now open nationwide for outstanding micro business owners
Manila – Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. and Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed led the launch ceremony of the annual Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) held at the Century Park Hotel Manila during the annual conference of the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI).
Now on its 15th year, the awards program has been successful in recognizing entrepreneurs who have overtaken poverty with support from microfinance institutions as partners in financial inclusion and enterprise development. Funded by Citi Foundation, this nationwide search for outstanding Filipino microentrepreneurs is a partnership among BSP, Citi Philippines and MCPI.
In his keynote speech, Governor Espenilla said: “The democratisation of technology, the digital finance policy package of the BSP, and the intensified focus of this government on rural development are just some of the opportunities that the industry should not overlook as it aims to take microfinance to the next level.”
Governor Espenilla together with Ahmed serve as co-chairpersons of the CMA National Selection Committee that select the winners. Other members include industry and community leaders such as former Monetary Board member Antonino Alindogan, Jr., Ayala Corporation President Fernando Zobel de Ayala, RFM Corporation President and CEO Jose Ma. Concepcion III, GMA Network Chairman Atty. Felipe Gozon, Philippine Daily Inquirer Chairperson Marixi Rufino-Prieto, Voyager Innovations President Orlando Vea, and University of the Philippines-Diliman Chancellor Dr. Michael Tan.
In his remarks, Ahmed said: “Citi has been very committed in supporting financial inclusion through working with a broad cross section of microfinance institutions such as: Bayan Academy that provides entrepreneurship training; RIMANSI whose mandate is to grow the microinsurance base in the country; and MCPI with the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards which is a great platform for providing success stories to motivate other potential microentrepreneurs to pursue their dreams.”
The awards are open to microenterprises with assets worth PhP300,000 to PhP3 million. The award categories are Microentrepreneur of the Year Award, regional awardees from the three major island groups (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao), Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year, and special awards for agri-microbusiness, community leadership, and green/sustainable business.
The national winner of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards will receive PhP200,000 while the three regional awardees, the youth awardee, and special awardees will each get PhP100,000. The loan officers and MFI branches of each awardee are also entitled to a cash incentive of PhP10,000 while semi-finalists will receive a cash incentive of PhP10,000.
Beyond the award ceremonies, the CMA also ensures that awardees receive access to supplementary tools that can help them take their businesses to new heights. Aside from receiving microinsurance coverage and an entrepreneurship training at the Citi Microenterprise Development Center, CMA winners will also be entitled to one laptop and basic computer training. They also gain automatic membership to the CMA Alumni Network to build their market connections and participate in a mentoring program that will help them further improve their businesses.
The CMA started on Citi’s centennial year of operating in the Philippines and in wider Asia. Three years later in 2005, the CMA was adopted as a global program by Citi and introduced to over 30 other countries. Over the last decade, it has recognized 100 Filipinos, a number of whom have grown their businesses significantly in terms of profits and assets.