Manila, December 6, 2016 – It was a heartwarming afternoon as messages of hope, tenacity and inspiration clearly resonated when Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Microfinance Council of the Philippines and Citi Philippines presented the winners of the 14th Citi Microentrepreneurship awards.
Funded by the Citi Foundation, this annual event showcases the best of the Filipino entrepreneurial poor, rising out of poverty with capital as small as P1,000 and facing tough challenges only with hard work and sheer determination.
Accepting the top honors was Honie Krizia Navor of Iloilo City, wholesaler and retailer of granite and tiles, stones and marble slates. Navor at 27 is the youngest national winner in the CMA history. Together with Navor, the other awardees are: Regional Awardee for Luzon Richel Vargas, producer and distributor of garments for bicycle and motorcycle riders; Regional Awardee for Visayas Angelita Dagoc, owner of Ferangeli Guitar Handcrafter; Regional Awardee for Mindanao Marcelina Occeña, producer and retailer of Soup Wonder Herbal Oil; and Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year Kevin Pacatang, producer and distributor of native chocolate “tablea” and coffee.
Pacatang at 23 is the youngest recipient of any award from CMA and the inaugural winner of the newly introduced category. Meanwhile, recipients of the special awards are Manuel Iwayan, who collects and recycles rubber tires, for Green/ Sustainable Business; Renato Mercado, organic farmer and organic fertilizer wholesaler, for Agri Micro-business; and Wilberto Dagame, Willmar Homemade Candies producer and retailer, for Community Leadership.
Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed in his welcome remarks said: “It is our hope that the success stories of the winners will inspire other aspiring entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams with conviction. It is not only the finalists, but all 144 nominees we received this year that can serve as entrepreneurship Champions and role models. All of them can help others who dream of improving the livelihood of their families and becoming important community contributors. Collectively, we need to promote microentrepreneurship as this will help in further increasing the ranks of small businesses that are the backbone of the economy.”
For his part, BSP Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. took cognizance of the breadth and the diversity of the winners, all of whom hail from varying backgrounds. “Our CMA awardees for this year are among the most diverse set of winners, coming from a range of industries. They indicate how financial inclusion and microfinance unlock opportunities and serve as catalysts for development.”
Also on hand to give out the cash and non-cash prizes worth close to PhP 2 million were several distinguished members of the National Selection Committee, namely Ayala Corporation president Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Philippine Airlines director Antonino L. Alindogan Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer chair Marixi Rufino-Prieto, and University of the Philippines Diliman Chancellor Dr. Michael L. Tan.