Winners of the 2008 CITI Microentrepreneur of the Year Awards Announced

Winners of the 2008 Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year Awards, a nationwide search for outstanding Filipino microentrepreneurs, was announced today in the awarding ceremony held at the Metropolitan Museum, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Complex, Manila.

The awards program is funded by Citi Foundation and implemented locally by Citi Philippines in partnership with Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Co-chairing the Panel of Judges are BSP Governor Amando Tetangco, Jr. and Citi Country Officer Sanjiv Vohra. Other distinguished members of the pale are: Tessie Sy-Coson, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Jose Concepcion III, Antonino Alindogan, Jr., Marixi Rufino Prieto, Atty. Felipe Goson and Dr. Darwin Yu.

The Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year Awards (MOTY) program is now on its sixth run in the Philippines, pilotted in 2002 as part of Citi’s celebration of its 100 years in the country. The awards program aims primarily to elevate awareness of and provide support the microfinance by recognizing outstanding microentrepreneurs.

The MOTY program has two categories. The Masikap Award is given to microentrepreneurs who successfully a business that is now a reliable source of income for the family. The Maunlad Award, on the other hand, is awarded to microentrepreneurs that have grown a business to a level that is now generating employment for people apart from household or family members.

All awardees are required to meet the following criteria: a 100% loan repayment record, measurable results in terms of employment generation, sales turnover, growth in enterprise profit, and rate of reinvestment of enterprise profits. Awardees should also be role model citizens in their communities with high moral standards and demonstrate socially responsible behaviour. Business assets of awardees should be no greater than P 300,000 for the Masikap category and P 1,000,000 for the Maunlad category.

Estela Lagunzad, a microfinance client of Rural Bank of Dulag, Inc. bagged the first place in the Masikap category. She is engaged in various businesses to include a retail store and an eatery, production of nursing caps and container, and she also manages a kid’s band which is popular in Tacloban City and other areas in eastern Visayas. The nursing caps are sold and supplied to various hospitals and nursing schools in Region 8. Because of her business, Aling Estela is now able to provide employment to twenty-five people in her community.

Anunciacion “Ciony” Santillan, a client of FAIR Bank, clinched the top prize for the Maunlad award. She is engaged in a retail trading business of clothes, plasticware and other general merchandise, the biggest in Bantayan, Cebu. Her “Aubrey General Merchandise” is registered with the Department of Trade and Industry and employs the service of a bookkeeper monthly to handle her finances, and tax payments quarterly. With the success of her retail enterprise, Aling Ciony was able to start a hog raising business.

In his opening remarks, Citi Country Officer Sanjive Vohra said, “Through this program, we are able to actively share the success stories of our outstanding microentrepreneurs, promote their successes to a much wider community base, and most importantly, create role models that will inspire and courage others to similarly grow their microenterprises ad serve as catalysts to invigorate their own communities.”

In his keynote address, BSP Gov. Tetangco noted that the MOTY program “has brought to fore stories of exceptional individuals who have shown how access to microfinance services coupled with hard work, ingenuity and perseverance can empower them to break out of poverty and to build a better life for themselves and their families. It also has opened doors of opportunity for our winners and, in turn, for the microfinance industry in general.”

On the part of the Bangko Sentral, the Governor said “we will not cease to pursue our reform agenda for stronger banks in the microfinance sector, this is the rationale behind our regulations to ensure adherence to the principles of good governance, risk management and internal control systems, as well as proper accounting and performance standards.”

He also added that there are currently 230 banks with over 800,000 clients/households with loans outstanding amounting to nearly Php 6.5 billion. These banks have also collected savings from these micro-borrowers totaling to nearly Php 2 Billion.