Business Bayanihan: Getting a headstart through Filipino business organizations
By Lalaine Chu-Benitez
“Filipinos around the world are renowned for their community-based thinking and the family atmosphere they create within their own communities. This unselfish mindset creates the opportunity to unite as one voice and grow our organizations together. If you want to grow your respective organization, use what is naturally within us, the sense of family. Strengthen bonds by supporting each other’s organizations through sharing resources or simply sharing each other’s posts.” – Craig Wilson, President – FACCHO
Nowhere is the adage “no man is an island” more true, and in fact even critical, but in the world business – where relationships and the ability (or inability) to work with others can make or break a venture.
The talent to collaborate however is not an innate skill for all entrepreneurs, regardless whether they are aspiring business owners or if they have been at it for a long time. This becomes even more challenging in markets beyond the homeland where you have to deal with people from different cultures that have different values and ways of doing things.
This is where one’s immediate community becomes a very valuable resource. And where harnessing the power of your own people can help you and your business get ahead.
In various Filipino communities around the world, the spirit of communal work is alive and kicking in the entrepreneurial sector, with veritable “business bayanihan” providing a boost to Pinoy entrepreneurs in so many ways. We have spoken to three Filipino business organizations to find out how they are adding value to the Philippine business community.
Facilitating Linkages and Education
In the UAE, the Philippine Business Council of Dubai and Northern Emirates (PBC DNE) has played a leadership role for Philippine business in the country since 2001. A non-profit organization established under the patronage of the Embassy of the Philippines and the Philippine Consulate General of Dubai and the Northern Emirates. PBC – DNE is recognized by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) and is also a member of the ASEAN Business Councils Alliance (ABCA).
As vanguards of Philippine entrepreneurship in the UAE, the council provides avenues for business exchange among Filipino entrepreneurs, and other parties with a commercial interest in the Filipino market in the emirates. The PBC Dubai also endeavors to build and grow business ties with organizations in the Philippines and the UAE; promote the development of bilateral trade, investment, tourism, the exchange of business delegations and improve the overall Philippine-UAE commercial scene. Furthermore, the council also offers assistance to Philippine start-ups setting up in the country.
Similarly, in the capital, counterparts Philippine Business Council of Abu Dhabi, a member of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI) has been operating since 2003 with the same objectives. The council provides a forum for exchange of knowledge and resources beneficial to the common business interest of its members, and constantly endeavors to establish a strong relationship with government agencies, and the international business community for the development of bilateral trade, investment and tourism. The PBC Abu Dhabi is also actively promoting entrepreneurship amongst Filipinos in Abu Dhabi.
On the other side of the world, set against a totally different business environment, the Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Hollywood (FACCHO) was started out of a need to help organize the businesses and its business supporters within the growing FilAm Entertainment industry. As a newly formed Filipino organization, FACCHO has huge ambitions to not only educate entertainers on how to think like an entrepreneur but to also instigate partnerships between businesses/brands and entertainers. The group aims to create a financial system within their community that supports both its entertainers and businesses.
According to FACCHO President Craig Obligacion Wilson, “The Filipino American Entertainment industry has yet to be organized. As FACCHO we are doing just that. By reaching out to leaders within each creative field, we are beginning to establish a new board of directors that can give a voice to the Fil-Ams in their respective field. We are also starting to establish relationships with various Filipino organizations by sharing resources and growing our community together.”
FACCHO hosts quarterly workshops, monthly mixers, provides social media support and promotional support to member businesses and entertainers. “Our plan is to directly introduce established businesses with Fil-Am entertainers to inspire a relationship that can grow into a business. We want to educate our members on the power of product placement, branding, marketing, and sponsorships. With membership benefits like advertising on podcasts, directly paid to advertise on their project/event/website becoming a member not only directly benefits the member, it directly helps to grow the community as a whole,” shares Craig Wilson.
Likewise, the PBC DNE and PBC Abu Dhabi also host mixers to connect entrepreneurs in the community, as well as companies who have interest in the Filipino sector. Both organizations also join networking events with the business councils of other countries to expand their members’ contact network. In recent years, the PBC DNE has also established “Interface” – a landmark gala event held every two years which brings not only Filipino entrepreneurs, but also captains of businesses as well as key government officials – a forum to discuss the business trends driving the country and the region.
More than just networking activities the PBC DNE also facilitates workshops under its ‘EduBiz’ banner providing continued professional education to its members and other attendees. Moreover, the PBC DNE was the parent organization for the hugely successful Ateneo Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship (LSE) program which has trained hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs. Many LSE graduates have now moved on to establish their own businesses.
Harnessing the spirit of community for business
In essence, these Filipino organizations play an important role in assisting Filipino entrepreneurs and professionals in making beneficial connections in the market, as well as providing guidance and education on relevant business issues. PBC DNE Chairman Bobbie Carella spells out the group’s role succinctly, “We provide an environment of active cooperation and goodwill among members and the business community. We act as ‘connectors’ between Filipinos and other business communities in the UAE and beyond. Hence our slogan, “Connecting People, Bridging Businesses.’”
For Filipino entrepreneurs, it is well worth the time and effort to be part of such prolific groups and participate in “business bayanihan.”
FACCHO’s Craig Wilson explains how Filipinos have this built-in advantage and how our community groups’ have an invaluable and innate capacity to synergize and provide support to each other, “Filipinos around the world are renowned for their community-based thinking and the family atmosphere they create within their own communities. This unselfish mindset creates the opportunity to unite as one voice and grow our organizations together. If you want to grow your respective organization, use what is naturally within us, the sense of family. Strengthen bonds by supporting each other’s organizations through sharing resources or simply sharing each other’s posts.”
Philippine Business Council of Dubai & Northern Emirates
LEADERSHIP: Bobbie Carella – Chairman, Lalaine Chu-Benitez – Vice Chairman, Andy Minodin – Director, Projects, Allan Bautista – Director, Membership, Enrique Yamzon – Director, Events, Marlene Murphy – Director, Education, Ken Peralta – Director, PR and Media
Philippine Business Council Abu Dhabi
LEADERSHIP: Deborah Gay Aragon Dayrit – Chairman, Mariano Roque Senga – Vice Chairman, Christian Jay Redual – Corporate Secretary, Dra. Rose Bandola – Treasurer, Gau Raganit – Director for Trade, Industry and Entrepreneurship,
Esmeraldo Pangilinan – Director for Events, Rolly Brucales – Director for Membership, Paolo Rivera – Director for Sponsorship, Flariden Dela Torre – Director for Marketing and Communication
Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Hollywood (FACCHO)
LEADERSHIP: Craig Obligacion Wilson – President, Paul Mirador, Vice President, Edwin A. Santos, Vice President, Tammy Apana-Dianda – Treasurer, Jacky Carter – Secretary, Jush Andowitt – Director, Jeffrey Bautista – Director, Thelma Sugay – Director
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