Entrepreneur Conference Highlights Resilience, Embrace of Innovation as Keys to Successful Businesses

The willingness to adapt to change and to use innovative technologies were highlighted as two of the key factors to sustaining a successful business at the First Entrepinoy MSME Conference (EMCon) 2023 dubbed as Ugnayang MSME: Sama-sama sa Pag-unlad ng Negosyo, which was held at the Henry Sy Sr. Innovation Center in Miriam College, Quezon City on October 21, 2023.

Organized by the Entrepinoy Volunteers Foundation, Inc. (EVFI), the Department of Science and Technology-NCR (DOST-NCR), and Miriam College, the Conference, which served as a place for networking and for sharing of best practices among entrepreneurs, was attended by representatives from micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in NCR, and students from Miriam College.

Former DOST Secretary and now EVFI Chairman Prof. Fortunato de la Pena, whose personal vision is for inclusive development in the country, said that there needs to be a change in mindset - that we should not only aspire to get out of poverty, but to pursue wealth creation as well.

Miriam College President, Ambassador Laura del Rosario said that strengthening the supply chain for MSMEs is a critical factor. This view was echoed by DOST-NCR Regional Director Engr. Romelen Tresvalles who said that in today's global business landscape, the reality is that businesses must innovate or perish.

EMCon also had as its guest Quezon City Mayor Josefina "Joy" Belmonte who shared Quezon City's initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship among their residents through its StartUpQC Program.

The need to adapt to change was the prevailing theme in the conference as five entrepreneurs shared their personal stories of challenges and success.

Owners and Managers of Fabrica MNL Inc., Sonia's Cakes and Bakes, Inc., Moonbake Inc., Ideatechs Packaging Corporation, and SED Hardware and Construction Supplies each made a presentation on how their companies overcame their respective challenges despite unexpected upheavals in the market. Most of the strategies were inspired by inspirational figures like Malcolm Gladwell, John Maxwell, and Shunryo Suzuki.

Some nuggets of wisdom imparted by the speakers included the following:

- Keep an open mind. Listen to what the world is telling you. In the words of Shunryo Suzuki, "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few."
- Don't be afraid to pivot or to diversify to adapt to changes in the market.
- Practice continuous learning for yourself and your employees.
- Seek professional and technical help and continually invest in R & D.
- Make use of technology to improve business operations and in marketing your company's products.
- Make use of government funding grants.
- Extend and maximize resources and capacity.

In the end, the day's session can be summarized with this quote from John C Maxwell, "One of the major keys to success is to keep moving forward on the journey, making the best of the detours and interruptions, turning adversity into advantage."

The EVFI is a non-profit organization that provides guidance to Filipino entrepreneurs to help them become globally competitive. Its mission is to assist MSMEs by providing voluntary management and technical assistance through its pool of experts that include some of the best minds in business, policymaking and the academe.