Press Release
January 15, 2015

Villar encourages youth entrepreneurship

Since more than 90 per cent of the businesses in the country are micro, small, and medium enterprises or MSMEs, which provide more than 50 percent of jobs or employment, Senator Cynthia A. Villar cited the need for collective efforts to encourage the youth to become entrepreneurs.

"We should really join efforts in changing mindsets, equipping entrepreneurial-minded people with concepts, tools and strategies to excel and succeed in pursuing business opportunities," said Villar.

Speaking before the 1st ASEAN Young Entrepreneurs Conference held in Quezon City and sponsored by the Asian Academy for Applied Entrepreneurship, Villar said the Senate earlier passed Senate Bill No. 2212 or the Youth Entrepreneurship Act of 2014, which she co-authored.

She said the bill will further promote entrepreneurship among the youth since it calls for the inclusion of entrepreneurship as a separate subject in the students' secondary education.

Among the salient points of the Youth Entrepreneurship Act of 2014 is setting up "enterprise incubation laboratories and creative spaces in schools and communities in coordination with eligible entities."

Villar said the bill also provides information on the availability of government assistance and other training programs and possible entrepreneurial and financial ventures to the youth, through the use of website and other forms of communications.

"We really need to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset among the youth. We need to entice them to pursue entrepreneurship in all forms," said Villar, adding the bill sends a message that the government supports the youth and future entrepreneurs.

The senator, chair of Senate Agriculture and Food committee, said entrepreneurship also has another aspect-- social entrepreneurship.

As a social entrepreneur, Villar said she is aware it is hard to pursue and sustain a project.

"So my support does not start and end at providing legislative support through Senate bills and through my livelihood projects as well as skills training. We are encouraging more people and groups to create social enterprises," she said.

She said this is one of the reasons for the establishment of Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance or Villar SIPAG.

Villar SIPAG guides, trains, teaches and empowers women, the youth, the unemployed and even relatives of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to uplift their lives and enhance their skills and know-how.

She likewise called on the youth to consider agri-entrepreneurship because two-thirds of the country's population lives in agricultural areas.

While only about 20% of the gross domestic product (GDP) and 30% of total employment is accounted for by the sector, Villar said its contribution could increase to 40% of GDP and 60% of total employment if the related agri-suppliers and agro-processing sector are included.

She said there is still a lot of untapped potential in the agriculture sector and that dormant force could very well be one of the major contributors for our goal of making our country's economic growth more inclusive.

"Moreover, we need to help Filipino farmers, fisherfolks as well as entrepreneurs to be more productive and globally competitive, particularly with the coming Philippines' integration in the ASEAN Economic Community or AEC by next year," she said.

The AEC agreement "will transform ASEAN into a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development, and a region fully integrated into the global economy."

She said there is strength in numbers and the 10 ASEAN countries have become attractive alternative destinations for investments.

ASEAN has an aggregate economic size of USD2.3 trillion, a combined population of 616 million, an average real GDP growth rate of 5.4% in 2012, and an estimated GDP per capita of USD3,745.

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