Prosperity for all pursued
Life is short and wealth cannot be kept forever.
Thus it will do well for top business leaders and large corporations to help those at the so-called bottom of the pyramid as well as smaller companies and entrepreneurs to give their wealth some meaning.
That in the nutshell was the message imparted by Jose Ma. Concepcion III, Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship and Chair of the Asean Business Advisory Council, during the recent Asean 50 Prosperity for All Summit.
The summit focusing on micro, small and medium entrepreneurs (MSME) development was attended by more than 1,000 delegates from across the Asean region.
In his speech during the summit attended by CEOs of some of the country’s largest corporations, he said: “We belong to the 0.4 percent of the entire business community. We can make decisions that will affect the lives of many people. Many of us control power, real estate, labor, ports, etc. But why are we all here as human beings? It is about time that we try to change and balance their needs and our own needs to really practice inclusivity.”
Businessmen and entrepreneurs can balance the need to make a profit and do right by the less privileged, he said, by mentoring or helping others in their communities become more successful.
“We see SM, Rustan’s, Robinsons and other supermarkets buying more from our farmers. That is what we need. Many of you can control the destiny of your own suppliers by mentoring them,” Concepcion said.
He said the Asean BAC had adopted mentorship as its main deliverable this year as the power of learning from experts is formidable.
“I believe in the power of mentorship. This year, by November, the Asean BAC will launch the Asean Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN). This will be composed of hundreds of entrepreneurs from each country who will share their insights and knowledge on their respective fields and strengths,” said Concepcion.
“We all have to think of our next life and what it will mean. I guess, wealth, when used properly to help other people, is what is asked of us,” Concepcion concluded.
For his part, Prime Minister Dati Sri Najib Razak of Malaysia challenged the leaders in the region to make Asean relevant to the people across the member countries.
“Another challenge that Asean faces, and we should bear it in mind particularly in this 50th anniversary year, is the need both to raise awareness of Asean and to make it feel real, relevant and tangible to all our citizens,” he said during his keynote speech.
“For our community to be real, it must be something that is part of our people’s lives. It must be something that touches their hearts. Asean must be seen as a source of cohesion, solidarity, support, unity, friendship and strength and of course greater prosperity,” the Prime Minister added.
And what better way to celebrate a half century of Asean, he said, than to work towards making the summit’s theme of ‘Prosperity for All’ a reality.”
Vice President Leni Robredo also addressed the theme of prosperity and inclusivity in her speech.
“Putting the welfare of micro, small, and medium-scale enterprises at the center of Asean’s agenda—essentially inclusive growth—is the challenge of our time,” said Robredo.
“I believe that unless progress reaches the farthest, poorest barangays, our job is not yet done… So as we go back to our drawing boards to think about coming up with inclusive business models, or how to rethink our structures and institutions, let us all remember that the final scorecard is what happens to the last, the least, and the lost. Prosperity for all and inclusive growth will heal our conflicted world,” she said.
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