Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat and we wish everyone a meaningful observance of Eid’l Adha—or the Feast of the Sacrifice.

Thank you to the Ministry of Trade, Investments, and Tourism (MTIT) for partnering with us on the launch of Youth Entrepreneurship Program (YEP!) in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). We’d also like to welcome the many aspiring and current young entrepreneurs who are present here to mark this momentous event.

Today’s program launch underlines the commitment of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to the Bangsamoro in terms of empowering the youth in the region through entrepreneurship. This is also in line with the marching orders of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to all government agencies to give full support to the Bangsamoro through continued assistance in the region despite the pandemic.

As our nation builds back better from COVID-19, the Bangsamoro people also faces the daunting task of achieving their aspirations for economic self-sufficiency, genuine development, and lasting peace. But we are confident that the young people of Bangsamoro—as well as those throughout the country—have the strong Filipino heart and resilient spirit to help us in the noble effort of nation-building.

To our young entrepreneurs here, YEP! was created specifically to empower you and give you the education and confidence to innovate so that you can carve your own entrepreneurial path to success. More importantly, the planned, strategic interventions of YEP! will enable you to achieve this goal so that you will become more than just regular entrepreneurs but smarter entrepreneurs who will fight for a better, brighter future.

DTI believes that you’re well-positioned to become the successful entrepreneurs of tomorrow. You’re hungry for a better life and you feel you can create a better world for yourselves. You’re well-versed with today’s technology. You’re creative and innovative in business. And you’re sharp and smart enough to come up with relevant solutions to the problems challenging our society today. As such, I would dare say that you have these advantages even over the established companies. You have the chance to re-invent and create newer business models such as those used by Google, Facebook, Grab, and Angkas; which were all developed by young people like you.

But you also need to remember that the key to entrepreneurial success is continuous innovation and creativity. And in the wake of the pandemic, you will need every advantage of the technologies of Industry 4.0 that is sparking innovative business models and digitalization in doing business to break through barriers.

That’s why we are launching YEP! today in the Bangsamoro, so that we can develop your entrepreneurial skills further so that you can take the next step on your journey to become smarter entrepreneurs. Likewise, the program will encourage and embolden the participation of micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) enablers in supporting youth entrepreneurship development and promotion in the region.

This, in turn, would help others as well—your entrepreneurial success will broaden the gains of our country’s economic development, address inequality, and uplift the quality of life of other Filipinos. Moreover, your gains will be the Bangsamoro’s gains as well by fostering enduring peace and stability in the region. By uplifting yourself to achieve a better life, you will assist others, too.

We’d like to cite some of the things you will learn under this program, like skills training, business pitching, career guidance in self-employment, and participation in trade fairs, among others. We’d also like to point that as of 15 July, YEP! has already assisted 14,525 young entrepreneurs for this year. Further, we’ve partnered with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on their Opportunity 2.0 program, which has the aim of providing the education, employment, and livelihood needs of our out-of-school youth. Through this partnership, the entrepreneurship activities of Opportunity 2.0 are integrated into the YEP! implementation.

For the many young entrepreneurs here, YEP! is not the end-all in DTI’s entrepreneurship development programs that will assist you in the start of your entrepreneurial journey. For those interested in the new economy, please join our start-up economy and be linked to our start-up ecosystem from our acceleration programs, mentors, co-working spaces, start-up networking events, competitions, and possible venture funding. We have many other programs guided by our 7Ms Framework for Successful Entrepreneurship that will assist you at every step of your entrepreneurial journey.

This framework consists of programs that focus on Mindset, Mastery, Mentoring, Money, Machine, Market Access, and Models of Negosyo—which also includes providing livelihood kits and all assistance possible to help you during this pandemic. We were able to give out more than 50,000 livelihood kits to our brothers and sisters as part of the Marawi Rehabilitation Program or “Bangon Marawi.” Mayroon din tayong iba pang suporta tulad ng educational webinars at product development. Puwede tayong magtulungan pagdating sa design as you provide you ready-to-wear apparel at accessories. Mayroon din tayong tulong na puwede kayong i-connect sa iba’t ibang market platforms katulad ng One Town, One Product (or OTOP) Hub at Go Lokal! platforms, at pati na rin sa Lazada, Shopee, at logistics platform. With the aid of experienced entrepreneur-mentors from the private sector, DTI provides 360-degree support on what a young entrepreneur like you would need to be successful.

In closing, we want you to dare to become a successful entrepreneur, dare for a better life, and dare to achieve your dreams. As the saying goes, he or she who dares, wins. So, take this opportunity to become more innovative and creative entrepreneurs so that you can become successful entrepreneurs. Dare to help yourself, so that you can help our people gain a more comfortable and greater quality of life for themselves as well.

Maraming salamat po at mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 19 July 2021