SENATOR Cynthia A. Villar called on the youth to become entrepreneurs, saying they have one of the highest potentials in breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty by empowering poor communities.
“You are a key component in the growth and development of the Philippines. The youth [with age ranging from 15 to 29] comprises 27 percent or about 27 million of the Philippine population,” said Villar.
Through entrepreneurship, Villar told the youth they can create jobs. She noted that our country needs more “job creators.”
She underscored the importance of job creation through entrepreneurship and livelihood generation through various programs, including social enterprises, to reduce poverty in the Philippines.
“And that is what makes social entrepreneurs different from other entrepreneurs. While social entrepreneurs aspire for the sustainability of their ventures or enterprises, they are not focused solely on profits, they help develop and empower communities and the society in general. And in doing so, they also contribute to the country’s growth and development,” explained Villar.
Villar, a known social entrepreneur, has built almost 1000 livelihood projects all over the Philippines.
She intends to establish at least one livelihood project in each of the 1,600 towns and cities in the Philippines.
The senator said this is the legacy she wants to leave to the Filipino people.
She said her journey to social entrepreneurship started with the livelihood component of her United Nations-awarded Las Piñas-Zapote river rehabilitation programs when she was Las Pinas congresswoman.
She said those livelihood projects under the Villar Social Institute for Poverty Alleviation and Governance or Villar Sipag are also considered green social enterprises since the raw materials come from wastes or garbage.
“We should really join efforts in changing mindsets, equipping entrepreneurial-minded people with concepts, tools and strategies to excel and succeed in pursuing opportunities,” she said.
Villar said she is happy with the increasing number of schools and universities are now offering entrepreneurship courses.
A few months ago, Villar co-authored Senate Bill No. 2212 or the Youth Entrepreneurship Act of 2014, which was passed in the Senate.
She said this will further promote entrepreneurship among the youth, since it calls for the inclusion of entrepreneurship as a separate subject in 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.
It also requires information on the availability of government assistance and other training programs and possible entrepreneurial and financial ventures will be provided to the youth.
“That provision of the bill is sending a message to the young people and future entrepreneurs that we support you,” she said.