After completing his MBA (on the Dean’s List) at the Asian Institute of Management in 2003, Carlo Calimon joined LET’S GO Foundation (Leading Entrepreneurs Towards Seizing Global Opportunities), a non-profit, non-stock organization advocating entrepreneurship education for Filipinos of all ages towards the long-term goal of collectively strengthening the country’s economy and uplifting the quality of life of each Filipino individually. Carlo is now its Executive Director.
LET’S GO partners with government and non-government foundations, local government units (LGUs), and private companies who share its vision of a widespread entrepreneurial movement.
Since 2005, LET’S GO has worked with the Department of Education (DepEd) to include Technology and Livelihood Education (TLE) as part of the national High School curriculum; develop training materials for teachers, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SME’s), and SME Counselors; help employees become entrepreneurial; bring Entrepreneurship to the masses; organizes EntrepAsia—- to take entrepreneurs to different parts of Asia and even Silicon Valley as part of their immersion into becoming more global companies/entrepreneurs; and research.
LET’s GO trains the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)’s pool of SME Counselors from all over the country in Coaching, Opportunity Seeking, Entrepreneurial Marketing, Entrepreneurial Finance to optimize local assistance for the SME’s so these could transition to the next level from Micro to Small, Small to Medium, and Medium to Large.
Under its Government Agency Training on Entrepreneurship (GATE) program, LET’S GO tied up with the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) managers of Region 3 to develop entrepreneurship programs for its constituents. The foundation has also been conducting customized training programs for LGUs nationwide.
Carlo is Director of StartUp Village, LET’S GO Foundation’s newest “business incubator,” nurturing startup businesses with a highly qualified team of educators/mentors to jumpstart, survive, and then thrive in the startup ecosystem. Taking from the African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child,” StartUp is “the village” that provides all the support needed to grow a company. What would normally cost up to hundreds of thousands in other schools and universities for a comparable course, through the Foundation, you can get the business nurturing through Startup Village with a minimal investment of P30k to cover the cost of the venue (5th floor, The City Club, Alphaland Makati Place), materials, stipend of speakers, and light snacks.
In addition to his work at LET’S GO, Carlo is Director of LeadMore, Kalye Negosyo; Owner of My Gadget Shop; and Co-owner of TheKard Inc., GoSee, GreenRides, Mindfunk Corp., My Gadget Shop, and Fluids Metrowalk.Carlo is also an educator. He previously taught Entrepreneurship at the Asian Institute of Management (Venture into Entrepreneurship Program), Assumption College, De La Salle University, and Ateneo de Manila University Graduate School of Business under the ACE Center for Entrepreneurship and Management Excellence (ACEME). He is also a Trainer and an Angelpreneur of GoNegosyo which broadens his reach to spread Entrepeneurship with more people around the country. His topics of focus are Mindsetting, Visioning, Innovation, Product Development and Marketing. He was awarded by Rappler and Smart Communications as the Boss for Mobile Readiness during the BeTheBoss Awards in 2015. The World Marketing Congress recognized him as among the 100 Most Influential Global Marketers of the World in 2015 as well as included him in the Best Marketers Listing 2016. He also went to New Zealand to take part in the Young Business Leaders Initiative where he got a certificate from the University of Auckland. He was a finalist of the Global Social Venture Competition, a global business plan competition conducted in Hyderabad India. He is part of the group that recently won Venture Capital Investment from the MVP group through the Ideaspace Foundation.========
7 Entrepreneurship Tips for Women by Carlo Calimon
Women are generally more entrepreneurial than men. If you think about it, what
role do women play in the farm? Men would plant the seeds, till the land and harvest
the produce. On the other hand, women are the ones who take the produce to
market, sell these, account for these and manage the funds. Women in effect run the
business while men provide the labor and operations of the business. This can be
said for other similar industries like fisheries.
This observation led us to formally want to create a program to further support
women entrepreneurs. As such, a few years ago, we at LETS GO Foundation initiated
the Women Entrepreneurship Program (WEP) in collaboration with a bank and
several premiere female colleges and universities in Manila. Part of the program was
a survey on Women Entrepreneurs and Female Students focused. Given this
experience, 7 major tips come into mind:
TIPS FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS: (This applies whether you are a man or woman.)
My favorite definition of what an entrepreneur is “one who builds a business enterprise and introduces a pioneering product or service to the market for the benefit of the customer. An innovator:
- does not copy another person’s idea
- thinks of new ideas
- improves on existing ideas.
- changes the rules of the game.”
- spot opportunities, come up with new concepts, and stay ahead of competition.
Innovation sets entrepreneurs above everyone else. It allows them to More importantly, it allows them to constantly adapt to the changing wants of customers and deliver great value to them.
2. Have a Vision
Anyone can start a business. The ones who succeed are those who have a clear VISION or dream for what they want to achieve long-term. The vision:
- serves as the guide on the direction of where the company is headed.
- helps inspire people
- can be used to lead your people.
Come up with a strong Vision for the organization. Dream big! It’s free! Be sure its clear; take daily steps to achieve it. Couple this with a Mission for your customers, your employees and the community.
3. Find the Right People and Lead Them
One critical challenge women entrepreneurs face is finding the right people to help her grow and manage the business. The company’s Vision and Mission is a good start. However, the woman entrepreneur is key! The good thing about women entrepreneurs is that once they find the right people, they are good at nurturing and engaging them. Call it maternal instinct, but women entrepreneurs are good at managing people. Take advantage of this skill.
4. Focus on Finance
Finance can be a pitfall in any business. According to the survey conducted, women entrepreneurs faced a lot of challenges in handling and properly accounting for Finance. As a tip, learn about Finance early on.
- Hire and find the right people to help you create reports and statements
- Be sure to understand the reports
- Account for all expenses early on \
- Even if you are still a mom-andpop (or home-based), give yourself a salary. Allocate for rent, utilities, and other related expenses. This is good practice and prepares you for the time when you are expanding.
5. Gain Experience – Never Stop Learning
Based on the survey, a lot of the businesses were started/discovered based on the life experiences gained by the entrepreneurs. Skills gathered, learned, and developed over the years through school or employment were very helpful in successfully starting the business. However, in order to grow, the woman entrepreneur has to continue learning in order that not only her business but she herself will evolve.
6. Find a Mentor
Don’t assume that you know everything. Find a mentor or guru who can give you another angle or a different perspective. Find someone who can push you to the next level. Find someone who can help you especially during challenging times.
7. Don’t Forget the Passion
Find a business that you are passionate about. This passion will drive you. It will push you to new heights. It will motivate you to succeed. Don’t let it die.
If you are interested to take the StartUp Village course: