Be An Enterpreneur!
A very Inspiring Speech of John Gokongwei before Ateneo Graduates
I wish I were one of you today, instead of a 77-year-old man, giving a speech you will probably
forget when you wake up from your hangover tomorrow.
You may be surprised I feel this way. Many of you are feeling fearful and apprehensive about your future. You are thinking that, perhaps, your Ateneo diploma will not mean a whole lot in the future in a country with too many problems. And you are probably right.
You are thinking that our country is slipping-no, sliding. Again, you may be right.
Twenty years ago, we were at par with countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. Today, we are left way behind. You know the facts.
Twenty years ago, the per capita income of the Filipino was 1,000 US dollars. Today, it's 1,100
dollars. That's a growth of only ten percent in twenty years. Meanwhile, Thailand's per capita income
today is double ours; Malaysia, triple ours; and Singapore, almost twenty times ours.
With globalization coming, you know it is even more urgent to wake up. Trade barriers are falling, which
means we will have to compete harder.
In the new world, entrepreneurs will be forced to invest their money where it is most efficient. And
that is not necessarily in the Philippines. Even for Filipino entrepreneurs, that can be the case.
For example, a Filipino brand like Maxx candy can be manufactured in Bangkok-where labor, taxes, power and financing are cheaper and more efficient-and then exported to other ASEAN countries.
This will be a common scenario-if things do not change.
Pretty soon, we will become a nation that buys everything and produces practically nothing. We will
be like the prodigal son who took his father's money and spent it all. The difference is that we do not
have a generous father to run back to. But despite this, I am still very excited about the
future. I will tell you why later.
You have been taught at...