Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year Awards mark 10th year

THE Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year Awards (CMA) marks its first decade of honoring outstanding microentrepreneurs around the country.

The program has become known for its success in increasing awareness for microfinance and providing incentives to microentrepreneurs.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Amando M. Tetangco Jr., Citi Country Officer Sanjiv Vohra and Microfinance Council of the Philippines Inc. (MCPI) president Mila Mercado-Bunker led the launching ceremonies held at the annual conference of MCPI.

This year, more than 100 nominations were received from 24 microfinance institutions, rural banks and cooperatives from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Funded by the Citi Foundation, this nationwide search is a partnership among BSP, Citi Philippines and MCPI.

CMA traces its roots in the Philippines, where it was introduced in 2002 as Citi Philippines celebrated its centennial anniversary. Since then, it has been introduced in 27 other countries, and here in the Philippines has recognized more than 80 individuals, a number of whom have grown their businesses significantly in terms of profits and assets.

According to Governor Tetangco, as the program continues to attract more nominees, there are more opportunities to highlight the stories of microentrepreneurs who prevail amid the difficulties they experience.

“The success of Filipino microentrepreneurs tells us we are on the right path. Microfinance is a sustainable strategy for improving lives and promoting growth,” Tetangco said.

“This year is a milestone in many ways. Citi is celebrating 200 years as a global company, and we are renewing our commitment to enable progress in the more than 100 countries where we operate. Our Philippine franchise is 110 years old and as we reach our 10th year for the Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year awards, we want to draw the spotlight to microfinance and entrepreneurship as sustainable solutions to solving the problem of poverty,” said Vohra.

Tetangco and Vohra serve as co-chairpersons of the National Selection Committee that determines the winners. Other members include industry and community leaders such as former Monetary Board member Antonino Alindogan Jr., Ayala Corporation President and COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala, RFM Corporation President and CEO Jose Concepcion III, GMA Network chairman lawyer Felipe Gozon, Robinsons Retail Group President and COO Robina Gokongwei-Pe, Philippine Daily Inquirer chairperson Marixi Prieto, and Ateneo de Manila University Professor Dr. Darwin Yu.

In 2012, four winners will be chosen. One will be named the Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year, while three others will be hailed as regional winners for Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. These awards are open to microenterprises with assets worth P300,000 to P3 million. There will also be a special award for enterprises with assets below P300,000 and another special award on innovation.

The winner of the Citi Microentrepreneur of the Year Award will receive P200,000 while the three regional awardees and special awardees will each get P100,000. They will also be given entrepreneurship trainings and microinsurance coverage to support and strengthen their businesses.

“Citi has contributed in many ways to building our past, and we hope to build a better future for the country by promoting microfinance and microenterprise development,” Vohra said. (PR)