Citi recently celebrated Corporate Social Responsibility Day together with the American Chamber of Commerce and the Embassy of the United States of America by engaging a group of microentrepreneurs at the Citi Microenterprise Development Center (CMDC) in Quezon City.
Citibank Savings Inc. President Cecille Fonacier led the group of Citi volunteers who participated in one-on-one coaching sessions with low-income microentrepreneurs, some of whom were winners of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards. In her message during the opening ceremonies, Fonacier reiterated Citi’s commitment to helping microentrepreneurs through its partnership with Bayan Academy. “Entrepreneurship is the driving force that will take this nation to new heights, and we are here to recognize and support you for the good work you are each doing in your communities. I would also like to thank the American Chamber of Commerce, the Embassy of the United States in the Philippines, and our partners from Bayan Academy for their commitment and support of our efforts in developing our nation’s microentrepreneurs.”
United States Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Brian Goldbeck congratulated the microentrepreneurs and called them “very courageous people.” He added, “The people behind Apple and Microsoft were also microentrepreneurs like you. They started with an idea and had the energy and the entrepreneurial spirit just like you. As you succeed, I hope you too will think of opportunities to give back to the community and the country.” Goldbeck also noted the presence of several female microentrepreneurs in the room and applauded them for helping create wealth for the nation. He remarked that it is quite fitting to see such a show of force as we celebrate International Women’s Month.
Aside from a tour of the CMDC, Goldbeck was also given the chance to view an exhibit of various products made by the microentrepreneurs, from folding chairs to quail eggs to ready-to-wear clothing. He was particularly impressed about the story of Lenie Ico, who started her business with only PhP100 (USD2.50) in capital. Ico won the Social Innovation award in the 2012 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, for providing jobs to her community’s out of school youths.
The coaching sessions that followed focused on four areas – human resources, customer profiling, operations management and marketing. These sessions are part of the CMDC’s regular Small Business Advisory and Coaching Services that the center offers to participants of the program. Aside from a 9-day entrepreneurship course, microentrepreneurs receive mentorship and coaching from a pool of experts that include volunteer Citi employees.
Citi volunteer Nick Panes said, “It was a privilege to share our experience and expertise – and even more rewarding to discover that the microentrepreneurs valued our advice. As they shared real situations in their organizations, we found that our experiences in Citi in terms of human resources management are also applicable to microenterprises.”
CMDC was established in 2011 as a partnership between Citi Philippines and the Bayan Academy for Social Entrepreneurship and Human Resource Development. Funded by the Citi Foundation, CMDC trains hundreds of low-income microentrepreneurs every year to help them sustain their businesses.
Coaching sessions with microentrepreneurs held at Citi Microenterprise Development Center