COTABATO CITY - The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao which is considered as among the poorest regions in the Philippines is hoping that a program on entrepreneurship can spur more economic activity in the area.
Regional Board of Investments chairman, lawyer Ishak Mastura, who also heads the ARMM cabinet cluster on economic growth and linkages, announced the program to develop entrepreneurship in the region after attending and representing the country at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization conference in Austria recently.
"As we transition to a post-conflict environment with the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels) earlier this year, we believe that fostering Bangsamoro entrepreneurship ensures peace will become sustainable by seeing to it that whatever post-conflict funds that will pour into the region from both the government and foreign donors will lead to self-reliance, which is what entrepreneurship is all about, and not dependency," Mastura said.
He said that currently there is a proposal from ARMM for UNIDO to extend its Entrepreneurship Curriculum Program or ECP, which he hopes can be realized next year at the earliest upon donor approval.
According to UNIDO, the ECP is a cost-effective investment in the development of entrepreneurial capacity of young people. ECP is inclusive since it reaches out to both girls and boys in rural and urban areas. It lays the ground for private sector development. Entrepreneurship is introduced as a subject in general secondary schools or technical and vocational schools.
Young people acquire personal qualities such as self-confidence, innovation and creativity, the ability to take initiatives, as well as the willingness to take calculated risks and to collaborate. They learn to save, invest and grow. These competencies help them select and shape their career path as employees or entrepreneurs.
The curriculum is action-oriented: more than 50 per cent of the program's time consists of practical research in identifying business opportunities, assessing resources for setting up and steering a business, and learning from successful entrepreneurs in their companies and in the classroom. (Mindanao Examiner, RBOI)