Filipino entrepreneurs participate in the young business leaders initiative of the Asia New Zealand Foundation
For the third year, Filipino entrepreneurs from different business sectors participate in the Young Business Leaders Initiative (YBLI) of the Asia New Zealand Foundation. The YBLI is one of the four flagship projects under New Zealand’s Joint Comprehensive Partnership with ASEAN which aims to foster economic relationship between ASEAN and New Zealand, upgrade the skills and knowledge of young ASEAN business leaders as they share with and contribute to development in their respective countries and build networks and interact with fellow New Zealanders and organizations and companies of interest to them. Two Filipino participants, namely, Mr. Jeffrey Tarayao and Mr. Chris Chilip visited New Zealand on 29 June to 19 July 2014. Mr. Jeffrey Tarayao is the Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer of Manila Electric Company (MERALCO) the largest utility company in the Philippines and manages MERALCO’s enterprise-wide sustainability and corporate social responsibility programme. While in New Zealand, he was able to share his experiences in corporate social responsibility and learn more about potential technology transfers and electricity access through mini-grid technologies and smart meters. Mr. Chris Chilip is an entrepreneur with interests in tires, construction materials and hotels. He owns the Dunlop franchise in the Philippines and the businessmen’s hotel, Azumi. An architect by trade, his work has been featured in several local architectural magazines. He is the incoming Philippine Chair of the Young Presidents Organisation. Mr. Chilip was able to meet with companies involved in construction and design in New Zealand.
On 9 July 2014, Philippine Ambassador Virginia H. Benavidez warmly welcomed Mr. Jeffrey Tarayao, Mr. Chris Chilip, Ms. Adele Mason, Deputy Executive Director, Asia New Zealand Foundation and Mr. Adam McConnochie, Project Manager, ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiative, Asia New Zealand Foundation during the dinner she hosted at “Ang Bahay” (Philippine Ambassador’s residence). Minister and Consul General Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa and Third Secretary and Vice Consul Glenn Joseph Obach were also present. “The Philippines is proud and happy to be given this distinct recognition to our young business leaders, namely, Mr. Tarayao and Mr. Chilip who continue to make their vital contributions to the most important sectors in the current economic landscape of the Philippines. The ASEAN YBLI is a commendable programme and an effective pathway to building friendship and business links between ASEAN and New Zealand and enhancing networking among young entrepreneurs in the Asia-Pacific region,” Ambassador Benavidez stated. Ms. Mason, Mr. McConnochie, Mr. Tarayao and Mr. Chilip thanked Ambassador Benavidez for the gracious hospitality and the Philippine Embassy’s continuing support and cooperation for the YBLI programme. Ms. Mason and Mr. McConnochie acknowledged the important contributions of Mr. Tarayao and Mr. Chilip and the Filipinos who have previously participated in the YBLI programme of the Asia New Zealand Foundation. For their part, Mr. Tarayao and Mr. Chilip shared their valuable learning experiences, networking, visits, meetings and interaction with various individuals, organizations and companies and presentations made as they went through the YBLI programme. The four Filipinos who have previously been part of the programme were Ms. Marcy K. Venezuela, Director of the Apsmith Solutions Corporation and Ms. Joan Cosico, the General Manager of Robinsons Homes and Head of the Investor Relations of Robinsons Land Corporation who visited New Zealand in February and April 2012, respectively, and Mr. Joseph Calata, the CEO of Calata Corporation, an agricultural conglomerate and Ms. Carla Kim, Head of Sustainable Development, Manila Water and Executive Director of Manila Water Foundation who participated in the YBLI in October and November 2013.
Ambassador Benavidez reiterated the appreciation of the Philippine Government to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Embassy of New Zealand in Manila, the Asia New Zealand Foundation and to all those who have made it possible for six Filipino participants who have so far been chosen to come to New Zealand and experience a wide range of activities in their respective fields and engage with a cross section of government and private sector representatives, young business leaders and other stakeholders for mutual benefit. “Indeed, the ASEAN Young Business Leaders Initiative concretely manifests our shared commitment to remain outward looking and enhance closer cooperation especially among our young business leaders and entrepreneurs as ASEAN and New Zealand strengthen our partnership and build a community of peoples for greater understanding, friendship and goodwill,” Ambassador Benavidez stated.