MANILA - Southeast Asia needs to empower small entrepreneurs to make sure that the poor feel the gains of economic growth in one of the world's fastest-growing regions, a Filipino official said Friday.
Governments should help struggling businessmen change their mindset, improve their mastery, and provide mentoring, financial assistance, equipment, market access and models, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.
"We will teach the nation and the region how to fish and not just give them fish, as the saying goes, empower them so they can also share in the benefits of growth and improve the quality oft their lives by engaging in vibrant entrepreneurial activities," Lopez said.
Manila on Friday hosted a summit for micro and small and medium enterprises as chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations this year.
Lopez said small entrepreneurs should be motivated to succeed.
"They have to want it. Moving up in life is only for those who want it most they to have to have the right mindset and the willingness to learn and succeed," he said.
Lopez cited Rags2Riches, a small business that helps residents living near the Payatas dumpsite make bags and accessories.
The summit gathered Filipino officials and their Southeast Asian counterparts. Guests included Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Nestor Espenilla and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri. -- with a report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News