16th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards launched


Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. and Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed jointly announced the launch of the 16th Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) during the recently held annual conference of the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI).

Since its inception in 2002, the CMA awards program, a partnership among BSP, Citi Philippines and MCPI, with funding support from Citi Foundation, has been steadfast in its commitment towards recognizing entrepreneurs who have beat the odds, lifting themselves and others out of poverty. The awards also recognize the strong support from microfinance institutions as key partners, underscoring the role these organizations play in financial inclusion and enterprise development.

Nestor Espenilla, Jr., BSP Governor

Nestor Espenilla, Jr., BSP Governor

In his keynote speech, governor Espenilla took note of how digital technology has made an impact in the development of microfinance in the country. “The digital revolution is fundamentally reshaping the financial inclusion landscape and traditional financial value chains,” he said. “Rapid digital innovations in financial technologies have led to the emergence of more dynamic business models.”

“Amidst all the talk of technology and disruption, it is only appropriate that we continue to showcase inspiring stories through the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, which has served as a vehicle for inspiring microentrepreneurs nationwide to achieve greater heights,” says Espenilla.

The event saw the introduction of the commemorative book “From Modest Dreams to Microentrepreneurial Triumphs,” which shares success stories of past CMA winners, inspiring tales of winning against adversity through hard work and perseverance.

Aftad Ahmed, Citi Philippines CEO

Aftad Ahmed, Citi Philippines CEO

In his remarks, Citi’s Ahmed said: “The Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards are about the passion, energy, and commitment of microentrepreneurs who want to do better for themselves and their families. At Citi, we are proud to help people pursue their dreams because we are committed to making a difference in the communities where we live and work.”

Governor Espenilla and Aftab Ahmed serve as co-chairpersons of the CMA National Selection Committee. Other members include industry and community leaders such as:

  • Ayala Corporation president Fernando Zobel de Ayala;
  • RFM Corporation president and CEO Jose Ma. Concepcion III;
  • GMA Network, Inc. chairman and CEO Atty. Felipe Gozon;
  • former Philippine Daily Inquirer chairperson Marixi Rufino-Prieto;
  • DTI secretary Ramon Lopez; SPARK! Philippines trustee Imelda Nicolas;
  • SM Investments Corporation vice chair Teresita Sy-Coson;
  • Voyager Innovations, Inc. president Orlando Vea;
  • National MSME Development Council-Mindanao Private Sector representative Mary Ann Montemayor; and
  • University of the Philippines Diliman chancellor Dr. Michael Tan.

The awards are open to microenterprises with business assets up to PhP3 million. The award categories are Microentrepreneur of the Year Award, regional awardees from the three major island groups (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao), Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year, and special awards for agri micro-business, community leadership, and green/sustainable business.

The national winner of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards will receive PhP200,000 while the three regional awardees, the youth awardee, and special awardees will each get PhP100,000. The loan officers and MFI branches of each awardee are also given  a cash incentive of PhP10,000. Semi-finalists will receive a cash incentive of PhP10,000.

In addition to cash prizes, long-term sustainability of the winning microenterprises is of vital importance, thus, entrepreneurship training and mentoring is also provided at the Citi Microenterprise Development Center.

About Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

bsp logoThe Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is the central bank of the Republic of the Philippines. It was established on July 3, 1993 pursuant to the provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and the New Central Bank Act of 1993.

The BSP took over from the Central Bank of Philippines, which was established on January 3, 1949, as the country’s central monetary authority.

The BSP is committed to promote and maintain price stability, a stable financial system, and efficient payment and settlement system, conducive to a balanced and sustainable growth of the economy.

Since 2000, the BSP has played a key role in increasing access to financial services to the entrepreneurial poor by mainstreaming microfinance in the banking sector. In 2007, the BSP embraced the goal of financial inclusion as a way of bringing the financial system closer to all Filipinos, especially to the financially underserved and unserved.

The overall vision is to build an inclusive financial system where there is effective access to a wide range of appropriate financial products and services for all filipinos. The Philippines is known for having one of the best regulatory frameworks for microfinance, and as a global leader in terms of having a conducive environment for financial inclusion.

About Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation.

About Citi

Citi logoCiti, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions.

Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

Additional information may be found at:

About Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc.

mcpi logoThe Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) is the national network of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and support organizations in the Philippines advocating sustainable, innovative, and client-responsive solutions to poverty in the country.

MCPI is currently comprised of 61 members (48 MFIs, 2 regional networks, and 11 support organisations) which account for 80 percent of the microfinance sector in the Philippines. Its key programs include advocacy, capacity building for MFIs, social performance management and client protection in microfinance, knowledge management, and network development.

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