23 September 2021

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CMA launches search for COVID-19 resilient microentrepreneurs

4 min read

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Citi Philippines, and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI) have launched its annual Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA), which aims to recognize the achievements and contributions of microentrepreneurs all over the country. Now on its 18th edition, this year’s CMA has been modified to respond to community needs resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno
Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed
Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed

Through a virtual launch held via Zoom, BSP governor Benjamin Diokno and Citi Philippines chief executive officer Aftab Ahmed revealed that the 18th CMA will have two components: the COVID-19 rehabilitation support package and the recognition of outstanding microentrepreneurs amid the crisis.

“More than ever, it is vital to sustaining our microentrepreneurs, who provide essential products and services in the “last mile”.  Predominant in low-income areas and serving as engines driving local economies, microentrepreneurs also nurture swathes of the Filipino population depending on them for post-pandemic recovery and rebuilding.   Through CMA 2020, we highlight the creativity and internal fortitude of our microentrepreneurs to serve as a great inspiration,” said BSP governor Diokno.

“We are happy that through the CMA program, we can help microentrepreneurs overcome some of the financial challenges that they are facing and to improve their business proposition, their products, and their services. These businesses need to learn to adapt as well as implement new strategies. This will be particularly important in the coming months as we start moving towards normalization,” added Citi Philippines CEO, Aftab Ahmed.

2018 CMA Regional Awardee for Visayas Rosario Amoroto
2018 CMA Regional Awardee for Visayas Rosario Amoroto
2017 Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year Keith Varias
2017 Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year Keith Varias

The first component focused on responding to the rehabilitation needs of previous CMA winners, with each winner getting a cash incentive of up to ₱50,000 each. Among the COVID-19 rehabilitation support package recipients are the 2017 Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year Keith Gonzales Varias and the 2018 CMA Regional Awardee for Visayas Rosario Amoroto.

On the other hand, the second component will highlight the important role of microentrepreneurs in rebuilding local economies during the COVID-19 crisis. The awards are open to microenterprises with assets less than ₱3 million. Three island group winners from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao and two other special awardees, namely the Youth Entrepreneurship awardee and the COVID-19 response champion, will be recognized.

All five awardees should have successfully rebuilt their enterprise to a level that is now contributing to local economies during the COVID-19 crisis while maintaining a healthy repayment record on their loan even as they continue to rebuild their enterprise. Additionally, the COVID-19 response champion should have supported, innovated, or led pandemic response initiatives to help others.

The three-island group winners, the Youth Microentrepreneur, and the COVID-19 response champion will get ₱100,000 each, as well as one-year microinsurance coverage. A National Winner will be selected from the five winners who will be receiving an additional ₱100,000. All winners will be determined by the NSC and recognized in a simple awards ceremony in June 2021.

Through these efforts, the CMA will ultimately highlight role models for aspiring and hardworking entrepreneurs and generate greater awareness and appreciation of microfinance and microenterprise development as a tool for employment generation and poverty reduction.

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