The 2018 Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) was held on 7 December 2018 at the Metropolitan Museum of Manila. Mr. Erwin Ramos of Paombong, Bulacan was named 2018 Microentrepreneur of the Year (MOTY). He was joined by Ms. Maria Elena Estadola, Ms. Rosario Amoroto and Mr. Arnold Viado as Regional Awardees for Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, respectively. The awardees were recognized for their entrepreneurial spirit, manifest commitment to sustainably grow their businesses, and positive impact on the lives of their families and communities.
Ramos, the 39-year old 2018 MOTY national awardee is a former Navotas fisherman who ventured into the food processing business in 2011 upon discovering how to turn bidbid (lady fish) into fishballs and other edible products. With an initial loan of PHP5,000 from UPLIFT Philippines, Inc., Ramos was able to establish Erwin and Lanie’s Fishball, which has turned into a multi-million enterprise.
Aside from national and regional awards, the CMA also gives special recognition to microentrepreneurs in various categories: Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year, for outstanding microentrepreneurs between 15 and 30 years old; Community Leadership, for microentrepreneurs with exemplary contributions to his/her community; Agri Micro-business - for microentrepreneurs engaged in agriculture; and Startup Micro-business, for microentrepreneurs whose business is less than five years old.
All winners will receive cash and non-cash prizes amounting to over PHP 2 million. Non-cash prizes include one-year life and health insurance coverage, as well as IT and entrepreneurship training. The winners will also be feted at celebratory town halls in their respective hometowns.
Created in 2002 through the partnership of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Citi Philippines, and Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI), and the Citi Foundation, the CMA aims to promote the important role of microfinance in employment generation and poverty reduction by showcasing the achievements of successful Filipino microentrepreneurs. The CMA has recognized over 130 Filipino microentrepreneurs since its launch 16 years ago and has been replicated in 34 countries across the globe.
In photo are CMA regional and national winners (center row, from left to right): Rosario Amoroto, Regional Awardee for Visayas; Maria Elena Estadola, Regional Awardee for Luzon; Erwin Ramos, Microentrepreneur of the Year; and Arnold Viado, Regional Awardee for Mindanao. Also in photo are CMA special awardees (back row, from left to right): Romeo Ponio, Special Award for Agri Micro-Business; Mary Grace Bayalas, Youth Microentrepreneur of the Year; Jessette Oquendo, Special Award for Community Leadership; Estrella Balnao, Special Award for Agri Micro-business; and Marisa Ganding, Special Award for Startup Micro-Business.
Joining the winners are the National Selection Committee (NSC) members (front row, from left to right): BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier, Mr. Aftab Ahmed, Ms. Marixi Rufino-Prieto, and Mr. Jose Ma. Concepcion III.