Press Release: Filipino-American Entrepreneurs and Professionals Convene in Philadelphia for Business Boot Camp


PHILADELPHIA, PA, April 15, 2015:  The Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (PACC-PASNJ) is pleased to announce its capacity-building small business boot camp with the support of the White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). As one of five projects selected as part of WHIAAPI’s program to help improve the quality of life for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), it is the only project focused on the Filipino-American community. The event will take place on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at the Municipal Services Building in Philadelphia, PA and is being planned by representatives from Philadelphia, PA, Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA, New York, NY, and California. Keynote speakers include Billy Dec, CEO & Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, Loida Lewis, CEO of TLC Beatrice, LLC, and JT Mallonga, National Chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA).

The purpose of this project is “to strengthen and increase the visibility of Filipino-American businesses in America and abroad,” explains Brad Baldia, the President of PACC-PASNJ and project Co-chair. “This is an opportunity to connect with the Filipino-American business community to share resources, discuss best practices, and ultimately provide the resources and tools to help business owners and professionals succeed,” adds RJ Diokno, the Vice President of the Washington, DC PACC.

Philippine Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr, ambassador to the US, welcomed the project saying this will help raise the visibility of Filipino-American businesses in the US. “I am pleased that one of the five proposals accepted, out of the hundreds of proposal submitted, is this project,” Ambassador Cuisia said. “I look forward to working with Philippine-American Chambers of Commerce and our Consulates in promoting this project”, he said. “This comes at the right time when the Embassy is also in the process of institutionalizing a Fil-Am business registry. This collaboration would neatly tie our efforts together.” Dr. Christie Canaria, Board Member of the Washington, DC PACC, feels empowered to be a speaker at the boot camp. “To see the support provided by U.S. Agencies, the Philippine Embassy, and Philippine Consulate of New York shows that this is the time for our business community to come together for the advancement of Filipino-Americans in the U.S.,” Canaria explains.

The Philippine Consulate General in New York is firmly supportive of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce’s initiatives and activities that help identify and enhance investment and business opportunities in the Philippines for US companies. “One of our mandates in the Philippine Foreign Service is to promote economic diplomacy,” says Consul General Mario De Leon. “In carrying out our mission, we partner with PACC in its activities that will increase the awareness of the business community in Pennsylvania and South New Jersey about the Philippines,” he further explains.

The first objective of this project was to assess the needs of Filipino-American Chambers and entrepreneurs. “We have used survey responses from our community to develop this business boot camp with the intent that this model may be replicated in other cities or regions,” says Bryan Ramos, President of the PACC in Atlanta, GA. He adds, “One key discussion that we hope to engage with participants,  is a discussion how we conduct business as Filipino-Americans. We have drafted a Code of Conduct simply to start the discussion and we are very excited about it.” There has been a growing consensus within the community to develop the skills of those interested in entrepreneurship. “Our vision is that this is just the beginning and that with the support of  WHIAAPI, SBA, and MBDA, this will open new doors to Filipino-American entrepreneurs and professionals and inspire the next generation of business leaders to be involved in the community,” explains Baldia.