The country’s largest foreign bank and its top university have formed a partnership to equip micro-entrepreneurs in Central Luzon with the necessary skills to succeed in business.
Citi Philippines CEO Aftab Ahmed and University of the Philippines (UP) Chancellor Michael Tan both expressed their commitment to the partnership after the launch of a bridging program for social entrepreneurship and financial inclusion to benefit micro-entrepreneurs. The landmark program aims to develop certificate courses to help build and enhance capacities of practitioners in micro and small enterprise development in Central Luzon.
Ahmed said the partnership was significant as Citi Foundation continued to enhance and expand its efforts to develop a more inclusive financial system throughout the country.
He said, “Citi has always been a champion of the micro-entrepreneur. With Clark Freeport Zone being one of the growth centers in the country, the entrepreneurship courses being developed in the University of the Philippines Diliman Extension Program in Pampanga (UPDEPP) comes at an opportune time. We hope the pilot proves to be successful, so our efforts in educating micro-entrepreneurs can then be replicated in UP colleges across the country.”
Tan and UPDEPP Director Grace Jamon stressed that the UP campus in Clark serves as the ideal strategic base for the program because of ts location and the diverse investments from business locators in the Freeport Zone. The unique advantage can be harnessed through potential collaboration of UPDEPP with large firms to support programs transforming livelihoods and small and medium-sized enterprises in the region to become more competitive and resilient.
Professor Gerardo Agulto, Executive Director of the University of the Philippines Foundation, Inc., said, “We at UP Foundation appreciate this initial engagement and support from Citi Foundation. We hope to develop updated and relevant learning materials on social enterprise management in the region and work with government and non-government organizations implementing livelihood and small enterprise programs. We intend to offer the courses initially under UPDEPP and we look forward to sustaining this process under our non-degree and degree programs. We look forward to a lasting and mutually gratifying relationship.”