Citi Microentrepreneurship Award
Citi Foundation Corporation
“To date, the CMA has recognized over 90 outstanding Filipinos for their stories of hope and triumph over poverty through entrepreneurship.”
INTRODUCTIONLaunched in 2002 on Citi’s centennial year in the Philippines, the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards (CMA) is a nationwide search for the most outstanding Filipino microentrepreneurs. Together with partners Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines or BSP); and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, Inc. (MCPI), the national network of microfinance practitioners in the country, Citi recognized the value of microfinance as a tool for poverty alleviation and through the CMA puts the spotlight not only on microentrepreneurs, but also on the support needed by their expanding microenterprises.
Funded by Citi Foundation based in New York, CMA creates opportunities year round to gather microfinance practitioners and clients as well as policy makers to raise awareness for the challenges in the industry. Over the last decade, these venues have contributed to the formulation of client-friendly policies such as pricing transparency and financial education for microfinance clients.
FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGYThe core strategy of the CMA is to honor outstanding microentrepreneurs whose resilience and hard work resulted in a better quality of life not only for themselves but also for their families and their communities.
On top of the cash incentives, winners receive scholarship to the Citi Microenterprise Development Center for Entrepreneurship Training; personalized mentoring on a wide range of topics from customer service to human resources, microinsurance coverage, and membership in the CMA Alumni Network where they can share experiences and receive coaching from industry experts. All these rewards equip winners with tools needs to scale up to small and medium-size businesses.
ACHIEVEMENT AND IMPACTTo date, the CMA has recognised over 90 outstanding Filipinos for their stories of hope and triumph over poverty through entrepreneurship. CMA has continuously pursued a robust national awareness campaign through the use of mass media – giving a face to successful microfinance and emphasizing the availability of microfinance services and institutions that can be tapped by the entrepreneurial poor to assist them in starting or growing their enterprises.
The Philippines was ranked 1st by the Economist Intelligence Unit in terms of regulatory framework and practices for microfinance in 2013. Philippines can be proud of a consistent strong showing since the launch of the Annual Global Microfinance Index and Study in 2009. Furthermore, in 2013, the aggregate savings of microfinance clients reached a historical peak of PhP8.9 billion, higher than the outstanding loan level of PhP8 billion. Citi Foundation’s is now replicated in 32 other countries in its global program.
FUTURE DIRECTIONThe CMA is part of an enterprise development value chain. In 2010, Citi Philippines piloted a training program to address the skills gap of high potential microentrepreneurs so they can scale up their businesses. The pilot was a success, and led to the opening of the Citi Microentreprise Development Center (CMDC).
The CMDC offers participants a two-week course on Grassroots Entrepreneurship and Management that covers entrepreneurship, including topics on self-mastery, marketing, human resources, and finance. The center is also home to the Citi Small Business Advisory and Coaching Services (Citi SBACS), a business clinic and advisory service that gives microentrepreneurs access to experts, professors. To date, 32 winners of the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards have been trained in CMDC and in the coming years, CMA is committed to reach out to its entire alumni and help them address skills and knowledge gaps to promote sustained business growth and ensure greater economic success.
The Citi Foundation provides funding to the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards, and annually recognises outstanding microfinance clients who have used microfinance and entrepreneurship to improve their lives as well as their communities. The Citi Foundation is committed to the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of individuals and families.