By Darlene Casten
A 14-member board is currently creating the direction of the Filipino Chamber of Commerce Alberta.
The idea was raised during a Filipino leadership forum in June.
Businessman Michael Siervo has been nominated as the chairman of the board and Mabuhay Calgary publisher Vangie Caoilie is the Co-chair.
Siervo says the Chamber plans to build relationships across Canada and abroad to open up opportunities for Filipinos who own businesses in Alberta.
There are Filipino Chamber of Commerce organizations in Canada and the U.S and other countries. In the Philippines there are Canadian Philippine Chamber of Commerce that work with Canadian businesses .
Siervo says they are and will continue reaching out to other organizations to get guidance and make connections.
“A lot of conversations are going on now,” he says.
Changing the stigma of Filipinos as a worker only is another aim of the group.
Siervo estimates that there are a few hundred Filipino-owned businesses in Calgary.
“There are a lot of great entrepreneurs here,” he says.
Connecting Filipinos to those businesses is another goal. Working with local service groups and Filipino organizations will help them share information about what Filipino businesses are in Alberta, says Siervo.
“They can help us with outreach,” he says.
The board is made up of business owners and professionals in the insurance, investment, restaurant, medical and real estate fields.
Siervo says they will be working together to support Filipino business.
“We want to help be a voice for the Filipino community,” he says.
The cost to become a member will be determined at their next meeting and a website is now being created.
“It’s literally a startup,” says Siervo.
Anyone who wants to volunteer to help build the Filipino Chamber of Commerce can email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Siervo says everyone is invited to get involved.
“I would love to get connected with seniors – a retired entrepreneur that can share their knowledge,” he says. “Or with youth can teach business owners how to use social media. You don’t have to speak Tagalog. It is open to everyone. It’s fully inclusive.”