BYOB: Be Your Own Boss

Canadians of Filipino origin are considerably less likely than those in the overall workforce to be self-employed. (ONLY) 4% of employed people in the Filipino community worked for themselves, compared with 12% of their counterparts in the Canadian labour force. (Statistics Canada) Jodee is building fixtures for his soon to be open retail shop.

I beg to differ. Or atleast, I'd like to believe I'm part of a generation that's making change. Literally. While the idea of starting your own business is daunting enough, try breaking the news to your Filipino parents. It was hard enough for them to accept the fact that I wasn't interested in becoming a lawyer or doctor (Or mentally stable, for that matter).

Me in Toronto: Hey, Mom! So. Yeah. I'm done with the corporate thing & decided to open up my own business here in Toronto!

Mom in Alberta: "ANO?! Hay nako. So you're basically telling me in two months you'll be moving back home. You do realize we've turned your old bedroom into a *magic sing room, right?" *click*

Through my work at here KAPISANAN, I've been exposed to the entrepreneurial forces of many young Filipino Canadian Artists & Arts Enablers. All of whom have served as an inspiration to my own endeavours.

* Jeff Garcia: has exhibited various works at Kapisanan's annual KULTURA festival & is currently one of our CLUTCH arts mentors!

Jeff Garcia mounting an installation.

* Christine Mangosing: was a founding member & established the visual brand identity of KAPISANAN, along with curating gallery exhibits, and  she continues to provide arts-based career mentorship to the youth!

* Melissa Clemente: whose studio space once held a home within the walls of KAPISANAN back in the day (Before it even had walls!).

Melissa Clemente & product at EPOCH.

* Krystel Pasignasigna: a CLUTCH Vol. 1 alumni, has sold her creations within our Vinta Gallery along with exhibiting works at KULTURA!

* & most recently I've came across In Love With Excellence: whose founders were also a major part of the pilot year of the CLUTCH program!

Now, while the stats posted atop are dated 2001, I suspect a spike UP in the number of Filipino-Canadian entrepreneurs for 2011. With a portion of that entrepreneurial spirit having ties to the hustle we celebrate here at KAPISANAN. Be inspired!

*SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT!* If you're in the Toronto area & would like to witness young entrepreneurs coming together - swing by Rolly's Garage this Saturday from 7pm - Midnite (one of very few Filipino-owned commercial properties within the GTA!) for the highly anticipated HOLIDAY NIGHT MARKET. SHOP LOCAL! SHOP TORONTO! Many of the noted Filipino-Canadian business-minded art-hustlers above will be there doin' their thang amongst Toronto's finest!

Flyer/invitation to The Holiday Night Market on December 12th, 2010

Of course, I wouldn't be a very good businessman if I didn't know how to plug myself... I type this blog post wearing two hats. As the Programs/Outreach Manager of Kapisanan & as proud Co-Owner/Creative Director of Pretty Freedom.