CEOs, business owners savor the week that was

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AYALA CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Big business movers and shakers as well as fast-rising entrepreneurs in the startup scene came together in Manila last week to find ways to better facilitate trade and sustain economic growth despite global uncertainties across the 21 member-economies belonging to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec).

Hundreds of top company executives converged at the Makati Shangri-La from Nov. 16 to 18 for the Apec CEO Summit with the theme “Creating the Future: Better, Stronger, Together.”

Meanwhile, small and medium enterprise leaders met at Green Sun Makati on Nov. 17 for the Apec SME Summit as they sought to tap “big ideas” and innovation to push boundaries.

No less than heads of state of Apec economies - including US President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and the host’s very own, Philippine President Aquino - graced the affair and shared insights on what lies ahead, not only in regional finance and trade but also in other pressing issues such as climate change, education and health, urbanization, and sustainable development.

Likewise, the “rock stars” in business - the likes of Tony Fernandes, Dado Banatao and Jack Ma, as well as top Filipino tycoons Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala of the Ayala Group and Tony Tan Caktiong of Jollibee Foods Corp., among other big names and personalities - joined Apec Business Advisory Council 2015 chair Doris Magsaysay-Ho in sharing valuable tips to those aspiring to start their own enterprises and expand them into business empires.

These two summits highlighted the important role of the private sector in economic development across the Asia-Pacific region, especially in the creation of jobs, infusion of capital and financing, and promotion of inclusive growth as a whole.