Monday, October 11, 2010

Who will be the next Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines?

Who will be the next Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines? 
Business World - Online Edition
October 11, 2010

The seacrh for the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2010 concludes tomorrow night in a much-awaited awards gala at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

The search produced 19 outstanding entrepreneurs representing 18 organizations from diverse industries. "Believe" was chosen as the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2010 theme. To believe is at the core of every entrepreneur -- to believe in a dream; to believe in every opportunity; and to believe in the future. The finalists are all role models with the vision and determination to persevere in their ventures despite the challenges they face. Their stories can also inspire others to also consider entrepreneurship as a way to uplift the lives of Filipinos.

Mary Joy Abaquin established the non-traditional Multiple Intelligence International School, which encourages students to foster excellence in various learning areas and to use their skills to make a difference in their communities. Ms. Abaquin believes that the multiple intelligence framework promotes collaboration instead of competition and allows children to be recognized for their strength in diverse areas such as the arts, languages, music, and interpersonal relationships.

Gabino Abejo, Jr. diversified their family business from construction to bulk water production to provide clean, safe water to barangays in Talisay and Consolacion, Cebu. Abejo Builders Corp. supplies the Metro Cebu Water District with up to 15,000 cubic meters a day. It also provided communal faucets in as many as 12 to 15 areas in the barangay, making water available 24 hours a day, free of charge. This was the start of Mr. Abejo’s "Barangayan Water Project," which pegs the price of water per cubic meter at P1 lower than MCWD’s.

Adelfa Borro nurtured the family business to keep up with the times while maintaining the original flavor of Ted’s Oldtimer La Paz Batchoy. From a stall in the La Paz Public Market, the company has become a full-fledged restaurant with 23 company-owned branches and 12 franchises. Focusing on product innovation and variety, the restaurant introduced other meal combinations that were well received by customers, kept competitors at bay and generated more sales for the business.

Tennyson Chen’s decision to veer from construction into the food production business paid off handsomely. Bountry Fresh Food, Inc. (BFFI) is now one of the country’s largest and most reputable food producers. Employing the most advanced industry technologies, BFFI pioneered many of the systems that are now being used by similar companies in the country. Last year, the firm won the 2009 Asian Livestock Award, the first time any Philippine company earned this regional accolade.

Ireneo Dalayon spearheaded the establishment of the Federation of ARB/Banana-Based Cooperatives of Davao (FEDCO) to help banana growers in Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur and Compostela Valley have better control of their operations and more freedom to negotiate selling prices. FEDCO serves as the umbrella organization for nearly 20 member cooperatives with around 3,600 farmers owning 5,000 hectares of land.

Junie Del Mundo spent 13 years of his professional life as a career diplomat before shifting to the private sector to put up EON. Starting as an events management company, EON expanded to include public relations, corporate communications and stakeholder relations. The firm has been accredited by the Asian Development Bank and is the only Filipino agency with a specialization in Central Asia.

Teodoro Ferrer retired at 60 yet maintains an even more hectic schedule after creating Generika Drugstore. Established at a time when branded medicine dominated the retail drugstore sector, Generika has now grown to 100 drugstores in Luzon, of which 16 are company-owned and 84 are franchise outlets. To foster growth and streamline operations, three other firms -- Actimed Distribution, Inc., Generika Franchising Services Corp. and Novelis Solutions, Inc. -- were formed to support company and franchise operations.

Anthony Huang steered Stores Specialists Inc. (SSI) to significantly expand its portfolio of the world’s lifestyle brands. SSI provided the opportunity for global brands such as Lacoste, Marks & Spencer, Gucci, Hermes and Ferragamo to have freestanding stores inside malls. The company now manages the largest network of retail outlets in the country, with 73 brands and 300 outlets in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao.

Benjamin Liuson established The Generics Pharmacy Franchising Corporation, which has 900 franchise stores nationwide, only one of which is company-owned. Selling only generic products, the company focuses on its mission of providing Filipinos with affordable medication. In the pipeline for the company are additional product lines and more outlets in the Philippines, as well as in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam and the United States.

Antonio Meloto created opportunities for the poor through the Gawad Kalinga Community Development Foundation (GK). His first project was to transform the poorest areas of Bagong Silang, Caloocan City into a safe neighborhood with well-built and comfortable homes. The rebirth of Camarines Sur from poverty has also been attributed to the presence of 120 GK villages and GK’s entrepreneurship programs. By 2024, GK aims to build 50,000 villages -- one in every barangay in the Philippines. The GK Village model is also being replicated in nations such as Cambodia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

From selling eggs to augment her household budget, Corazon Pineda-Aquino worked to turn C & Triple A Supermarket into the supermarkets of choice in Baguio City. C & Triple A caters to the lower income consumers, especially local sari-sari stores that purchase in bulk. Initially a sole proprietorship, C & Triple A has expanded into several corporations that operate three supermarket chains and handle supermarket marketing efforts and distribution.

Ronald Pineda was motivated by his passion for clothing and style to launch Adenip, Inc., the company behind popular local fashion brands Folded and Hung (F&H), Wade and Jellybean. Mr. Pineda collaborates closely with young, talented local designers to create the F&H signature look. He has also established strong ties with local manufacturers and suppliers to ensure the quality and affordability of F&H merchandise. From three shops, F&H has now expanded to 50 stores nationwide and 10 franchise outlets.

Mark Joaquin Ruiz and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV co-created MicroVentures, Inc. (MVI), which leverages on the Filipino sari-sari stores. Through MVI’s flagship "Hapinoy Store Program," a borrower who has top credit scores can borrow capital to convert an existing convenience store into a small Hapinoy Store or a larger Hapinoy Community Store which supports over 50 smaller stores. Recognizing that sari-sari stores are usually run by the woman of the household (nanay), the Hapinoy program focuses on increasing the nanays’ profitability.

Remegio Salanatin was teaching engineering when he was asked to help construct buildings for two big schools in Cotabato City. Putting his knowledge into practice, he founded R.G. Salanatin Construction. He developed the Design & Build construction scheme and the Easy-to-Pay terms that help lessen the financial burdens of clients. The company’s clients are mostly academic institutions, and lists among its many projects educational structures.

Edgar Sia II defied the odds when he started Mang Inasal Philippines, Inc., combining the time-tested appeal of chicken barbeque and the fast food dine-in concept. Barely a year after opening the first Mang Inasal restaurant in 2003, Mr. Sia was able to set up another branch in his native Roxas City. Now, Mang Inasal counts 260 branches nationwide of which 28 are company-owned. It has become the country’s sixth largest fastfood chain.

Lyndon Tan, through his company Basic Necessity, Inc., helped develop the local lettuce industry. Employing a self-researched program, Mr. Tan developed a method of growing world-class lettuce locally, thus eliminating the need for importation and lowering market prices. After initially catering to hotels, the company now also supplies fine dining restaurants, fastfood chains and convenience stores, and has launched a line of ready-to-eat salad products for health-conscious consumers.

Esther Vibal led Vibal Publishing House Inc. (VPHI) to dominance of the competitive textbook publishing market. VPHI has published 61 million textbooks, and accounts for over 50% of those distributed to the estimated 18 million Filipino children in public elementary and secondary schools. It has also developed and produced digital learning tools, making it the first Philippine educational publisher to produce a textbook complemented with a CD-ROM and an online site.

Annabella Wisniewski established Raintree Management Partners Inc. as an independent consulting services firm serving established hotel chains such as the Four Seasons and the Shangri-La. Raintree-managed properties attract a sizeable number of local and international tourists. She has also ventured into operations and food service. Through these ventures, she helped pioneer the full serviced-apartment concept in the Philippines, and themed food parks in corporate settings.

From among these 18 finalists, one winner will be named the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2010 and will represent the country at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2011.

In 2003, the very first Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines award was accorded to Jollibee Foods Corporation President and CEO Tony Tan Caktiong, who went on to become the World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2004. Socorro Cancio-Ramos, founder of National Book Store, has also been named Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines, followed by Lance Gokongwei, president and CEO of Cebu Air, Inc.; Senen Bacani, chairman and president of La Frutera, Inc.; Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Jr., president and CEO of Alaska Milk Corporation; and Ambassador Jesus Tambunting, chairman and president of Planters Development Bank.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year was founded in the US by professional services firm Ernst & Young in 1986. In 2001, Ernst & Young expanded the program and launched the World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards. Here, the SGV Foundation, Inc. established the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines program in 2003.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2010 is sponsored by SAP Philippines. The official airline is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, operating on behalf of the Air-France KLM Group in the Philippines. Media sponsors are BusinessWorld and the ABS-CBN News Channel.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2010 is a program of the SGV Foundation, Inc. with the participation of the De La Salle University, Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Philippine Stock Exchange and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.