Archive for June, 2017

Young and Thriving ASEAN Entrepreneurs Changing the Game

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

These group of under 30 individuals have gained international recognition for their entrepreneurial drive, innovative spirit, and business success. Their young age hasn’t stopped them from greatly impacting their respective fields that range from energy, agriculture, education, food and many more. Here is the definitive list of young entrepreneurs from the different ASEAN countries who are drastically changing the entrepreneurial landscape:

PHILIPPINES

Leandro Leviste (Solar Philippines)
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A 23-year-old undergraduate at Yale University and son of Senator Loren Legarda and businessman Tony Leviste. Leviste started Solar Philippines in 2013 when he saw the opportunity of providing solar power in the Philippines. His goal is to put solar panels on every single rooftop to help bring down electricity rates in the Philippines. Solar Philippines partnered with the country’s biggest mall provider SM Prime Holdings for his company’s projects. Leviste is planning to do more solar panel projects for other malls.  Solar Philippines is said to be the Philippines’ top solar power provider and is the largest developer of Solar Rooftop power plants in South East Asia. Solar Philippines is committed to sustainable development and renewable energy to help reduce both electricity costs and carbon footprint.

Raphael Antonio Mijeno and Aisa Mijeno (SALt)

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A graduate of Bachelor of Science in Business Management and has worked for an Australian and British firm. He has background in accounting, finance and sales. Naturally born artistic, he has an eye for art and design. SALt was conceived when Aisa, a computer engineer and member of Greenpeace Philippines experienced living with the natives of the Kalinga mountains and realized that they only had kerosene lamps to be able to see things at night. As kerosene is by no means affordable, safe or sustainable, she decided to come up with an alternative. She then decided to partner up with her brother, Raphael since he was a business management graduate. A partnership between Raphael and his sister Aisa was able to create Sustainable Alternative Lighting, a sustainable and cost-effective ecologically designed lamp powered by tap water and table salt. The concept has gained recognition and won awards all over the region.

INDONESIA

Gibran Huzaifah Amsi El Farizy (eFishery)
eFishery founder and CEO Gibran Huzaifah was a fish farmer-turned-agriculture tech entrepreneur. He started his entrepreneurship while he was in his second year in college. He set up catfish farming business in 2011 and built it until it has 83 units of hatchery ponds now. After he graduated from biological science ITB in 2012, he saw an opportunity in supporting technology for fish farmers. He began to build eFishery through fish farming in Indonesia that enable farmers to feed the fish automatically, sense the fish appetite, and connected to the internet. After months of research and hundreds of units of sales, eFishery is now recognized as one of the most distinguished IoT startups in Indonesia, as it is focusing and addressing the big issue and creating impacts for both people and environment.

Indonesia's Gibran Huzaifah Amsi El Farizy (eFishery) and 4.Heni Sri Sundani Jaladara (Smart Farmer Kids in Action & AgroEdu Jampang Community)

Indonesia’s Gibran Huzaifah Amsi El Farizy (eFishery) and 4. Heni Sri Sundani Jaladara (Smart Farmer Kids in Action & AgroEdu Jampang Community)

Heni Sri Sundani Jaladara (Founder, Smart Farmer Kids in Action & AgroEdu Jampang Community)
Born into poverty, Sundani went to Hong Kong as a domestic helper to support her family. Despite unfortunate events, she was able to attend college and graduate with honors from St. Mary’s University in Hong Kong with a degree of Entrepreneurial Management. Upon returning to Indonesia, she founded Smart Farmer Kids in Action & AgroEdu Jampang Community. It’s a free school and community program to help eradicate poverty.

SINGAPORE

Christopher Hwang and Jonathan Shen (Cofounders, The Golden Duck)

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The Golden Duck Founders: Jonathan Shen (left) and Christopher Hwang (right).

Jonathan Shen is a marketing manager for the Massive Collective Group of companies, and Co-Founder of TGD (The Golden Duck) Singapore. Chris Hwang is a serial entrepreneur, potential law school dropout and Co-Founder, TGD (The Golden Duck) Singapore; Co-Founder, Impressionist: The Interview Specialists; Investor in Suite 26, Vanity Lounge, and Armoury Gastrobar; Investor in Massive Collective. As the cofounders of Singaporean food company, The Golden Duck Co., Shen and Hwang took advantage of a craze for salted egg yolk there, by creating a series of handcrafted gourmet snack products – from potato chips to crunchy fish skin – with this distinctive flavor. The Golden Duck Co. now sells an average of 10,000 packets of snacks per week.

Qin En Looi, Ying Cong Seah and Oswald Yeo (Cofounders, Glints)

From left: Glints founders - Oswald Yeo, Qin En Looi and Ying Cong Seah.

From left: Glints founders – Oswald Yeo, Qin En Looi and Ying Cong Seah.

Three Singaporean entrepreneurs dropped out of Berkeley, Standford and Wharton to launch Glints, a talent recruitment and career discovery platform for young people to find the right internship and job opportunities. Glints sought to bridge this mismatch between employer needs and skills young talent have on offer. They started by helping theirs friends source for internships by building up their career readiness through practical & real-world experiences.  Glints has managed to raise $2.7 million from East Ventures, Singapore Infocomm Investments, 500 Startups and others with a 20% monthly growth rate.

MALAYSIA

Chee Hau Goh and Nadhir Ashafiq Zainal Abidin (Cofounders, TheLorry)

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TheLorry Founders: Chee Hau Goh (left) and Nadhir Ashafiq Zainal Abidin (right).

Goh worked as a cargo manager for several global airlines before founding his own business, while Ashafiq has worked as an associate at the CIMB investment bank. Founded in 2014, The Lorry offers on demand cargo transportation services throughout Malaysia. The startup helps more than 1000 drivers with clients who can book vehicles as well as extra services such as packing and dismantling via its online platform.

Neelofa (Founder NH Prima International Sdn Bd)

neelofa
A Malaysian actress, television and commercial model before entering into the world of entrepreneurship. She loved fashion and had a passion for business so she combined the two and proceeded to set up her own label. Neelofa and her partners decided to revolutionize and simplify modest fashion, to make shawls more practical and easier to wear. After countless trials and errors, they came up with a design for an instant shawl and launched Naelofar Hijab in 2014. They started selling the shawls online and at bazaars. The instant shawls were a hit and there was an increase in demand. Currently there are stocks in Malaysia, Brunei and Singapore. Business has expanded and along with Naelofar Hijab, Neelofa have also created two other labels Nalelofar Abaya, featuring modern and stylish abayas and Lofalens, a brand offering fashionable contact lenses.

THAILAND

Vasa Iamsuri (Founding Partner, Fastwork Technologies)

vasa-iamsuri
Iamsuri is the founding partner of Fastwork, the fastest growing online freelance marketplace in Thailand. The startup matches companies, mainly small and medium enterprises, with over 3,000 freelancers who are experts in 50 categories such as software development, design and illustration, content marketing, and video editing. Users can browse a variety of freelance categories and start talking to the freelancer and If there a match they can then place an order. Unlike other freelancing sites, Fastwork protects both sides of the marketplace. The startup has so far generated US$300,000 in income for freelancers and this number is growing at 37 percent month-on-month.

CAMBODIA

Daroath Phav (Executive Director WaterSHED)

phav
He is the Executive Director of WaterSHED. He has a background in accounting and audit, a strong sense of business and an eye for detail.He previously served as WASH Marketing Manager, responsible for WaterSHED’s pioneering sanitation marketing activities. He has been a driving force behind many of the organization’s leading initiatives, including its linkages with micro-finance for consumer purchase. Mr. Phav coordinates market development activities in rural Cambodia across a variety of stakeholder, partners, and donors. Managing a team that works across an area that is home to 40 percent of Cambodia’s population, he ensures the accountability and transparency of the organization, and oversees staff training and program quality.


ABA 2017 Footer 600x106
Since its establishment by ASEAN Leaders in 2003, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) has been active in promoting public-private sector partnership and consultation to assist the integration of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2017. In its efforts to bridge ASEAN Governments with its private sectors, the Council launched the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) in 2007 to give recognition to enterprises that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN economy.

Join this year’s ASEAN Business Awards! Application Period: March 15 – July 20, 2017. Application deadline for the Inclusive Business Award Category is on June 30, 2017. For more information about the ASEAN Business Awards 2017, please visit www.aba2017.com

Growth After Mentor ME

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

For the past 12 years, the Go Negosyo advocacy has been focused on mentorship as it is evident in the success of many entrepreneurs. The Go Negosyo program today with the Department of Trade and Industry led by Sec. Ramon Lopez, who was part of Go Negosyo for many years, understands the power of mentorship.

I owe my own personal success to my primary mentors – my parents Joecon and Marivic. They too were mentored by their parents who lived a happy married life and were equally successful in business and advocacy work. My grandfather, Jose Concepcion Sr. started Concepcion Industries. My mother’s parents Salvador Araneta and Victoria Lopez-Araneta both started different ventures — the former started RFM Corporation, the first flour mill in the country, while the latter started Feati university and Feati bank which became City Trust. Both were involved in philanthropy – my grandmother started White Cross and my grandfather served the government. Their values and characteristics were passed on to my parents and now to me.

One of the best lessons I learned from them is the value of family and maintaining a long and happy marriage. My parents, who recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary are one of the few couples who lived a happy married life. They have conquered their trials together. In their celebration of their six decades of marriage, they thanked the Lord for the many years spent growing in love for each other and for service. “Our life has been blessed with many happy memories, good health, good friends, sufficiency of material goods, and an abundance of love for one another. Dear Lord, thank You for all these, Grant that, like your faithful disciples, we may show our love for You by loving and serving one another and others with a selfless love.”

I am proud to say that I was mentored well by my parents for they too experienced great mentorship. This is why I, together with the Go Negosyo community, am pushing for the value of mentorship to micro and small entrepreneurs.

Jose Concepcion Jr. and Marivic Concepcion celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Jose Concepcion Jr. and Marivic Concepcion celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

Apart from our on-going initiatives to help areas of extreme poverty and conflict, we are still in touch with the roots of our advocacy – empowering micro and small entrepreneurs.

August last year, we launched the Go Negosyo Kapatid project to help contribute to the micro and small entrepreneurs’ development program of the government. Under Kapatid, Mentor ME was launched as a joint-program of Go Negosyo and the Department of Trade and Industry led by Sec. Ramon Lopez. Since 2016, we’ve started launching the program in different cities and municipalities in the Philippines.

Since then, we have met passionate individuals who became mentees. Some graduated along with the other first batch of menses and some will soon graduate. What is common in these people is their desire to scale up – to become successful. They are eager to learn and apply the lessons they learned. Some of the first batch of graduates from their respective KMME programs made incredible growth.

One of the mentees, Ester Perez, was an employee turned entrepreneur. After many years of hard work, she retired in 2009 and decided to try her luck in entrepreneurship.  With an initial capital of PHP150,000, she started a small bakeshop producing pan de sal. Eventually, she started innovating her products. She added biscocho in different flavours, which became their champion product. Because of her active participation in seminars and trainings provided by DTI, she became one of the first mentees of the Mentor ME in Zamboanga City. After 10 weekly modules, Ester was proud to say that she was inspired by the mentors to pursue her own success despite the challenges that come her way. After attending KMME, her business’ growth started. She expanded her market, continuously innovated products, trained her personnel, and employed additional staff to support the demand.

Another mentee is Gabriela Jimeno of KGD Infinite Fashion. Despite having no business or fashion background, she pursued her passion for fashion accessories. She initially started as an exporter of shell buttons and fashion accessories in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, the business failed. She then ventured into production of native delicacies. But still the income was not enough for her family. And then, with PHP1000, she again started her fashion accessories business. After attending local trade fairs and expo, she opened a kiosk and employed 20 employees to help her in creating chic necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Prior to being a mentee, Gabriela shared that she lacked knowledge in financial management, people management, marketing, and innovation. However, as a result of the program, she has learned how to plan and manage her business well. She has already employed more personnel and expanded her business.

Mary Ann Eustaquio initially wanted to pursue her great grandfather’s leather goods business but she realized that this would result to a slow turnover of money. She and her husband, Alan then decided to think of other products made out of cow’s skin. This resulted to the conception of beef chicharon. Despite the new concept, the couple still continued to look for expansion. When their province had a scarcity on balut or duck egg, they pursued duck farming with an initial of 730 ducklings. Since then, they sought assistance from different government agencies, including DTI. Because of this, they became an active participant of seminars and trainings, including KMME. Mary Ann shared that she was motivated by one of the KMME mentors to keep on persevering. She added that through KMME, many doors of opportunities opened. They are now on their way to expanding their duck farm and planning for their leather factory through the loan assistance they recently received from Landbank of the Philippines.

Coming from a Yakan community, Angelita Ilul was equipped with weaving skills since childhood. To them, weaving is not just a hobby but a proof of the community’s artistry. She started weaving bags, table runners, placemats, coasters and wall decors in 1983. But because of financial problems, the business had to stop. She then worked abroad for a few years then returned after saving enough money for capital. Angie’s Yakan Cloth business is one of the beneficiaries of DTI’s Cottage Industry Technology Center which promotes small scale industries for employment and livelihood in communities. Because of this, she became a KMME mentee. After the modules, she is proud to share that she learned important marketing strategies, and proper costing and pricing. She said, after learning the essentials in business, she joined several trade fairs and generated a large income afterwards. Currently, she is planning to exhibit Yakan products to the international market.

Last but not the least is Arnold Sotto who is also called the Sampaloc King of Zamboanga. Sotto’s Delicacies started in the early 90s producing yemas and sampalok candies. They used simple packaging and labels then. Additionally, they experienced several challenges including the lack of raw materials, bad clients, and mismanaged finances. During the course of KMME, Arnold said that the modules on product development, human resource management, business mindset, accounting, and supply value chain are the topics that made the most impact on his business. Currently, his company plans to expand in Metro Manila with the help of the loan from Small Business Corporation.

These are just some of the inspiring stories of our Mentor ME mentees. Despite challenges, they pursued and are continuously aiming for growth and success. We hope that their growth will be nonstop – from micro and small businesses to the next medium and large enterprises. This is the real goal for Mentor ME – to equip MSMEs with business skills and acumen that would help them better manage their enterprises.

Humanitarian Efforts for Marawi

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte together with the Go Negosyo team led by Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar.

President Rodrigo Duterte together with the Go Negosyo team led by Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar.

The sacrifices of our soldiers are well recognized not only by their families but of the whole country. As days pass by in the battle of Marawi, the prayers for the war to end continues.

Last Sunday, the Go Negosyo team led by Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar, flew to Cagayan de Oro and Iligan to repack the items that were donated to the soldiers as part of the Go Negosyo Kapatid for Marawi initiatives. From canned goods, to soaps and other personal hygiene products, our “care packages” were filled to the brim.

Thank you to LBC of Santi Araneta and Sabin Aboitiz and his staff Dodong Sebandal of Pilmico Iligan, all our items were properly shipped and stored before packing. With more than 50 volunteers, items were carefully placed inside the drawstring bags printed with a special message, “We are grateful for your sacrifice. Our prayers go with you. Come back home safe. From Go Negosyo Kapatid Family.”

After packing 5000 bags for our troops, our team then proceeded to their camps in different areas to distribute the care packages. Because of security concerns, there were several check points and only limited people are allowed to enter camps and travel near Marawi. Luckily, our team was escorted by some of the officers.

Handing the care packages to our troops is the highlight of this trip. They were appreciative of the simple packages that we packed. More than the goods, the troops received handwritten letters and messages from different people. These were lovingly provided by Zarah Juan, Myla Villanueva and Atty. Gianna Montinola and their respective teams. Some were written by kids, students in universities, and some from OFWs.

As Ginggay and my team shared, the soldiers were quiet as they read the messages of support. Their aura changed after reading the messages. Soldiers cry happy tears as they learn that many people are praying for their success and safety. If only I can share with you the videos, you would see their tears of joy. Somehow, through this effort, we are boosting their morale and giving hope to them.

Go Negosyo Team together with Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and one of the wounded soldiers.

Go Negosyo Team together with Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and one of the wounded soldiers.

Troops read letters of hope and encouragement together with their Go Negosyo Kapatid Care Packages.

Troops read letters of hope and encouragement together with their Go Negosyo Kapatid Care Packages.

One soldier said, “Hindi biro ang Marawi. Malaking bagay po ito. Maraming salamat po sa inyo.” A lady soldier also shared why she was crying after reading the letter, “Na-touch lang ako na pinagdarasal nila kami.” Col. Reginio also said, “Salamat sa inyo dahil unang beses naming naramdaman na hindi lang naming ito laban kundi laban ng lahat ng Pilipino.”

These letters are not long letters. Some were just written in notepads but contains prayers, bible verses, and words of encouragement. Let me share some letters: “When things get hard, kneel and pray. We may not be with you during these dark days, but you are in my prayers. All that you do for this country would be regarded with respect. We thank you for being our heroes.”

Here is another letter, “Maraming salamat sa inyong sakripisyo upang itaguyod ang kapayapaan at kalayaan. Kayo po ang aming mga bayani. Mabuhay po kayo! Para po sa kinabukasan ng bayan, ng bawat Pilipino. Lubos po naming pinapasalamatan ang lahat ng binigay niyo para sa laban sa Marawi.”

Fourth Mechanized Infantry Battalion posted on their Facebook account: “It may be a simple gesture to you but to the soldiers who are enduring the loneliness of being away from their love ones, constantly staring in the eye of the possibility of not seeing their families in this world again while combating those who seek to harm you. It is heart and soul touching to see citizens who are truly concerned to their soldiers especially reading heart pinching letters from you.”

President Rodrigo Duterte also happened to be visiting the wounded soldiers and awarding them for their service. Our team through the help of Secretary Delfin Lorenzana was able to share the initiative of the private sector led by Go Negosyo Kapatid community. He saw the bags we were distributing and the contents and was pleased to read the printed messages. He said that the soldiers will be glad to receive the items. The president appreciates these humanitarian efforts that many organizations like Go Negosyo are doing.

To us here in Manila or in other safe areas, we may think that these efforts are simple but to those in the battle field, the simplest things matter the most. The love letters for soldiers made the greatest impact more than the products. Yes, they need food, drinks, and medicines, but the thought of having people pray for their safety meant a lot.

We are still uncertain of the days to come in Marawi. We do not want to lose more people because of these acts of violence and terrorism. But together, let us pray that this will end soon with minimum losses.

We would like to thank the Kapatid community: Jaime Zobel de Ayala (Ayala Corporation), Manny Pangilinan (PLDT SMART Group & Metro Pacific Corporation), Tessie Sy-Coson (SM Group), Ramon Ang (San Miguel Corporation), Robina Gokongwei-Pe (The Generics Pharmacy), Lance Gokongwei and Nilo Mapa (Universal Robina Corporation), Federico Lopez (First Philippine Holdings), Michael Tan (Asia Brewery), Santi Araneta (LBC), Sabin Aboitiz (Pilmico Iligan), Kevin Tan (Megaworld Corporation), Chris Po (Century Pacific Food), Corazon Ong and Jerome Ong (CDO Foodsphere Corporation), Tennyson Chen (Bounty Fresh Corporation), Dan Lachica (SEIPI), Alfred Ty (Metrobank), Henry Lim Bon Liong (SL Agritech Corporation), Ernest Cu (Globe), Felix Ang (Auto Nation Group), Jojo Concepcion (Concepcion Industries), Injap Sia and Tony Tan Caktiong (DoubleDragon Properties), Jean Henri Lhuillier (Cebuana Lhuillier), Kettle Korn & RFM Corporation, Mildred Vitangcol (St. Peter’s Chapel/MAP), Evie Abraham and employees (Robinsons Bank), Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, Columbia International Food Products Inc., Alfredo Yao (Zesto Corporation), Nikki Tang (D Mark Beauty), Gina Lorenzana (Unilever Philippines), Cecilio Pedro (Lamoiyan Corporation), Mary Ann Montemayor (Villa Margarita), Steve Benitez (Bo’s Coffee), Rey Go (Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Jun Sy (Tao Corporation), Rommel Sytin (Foton Motor Philippines), Connie Haw (Advance Paper), Tony Panajon (PharmaRex), Josie Go (Karimadon), Bernie Liu (Golden ABC), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation employees, Myla Villanueva (MDI Holdings), Patty Chilip (Standard Insurance), Rex Daryanani (Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Gianna Montinola (Far Eastern University), Maymay Liechtenstein (WomenBiz), Marites Dagdag (Clorox Philippines), Elvie Tan (Ozamiz Chamber of Commerce), Stephen Lee Keng (Anchor Land), Wilfred Gui (Guifts), Siu Ping Par (PR Gaz Haus), Zarah Juan (Greenleaf Ecobags), Paul Rodriguez (Super Shuttle RORO), and Miguel Belmonte (The Philippine STAR).

For interested donors to the #KapatidForMarawi, you may get in touch with the Go Negosyo team:

For all letters or messages of support, you may coordinate it with Jarielle ‎Reyes (09189656333), for all items for donation, please coordinate it with Gelle Jimena (09173127984 or 09998879276), for cash donations, please call Sophia Ramos (09285523285) and for more information, please contact Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar (09175249957 or ‎09088980428).

Sending Care Packages and Letters to our Soldiers in Marawi

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017
Morale boost: Letters that Go Negosyo Kapatid For Marawi is sending to our troops contain prayers and words of encouragement and hope.

Morale boost: Letters that Go Negosyo Kapatid For Marawi is sending to our troops contain prayers and words of encouragement and hope.

This will be the fourth week of war in Marawi, which was recently conquered by the terrorists. Much has happened since then and we still do not know what else can happen. But one thing is for sure: many lives have been lost. Because of this war, many people were displaced, troops were injured, and houses were lost.

For the past two weeks, Go Negosyo has led the Kapatid For Marawi project, which has been gathering and sending products to our Maranao brothers and sisters in the evacuation centers. They have been given canned goods, snacks, water, milk, juices, pasta, mats, blankets, and other essentials.

Last week, we decided to extend our support to our brave men in uniform deployed in Marawi. They, too, need all the help we can give. This is why Go Negosyo Kapatid For Marawi will be sending care packages to our troops that contain food packs, water bottles and other drinks, medicines, personal-care products, and handwritten letters. These letters contain prayers and words of encouragement and hope, which we think will boost the morale of our soldiers.

All these would have not been possible without the support of the Go Negosyo Kapatid community: Jaime Zobel de Ayala (Ayala Corporation), Manny Pangilinan (PLDT Smart Group and Metro Pacific Corporation), Tessie Sy-Coson (SM Group), Ramon Ang (San Miguel Corporation), Robina Gokongwei-Pe (The Generics Pharmacy), Lance Gokongwei and Nilo Mapa (Universal Robina Corporation), Federico Lopez (First Philippine Holdings), Michael Tan (Asia Brewery), Kevin Tan (Megaworld Corporation), Chris Po (Century Pacific Food), Corazon Ong and Jerome Ong (CDO Foodsphere Corporation), Tennyson Chen (Bounty Fresh Corporation), Dan Lachica (SEIPI), Alfred Ty (Metrobank), Henry Lim Bon Liong (SL Agritech Corporation), Ernest Cu (Globe), Felix Ang (Auto Nation Group), Jojo Concepcion (Concepcion Industries), Injap Sia and Tony Tan Caktiong (DoubleDragon Properties), Gina Lorenzana (Unilever Philippines), Cecilio Pedro (Lamoiyan Corporation), Mary Ann Montemayor (Villa Margarita), Rey Go (Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Bernie Liu (Golden ABC), Myla Villanueva (MDI Holdings), Patty Chilip (Standard Insurance), Rex Daryanani (Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Gianna Montinola (Far Eastern University), Maymay Liechtenstein (WomenBiz), Marites Dagdag (Clorox Philippines), Elvie Tan (Ozamiz Chamber of Commerce), Stephen Lee Keng (Anchor Land), Wilfred Gui (Guifts), Siu Ping Par (PR Gaz Haus), Zarah Juan (Greenleaf Ecobags), and myself (Kettle Korn and RFM Corporation).

Transportation of the relief goods would have not been possible without the support of LBC, led by Santi Araneta. Sabin Aboitiz and Pilmico Iligan also offered their warehouse for the repacking of items. Miguel Belmonte and Philippine STAR also support us.

Members of the Alliance Towards Prosperity for All, like the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, led by George Barcelon, Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Management Association of the Philippines, Financial Executives of the Philippines, Bankers Association of the Philippines, Makati Business Club, and others all pledged their help to the Marawi people.

Those interested in donating to #KapatidForMarawi can get in touch with the Go Negosyo team: For letters or messages of support, you can coordinate with Jarielle Reyes (0918-965-6333); for all items for donation, coordinate with Gelle Jimena (0917-312-7984 or 0999-887-9276); for cash donations, call Sophia Ramos (0928-552-3285); and for more information, contact Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar (0917-524-9957 or 0908-898-0428).

‘Dads’ to Riches: Mga Tatay ng Negosyo

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Radio Synthesis 12 Tatay
On June 14, 2017, Go Negosyo sa Radyo hosts Sen. Bam Aquino and DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla were joined by Manny Valencia, Joel Yala and Rey Lapid – 3 inspiring men who’ve kept a balance between being negosyantes and fathers as well.

Before being a full-time entrepreneur, Joel Yala was once a construction worker, a tricycle driver and an ordinary employee. His wife, Marissa, was also an employee before they decided to quit their jobs and start their own business. The idea of Chocovron started when Joel was grocery shopping with his wife and was fascinated by all things coated in chocolate. He then thought of producing a similar product and called it Chocovron in 2003. Joel shares that starting Chocovron was definitely not easy. He had to make the products “mano-mano” with his wife while his taste testers were his neighbours and co-workers. Joel would place his Chocovrons at the locker for people to taste in the factory where he was working at and perform an inventory every break time. “Sobrang sacrifice talaga pero mahal ko ginagawa ko” Joel said. In late 2004, Joel decided to get a DTI permit to make his business official. DTI called for a meeting since they were intrigued with the product, they were soon asked “willing ba kayo lumaki yung business”? Today, Chocovron is importing their products to the United States and Canada and has market exhibits in Thailand, China and Hongkong. From the small enterprise, Chocovron now employs 50 employees, all hailing from Surigao – the same province of Joel and Marissa since it has been their mission to help improve the lives of fellow Surigaonon. Everyday, they are producing a total of 5000 packs of Polvoron of different variants; from the class chocovron to the flavoured polvoron (cookies and cream, milk), nutrivon (sugar free, ampalaya, malunggay). What makes men different from women in his experience in business? “Stricto ako, weakness ng mga babae mga sale lagi may distraction, pag lalake, naka lista dire diretso kung ano sadya” Joel says.

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Go Negosyo sa Radyo hosts Sen. Bam Aquino and DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla were joined by Manny Valencia, Joel Yala and Rey Lapid – 3 inspiring men who’ve kept a balance between being negosyantes and fathers as well.

At an early age of 12, Rey Lapid was already about getting down to business.  Rey’s father used to work at a public market and he would always come along especially during summer, “Gusto kong binibigyang halaga ang oras” he said. Rey noticed that whenever people would buy meat, “Very observant ako, pinapatanggal yung balat. Sayang yung balat kaya inipon and tinabi ko yung tirang balat” Rey said. From there his dad started making chicharron to be sold at the public market. In 1974 Rey started his own business, R. Lapid’s Chicharon and Barbeque, at a small stall in Quiapo. Rey and his wife sold chicken barbeque, longganisa, tocino and his best selling chicharron. Today, Lapid owns more than a 100 branches of R. Lapid’s Chicharon and Barbeque around the country. He even owns 2 resort hotels in Laguna and managed to put up a six-story mansion for his family. Rey plans to re-name his famous chicharron to “Manila Fries”.

In a business, it is inevitable for entrepreneurs to encounter obstacles. Manny shared that his biggest challenge was when he had little to no capital but this didn’t stop him because of his strong faith in the Lord, “naniniwala naman tayo na may plano si God. Nagpray talaga ako. Based on Romans 31. Sumipa bigla yung business, nabayarn ko yung 3 milion na utang. Yung resto na pinapagawa ko natapos. Tiwala lang talaga and sundin and instruction ni Lord”. Joel recalled, “nung ilang months na chocovron, na hold up ako. Parang sabotage kasi alam niya pwesto ko. Natrauma ako, 1 week di ako makatulog. Tinutukan kasi ako ng baril. Inicip ko Lord pano mga anak ko. Mula nun, di ako nagpakita 1 week sa trabaho. Sinabi ko sa misis ko na itigil to kasi baka dito pako mamatay. Pero parang may bumulong sakin na ituloy padin. Icipin mo we started sa 35 sqm ngayon may factory na”.  As for Rey, he went to America because he was invited by a friend to venture into a restaurant business. “I became so aggressive. May gusto mag partner sakin from USA. I became too excited, pumayag ako kaagd. Malaking good obstacle is opening up restaurant in san Francisco. Pagdating ko dun, nag invest ako. Ako tuloy nag operate lahat mag isa. Operated for 3 years ako lang mag isa. With that good experience, marami akong nalaman na tama at mali. Bumalik ako ng Pilipinas pero wala akong nabalik sa Pilipinas. Bago ko sinarado yung resto, nag trabaho ako dun bago umuwi para magka pera. Nung naka ipon nako, umuwi ako. I had to start from zero again. My wife was continuing my business for me here”.

How to balance being a father and a negosyante? All 3 answered that it was important to keep a good relationship with your wife and children. “Dapat may time sa asawa at pamilya. Ingatan ang relasyon sa pamilya, hindi yung puro negosyo tapos mapapabayaan yung pamilya” Manny said. As for their children, they make sure to train their children well before letting them in the business. “Tumutulong mga anak ko sa business, pero binabayaran ko sila parang empleyado” Joel said. “Mga anak ko very independent. Sabi ko subukan mo muna yung business natin dito, pag ayaw mo dun ka mag abroad” Rey told his children. “May bilin na sila ang mamana ng business, pero pinapa pasok ko muna sila sa ibang companya para makita and makasunod sa mga policy ng isang company” Manny shared.

As the segment came to an end, the 3 fathers left a few pieces of advice in how to be a father and negosyante at the same time. “May tatay din tayo sa langit na nakakakita satin at tutulungan tayo”, “Umasa sa taas pero wag kakalimutan nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa” and “Always keep a balance between negosyo and family”.

ABA Awardee Tony Fernandes’ Childhood Dream Turned Reailty — ‘Now Everyone Can Fly’

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

“If you have a happy workforce they’ll look after your customers anyway. You can have all the money you want in the world, and you can have all the brilliant ideas but if you don’t have the people, forget it.” – Tony Fernandes

Tony Fernandes – a Malaysian entrepreneur born in Kuala Lumpur, had a childhood dream of owning his own airline. He left Malaysia at the age of 12 to study at Epsom College in Surrey, England and then graduated from London School of Economics. Fernandes, an accountant, started his career with Warner then moved to Richard Branson’s Virgin Communications only to move back to Malaysia to explore a career in the music industry. He became the youngest managing director of Warner Music, Malaysia. After his career in music industry, he decided to finally fulfil his childhood dream of owning his own airlines.

Tony Fernandes, CEO of Air Asia won an ASEAN Priority Integration Sector Award: Aviation in 2015

Tony Fernandes, CEO of Air Asia won an ASEAN Priority Integration Sector Award: Aviation in 2015

As a firm believer of multiculturalism, Fernandes wanted to generate an airline that was accessible and affordable but with great style.  Instead of starting from scratch, Fernandes bought an existing airline; Air Asia. Right after the 9/11 terror attacks, Fernandes mortgaged his home to buy Air Asia – an ailing Malaysian owned airline for one ringgit with $11 million worth of debt.  After a year in business, Air Asia broke even and was able to settle all their debts.  Fernandes was able to turn an ailing airline into a profitable budget airline in a span of 2 years.  AirAsia has grown from a Malaysian domestic airline to the largest low-cost carrier in Asia in terms of fleet size and passengers carried. The story of redemption has been truly exceptional: the budget airline has been named the world’s best low-cost airline hence the tag line “Now everyone can fly”.

Air Asia is molded by culture, openness and transparency. Fernandes maintains a flat culture way of working whereas everyone plays a part in Air Asia and are all equally important. Fernandes says that to him “employees come number one, customers come number two. If you have a happy workforce they’ll look after your customers anyway. You can have all the money you want in the world, and you can have all the brilliant ideas but if you don’t have the people, forget it.” Fernandes adopts a “walk around” management style. According to his interview with BBC, he shared his experience working alongside his staff, “If you sit up in your ivory tower and just look at financial reports, you’re going to make some big mistakes.” For a few days every month he works on the ground or in the cabin crew. He says he’s learned a lot from working on the airline himself.  Fernandes turned down the idea of belt loaders at first but on his next stint working alongside staff, he almost broke his back while loading the plane. He says that without the experience, “I could have made a decision – a very wrong decision that damaged a lot of people and destroyed the morale of the organisation at that level.” Through this, Fernandes was able to create an environment for innovation.

The branding of Fernandes’s airline felt like Branson’s Virgin, down to the color scheme and logo typeface, but the bigger inspiration was the boom in low-cost flying that was transforming Europe’s flightmaps. Soon the fleet was expanding rapidly, and within a decade Air Asia was flying 30 million passengers annually. He is one of the first CEOs to harness the power of social media networks to sell tickets and market his airline. Fernandes believes in involving himself in the day-to-day functions of an airline.

While the group’s HQ is in Malaysia, the Air Asia brand has become a pillar for foreign airlines in which Fernandes has a stake. He bought 49% of the then AWAIR, an Indonesian low-cost carrier, in 2004, rebranding it as Indonesia Air Asia the following year. Similar joint ventures have brought Air Asia into the Philippines, Thailand, Japan and most recently into India. With large numbers of new planes in order, Fernandes has spoken of Air Asia X — linking Europe and Asia via low-cost long haul in the years ahead, starting with a London route.

Fernandes has also made ventures in other arenas – in Britain, he most famously bought football club, the Queens Park Rangers, and a Formula One racing team to add to his hotel, education, mobile phone and insurance ventures. Fernandes has received numerous awards from the industry observers and international press alike. Among the awards are, ‘Malaysia CEO of the year 2003’ by American Express and the Business Times, ‘Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year – Malaysia 2003’ at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in 2004, ‘Airline Business Strategy Award 2005, the first Asian to receive the Forbes Asia Businessman of the Year award in 2010, and most recently, the 2016 EY ASEAN Entrepreneurial Excellence Award.

It’s easy to see that Air Asia is now an ASEAN champion with global recognition. One that has connected the different communities through making air travel accessible to all.


Since its establishment by ASEAN Leaders in 2003, the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) has been active in promoting public-private sector partnership and consultation to assist the integration of an ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) by 2017. In its efforts to bridge ASEAN Governments with its private sectors, the Council launched the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) in 2007 to give recognition to enterprises that have contributed to the growth and prosperity of the ASEAN economy.

Join this year’s ASEAN Business Awards! Application Period: March 15 – July 30, 2017. Application deadline for the Inclusive Business Award Category is on June 30, 2017. For more information about the ASEAN Business Awards 2017, please visit www.aba2017.com

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Go Negosyo Kapatids Send Care Packages

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

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In our battle for peace, we often forget to give credit and gratitude to the brave men who are front liners in protecting our brothers and sisters. Upon reaching the battle ground, their lives are already in danger. As they say, they have their one foot in the grave already. And that is the sad reality brought by these wars.

Our soldiers, marines, and policemen deployed in Marawi are far from their families. While they are in their full battle gear, they too will still need all the support we can all give. So aside from the relief goods that we sent last week to our displaced Maranao brothers and sister, Go Negosyo under the Kapatid for Marawi initiative also started a campaign to gather donations for our troops of around 5000 people. Our Kapatids who have been supportive pledged their contributions to the packages we specifically called “Care Packages.”

Why “Care Packages”? Because we may not be there physically but at least, we are providing them some care and comfort through these products which are often unavailable or least of their concerns but essential to them. These packages include food packs, canned goods, snacks and ready to eat food, bottled water, milk, juice, biscuits, and other food donations.

Aside from these, cellphone loads were also given by PLDT SMART Group and Metro Pacific Corporation led by Manny Pangilinan and Eric Alberto donated two million worth of SMART load for our troops. Additionally, Jaime Zobel de Ayala and Globe will also provide 2.5 million assistance.

Go Negosyo Big Brothers such as Chris Po (Century Pacific Food Corporation), Robina Gokongwei-Pe (Universal Robina), Rey Go of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chamber, Kevin Tan (Megaworld), Mike Tan (Asia Brewery), Tessie Sy-Coson (SM Group), Baby Villamayor (Villa Margarita) and RFM Corporation donated food and beverage products.

Tennyson Chen of Bounty Fresh will be supplying the camps with kilos of chicken for 10 days and to partner that, Henry Lim Bon Liong donated sacks of Doña Maria rice. Now, the troops will have adequate food for the coming days.

Felix Ang of Auto Nation Group also pledged assistance to this initiative.

But aside from the usual requirement for food, our soldiers also needed personal care products such as shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, and soaps. Myla Villanueva donated soaps for our troops. Underwear, socks and towels were also lovingly provided by Patty Chilip, Tessie Coson, Indian Chamber led by Rex Daryanani and PCCI Ozamiz Chamber led by Elvie Tan.

We hope to give them vitamins and medicines as well and this has been supplied by The Generics Pharmacy.

Wilfred Gui committed water gallon stands as well while Siu Ping Par will be sending gas stoves and LPG canisters for the camps in Marawi.

But what is special about these care packages are the hand written notes we asked from our Go Negosyo network. These letters will contain words of prayers, encouragement, and hope. As they are personally written, we hope that these will at most strengthen the morale of our troops.

Gianna Montinola of Far Eastern University will ask their students to give messages. Myla Villanueva also tapped a museum for kids to provide letters. Zarah Juan started a campaign for support messages. The whole Kapatid movement is working on making their own contributions to this initiative.

We will never know the hardships they are facing in Marawi but through these simple gestures of care, we are at least giving them the support they need. In the ground zero, they are only with the enemies. They are not with their families. So hopefully, these care packages will give them the essentials.

Many have fallen and we are saddened by this. We are still unsure when will this fight end. But to our brave men, please know that you are all in our prayers.

For interested donors to the #GoNegosyoKapatidForMarawi, you may get in touch with the Go Negosyo team: For all letters or messages of support, you may coordinate it with Jarielle ‎Reyes (09189656333), for all items for donation, please coordinate it with Gelle Jimena (0917 312 7984 or 0999 887 9276), for cash donations, please call Sophia Ramos (09285523285) and for more information, please contact Ginggay Hontiveros (09175249957 or ‎09088980428).

Business Heroes Championing Homegrown Products

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

To commemorate the recently celebrated 119th Philippine Independence Day, here are some local businessmen who have elevated the Filipino brand through their ingenuity and patronization:

Kenneth Cobonpue, Patis Tesoro and Steve Benitez.

Kenneth Cobonpue, Patis Tesoro and Steve Benitez.

Kenneth Cobonpue

Kenneth Cobonpue is a multi-awarded Filipino industrial designer known for his unique designs integrating natural materials through innovative handmade production processes. He began his design career after his studies in Industrial Design in New York, which led him to trainings and further studies in Italy and Germany. After a series of further studies and trainings abroad, Kenneth moved back to Cebu in 1996 to help manage their family business founded by his mother in 1972. Upon managing the business, Kenneth discovered that by the use of natural fibers and materials as a medium, modern design could have a new face. With his masterful way of integrating nature, traditional craft and innovative technologies, designer and creative director Kenneth Cobonpue has earned international awards and recognition for his creative, organic, and expressive pieces. Kenneth has also worked closely with some of the world’s leading designers. Kenneth has been making a name for design in the Philippines and sharing his vision to a global audience. Various Cobonpue designs have also appeared in full-length feature films and television, such as Oceans 13 and CSI while his roster of clientele includes Hollywood celebrities and members of royalty. The whole furniture industry in the Philippines was just plain manufacturers, their products would go under different names and brands. What set his company apart from most of the furniture industry which relied on original equipment manufacturing was that he wanted to be recognized for his own designs. Kenneth Cobonpue was determined to prove to the world that Filipino products can compete with the best.

Patis Tesoro

Patis Tesoro is a woman with several characteristics all rolled into one. She is on the cutting edge of fashion and much more, yet successfully manages to remain a constant champion of the traditional. She is widely known for her flashy, exotic creations, and also a world traveler with a distinct style she calls “Bohemian Filipiniana”. She is also a cultural maven, entrepreneur, book publisher, restaurateur, plant and animal lover, fashion designer, and doll-maker. Though born to well-off parents and whose family is well known until today as the supplier of exquisite Filipino handicrafts, she has always loved to work with her hands — sketching, drawing, sewing or embroidering. She has been making clothes even as a young girl. The provenance of the materials she uses reflects the Philippines’ rich heritage or history. Patis Tesoro believes that “piña” is a cloth of stature and is iconic to the Philippines; losing it would mean losing our identity. With centuries of local traditions—hand embroidery, embellishment, textile processing, and weaving—Patis adeptly employs the fine work of artisans in her own creations. For her, Filipinos have to grow more piña to prevent traditions from going extinct and also to preserve this fragile part of Filipino heritage.

Steve Benitez

Steve Benitez’s love for coffee began during his time in law school with the late nights studying sessions that called for lots of caffeine-induced energy. When he realized that his true passion was actually coffee, he dropped out of law school and travelled to the United States to learn more about the industry. He brought back with him a deep passion for their coffee culture, but it’s his love for Filipino coffee which truly sets apart his chain of coffee shops. It wasn’t long until he started Bo’s Coffee, with just a single, small location. Bo’s Coffee is the Philippines’ first and largest homegrown specialty coffee chain. Bo’s Coffee sets itself apart by sourcing the best coffee and products from Philippine producers and supports local communities in the process. It focuses on supporting local coffee farmers—sourcing the best of Philippine Coffee from Sagada, Benguet, Mt. Kitanglad, Mt. Matutum, and Mt. Apo—and elevating the quality of Philippine coffee. Bo’s also offers a selection of food and beverages made by entrepreneurs who share Bo’s values, all in a setting of locally crafted furniture and decor. Despite the initial struggles and the growing number of international competitors, he created a business that is locally rooted and internationally competitive. Today, there are a total of 81 Bo’s Coffee Club outlets.

Olivia Limpe-Aw, Justin Uy and Reese Fernandez-Ruiz.

Olivia Limpe-Aw, Justin Uy and Reese Fernandez-Ruiz.

Olivia Limpe-Aw

Olivia Limpe-Aw is a fifth-generation leader of the Philippines’ oldest distillery, Destileria Limtuaco and Co.. At present, she is the President and Chair of the company. She is responsible for the company’s new and innovative products such as the Paradise Mango Rum Liqueur, Amadeo Liquer and Manille Liqueur de Calamansi. Limpe-Aw and her company sources and highlights indigenous agricultural products for her business. For, Paradise Mango Rum, the drink which makes use of the Philippines delicious mangoes has been named as the official drink of Boracay and Palawan. Under her leadership, the brand has won many international and local awards. Amadeo Liquer is a coffee-based liqueur and is named after the Philippine’s coffee capital in Cavite. Manille Liqueur de Calamansi is popular with foreigners who liken it to the limoncello of Italy. Her products are now star exports in Asia and distributed in California and New York. Other products include: Very Old Captain’s Dark Rum, Maria Clara Sangria, Manille Liquer de Dalandan, Intramuros Liqueur de Cacao, San Juan Premium Lambanog, Vigan Basi Sugarcane Wine and Imeldifique Cooking Wine.

Justin Uy

Justin Uy is the founder of ProFood International Corporation, a leading supplier of Filipino snacks, specifically dried mangos. Today, dried mangos are a bastion for Filipino snacks all over the world. When Justin Uy and his family started their business in the 1970s, they were hoping to address the amount of wasted ripe mangoes in Cebu. Thus, they entered the dried mango business which eventually brought value to mangoes when farmers never really saw much value in them before. To compete with other local producers of like them, they exported their products to countries near the Philippines such as Hong Kong. Upon the success of Hong Kong, they eventually entered into other global markets like the United States. With only one brand name, Justin was able to build a brand that made Philippine mangoes the best mangoes in the world. He championed the “Philippine brand” by marketing dried mangoes abroad as coming from Filipino mangoes. Their other products today include mango puree, canned juices, juice pouches, fruit preserves and concentrates. Justin Uy has also established the Mango Museum to help promote Philippine mangoes as the best in the world.

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz

Reese Fernandez-Ruiz started Rags2Riches with colleagues from Ateneo in hopes of  empowering women in impoverished communities. Rags2Riches turns scraps of cloth into high-end fashion accessories. Today, Rags2Riches is now an internationally renowned fashion and design brand that employs women from poor communities and has more than a 100 artisans who are vertically integrated into R2R’s supply-chain. Her enterprise answers many social problems in the country such as low employment and quality of life for women in poor communities and is eco-friendly. She is truly remarkable and innovative because she has employed great design to uplift humble materials into high-end products. With the success of Rags2Riches, she became part of the Forbes’ 30 under 30 social entrepreneurs list.

Harvesting Hope in Sulu

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

With the on-going security threat in Mindanao which led to the declaration of Martial Law in the area, some might feel that there is no hope that is happening in Mindanao. Let me share with you a good news from the province of Sulu, also one of the war torn places in Mindanao

Recently, our team led by Ginggay Hontiveros travelled to Sulu once again to witness the first graduation of the farmers in SM Foundation and Harbest Corporation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Program. More than 300 Tausug farmers graduated from the 3 month-long agri mentoring program. For the past weeks, they are trained to grow fruits and vegetables the natural way. They were able to grow plenty and healthy fruits and vegetables such as watermelons, honeydew, eggplants, ampalaya, lettuce, and many more.

This would have not been possible without the support of our big kapatids from SM Foundation led by Tessie Sy-Coson and Cristie Angeles and Harbest Corporations Toto Barcelona and trainor Conrad Calderon. We appreciate the support of the Sulu provincial government led by Governor Totoh Tan and Shah Badar Sakur Tan, and Department of Agriculture’s Mercyan Aspi and their respective teams.

Now, these farmers will be led to a fruitful and bountiful life because of KSK and the support of the Big Kapatids who want to give prosperity to the province.

Proud farmers with their bountiful harvest.

Proud farmers with their bountiful harvest.

Honeydew were grown in Sulu during the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan program (left). Farmer graduates brought their fruits and vegetables during the graduation ceremony (right).

Honeydew were grown in Sulu during the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan program (left). Farmer graduates brought their fruits and vegetables during the graduation ceremony (right).

More than 300 farmers graduated from the 3-month long agriculture training program.

More than 300 farmers graduated from the 3-month long agriculture training program.

Farmers were trained how to grow vegetables like ampalaya naturally.

Farmers were trained how to grow vegetables like ampalaya naturally.

Partner sa Negosyo, Partner sa Buhay

Friday, June 9th, 2017

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On June 7, 2017, Go Negosyo sa Radyo (GNSR) hosts Sen. Bam Aquino & DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla were joined by Voltaire and Cholly Magpayo and Yok and Angie Calungcaguin – two couples that not only make a great couple but great business partners as well.

Yok and Angie Calungcaguin have been married for 7 years. Their story started when they met while working at a restaurant. Since they’ve been exposed to working in a business environment, both wanted to start their own business as well. Yok and Angie first opened up a catering business in 2009.  With their success in the catering business, they thought it was time to give back.  Yok and Angie wanted to become social entrepreneurs for them to share their blessings with others.

In 2014, they opened Make Peace Cookies. Yok and Angie would give the funds they made from Make Peace cookies to orphanages.  More than falling in love with each other, Yok and Angie fell in love with crafting and baking. This drove Yok and Angie to expand their Make Peace Cookies into a bakery. Angie has always liked baking and she wanted to hone her skills by attending seminars. In 2015, Yok and Angie attended The Social Business Summit at Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm. They decided to embark on their journey and set-up their enterprise, The Make Peace Bakery in 2016. Yok and Angie’s main advocacy is to help former out of school youths. “We want to share our skills and what we learned para maging negosyante din sila sa tamang panahon, gusto naming gumawa ng impact sa buhay ng mga tao” they said. Yok and Angie’s priority is to help those in need before earning for themselves. At present, they have already trained 12 youth members.

Sen. Bam Auino, Angie and Yok Calungcaguin and DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla.

Sen. Bam Auino, Angie and Yok Calungcaguin and DJ Cheska San Diego-Bobadilla.

The second couple interviewed are the owners of Sweet Corner, Voltaire and Cholly Magpayo. Voltaire was in the agricultural business when he met Cholly who just graduated. As they were starting a family, they realized they needed a fast business. They first started with 3 branches of a franchise but decided to start their own business after 6 years when they’ve already learned the ropes of business. Voltaire and Cholly first thought of the most basic and staple food next to rice — corn. Soon enough, they were able to establish connections. They wanted to get direct suppliers for their business because not only is it cheaper but also it would help the Philippine farmers in need of an alternative market. Why snacks and not a restaurant? “Its easier to manage, we want to start small but think big. Damihan ang stalls.” Voltaire answered. With the success of the corn business, they also opened a Takoyaki stall. Sweet Corn now has over 100 branches in the Philippines and 2 in Melbourne.

Voltaire and Cholly Magpayo.

Voltaire and Cholly Magpayo.

“What are the challenges being in business with your spouse?” DJ Cheska asked. “Nagtatalo is normal but we meet halfway with both of our ideas” Yok said. “The biggest challenge is how to sync our minds and hearts into something since we came from 2 different regions.” Both couples said that they have different set of skills and responsibilities but its important to fill the needs of each other. “Each of us have our own roles, we help each other fill each other’s needs. We teach each other.” Voltaire said.

Their advice to couples who want to start a business together? “Trust is important and a good foundation especially in business. Kailangan may tiwala sa isat isa, and wag kakalimutan ang pag ibig na meron sa isat isa na bumuo sa business din. Also, never fight about money and always make sure to keep a balance between business, love, and family.” Yok and Angie said.  “The couple should have a fixed and shared income. There should be transparency. You cannot do it alone, fill each others’ weaknesses and strengths. Kailangan magbigayan. Give and take. Tiwala sa isa’t isa. Find enjoyment in what we’re doing. Napapaaral ko mga anak ko, nakakatulong sa ibang tao, ang sarap sa pakiramdam.” Voltaire shared.

The future seems big and bright for Make Peace Bakery and Sweet Corn with their plans to expand further. Make Peace Bakery’s goal is to go to provinces to look for a market to open more Make Peace Bakeries. Sweet Corn on the other hand plans to put up a bakery in a mall ‘pang masa’. Truly these 2 couples are not only successful entrepreneurs but also have a heart to help those in need.