Archive for the ‘Featured Entrepreneur’ Category

Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Across the Years (Part 3)

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Now on its final installment, our Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Across the Years feature culminates with previous awardees who have shaped industries such as media, publications, retail and fashion. We’ve also included the women who have revolutionized long-standing corporations from the inside as lauded intrapreneurs. This Thursday, on March 30, 2017, Go Negosyo will be awarding a new set of women entrepreneurs as the Inspiring Filipina Awardees of 2017. As the much awaited awarding draws near, so does the end of the nationwide celebration of Women’s Month. As we continue on this 2017, let us not forget about the ever growing number of Filipina Entrepreneurs gaining recognition for their ability to be catalysts for change and leaders of true progress in our country.


Maria Ressa – Rappler
Maria Ressa SQMaria Ressa was awarded in 2014 by Go Negosyo as a Filipina Starpreneur for her work as the CEO and Founder of Rappler. Ressa is among the most fearless and decorated journalists of Asia. She spent decades of her life in investigative journalism, concentrating mostly in exposing terrorist groups and networks across the Asian region. In her 20s, she set up a a group called Probe Productions which aimed to introduce television broadcasting to television. She then went on to become a well-decorated journalist with CNN. From a journalist, she became a director of the Southeast Asian operations of the global news group. Today, she has taken her vast experience in journalism and continues to evolve the landscape of journalism and media.

Sari Yap – MEGA Publishing Group
Sari Yap SQ
In 2012, Sari Yap was awarded as the STARpreneur in the field of Publishing for her work as CEO and Founder of One MEGA Publishing Group. Working in the world of fashion and publications was admittedly a rough journey for Yap. As the first nationwide fashion magazine in the country, Yap had to battle a lot of criticisms and doubts from investors and other naysayers. Her company has survived two financial crises, and today runs 10 magazines that focus on lifestyle, travel and of course, fashion. Yap has proven herself as a trailblazer in the local fashion publication industry and serves as an inspiration to many who choose to follow her path.

Marixi Rufino-Prieto – Philippine Daily Inquirer
Marixi Prieto SQ
As the Chair of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI), Marixi Prieto was awarded as early as 2010 for her expansive work in publications during the Most Inspiring Women Awards hosted by Go Negosyo. Aside from PDI, Prieto is also the Director of several businesses such as Cebu Daily News, Hinge Inquirer Publication Inc., Inquirer Interactive Inc., Inquirer Publications Inc., Printown Group, Sunvar Inc., Investment and Marketing Association, Ionian Industrial Property Inc., Corinthian Industrial Property, Inc., HMR Enterprises, Inc., Lexmedia Realty, Inc., Var Buildings, Inc., Parkside Realty Development Corporation, Golden Pizza Inc., Golden Donuts Inc., International Family Foods Services, Inc., Mix-plant Inc., LRP Inc., Pinnacle Printers Corporation, Inquirer Holdings, Inc., Mediacom Equities, Inc., Matrix Resources Portfolio Holdings, Inc., and Excel Pacific Equities, Inc.



Natividad “Naty” Cheng – Uratex
Naty Cheng SQNaty Cheng was awarded in 2014 as one of the Medium/Large STARpreneurs by Go Negosyo. As the co-founder and CEO of Uratex, many know of her inspiring story as a factory worker with cum business owner who pioneered the first foam factory in the country. Her husband and her started the business with a capital of 4,000 pesos and today, Uratex continues on as a multi-million peso business that has expanded its products from beds/foams, to adhesives, containers and plastic furnitures and now sells to countries all over Asia, the Netherlands and Australia.

Zenaida “Nedy” Tantoco – Rustan’s Commercial Corp.

Zenaida Tantoco SQNedy Tantoco is the current Chair and CEO of Rustan Commercial Corp., the long-standing and most prominent high-end retail company in the country. Under the Tantoco’s, Rustan’s has outlasted many other department stores of the same concept—leading the Tantocos to be known as the first family of the luxury industry in our country. Today, Nedy continues to lead Rustan’s to greater heights as they diversified from home and fashion to food with Rustan’s Supermarkets. Nedy was awarded in 2011 by Go Negosyo as a STARpreneurs in the large category.


Marife Zamora – Convergys Philippines 
Marife Zamora SQMarife Zamora was awarded as a STARpreneur by Go Negosyo in 2012 and was later on awarded as one of the Most 100 Influential Filipina Women in the World in 2013. Zamora’s numerous accolades is due to her pioneering success in the corporate world as the Convergys Managing Director for Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East, and Africa, the company’s largest region. In the business process outsourcing industy, men dominate the leadership positions and Zamora is the only Filipina in the world who has reached the C-Suite level. Under her leadership, Convergys has become the number 1 employer in the Philippines in just a little over a decade.

Rizalina Mantaring – Sun Life Financial Philippines
Riza Mantaring SQRizalina Mantaring is the current Country Head of Sun Life Financial Philippines. Under her leadership, the Philippine operation has implemented numerous industry firsts and innovations for which Sun Life is known, helping Sun Life become the number one insurance company in the country. With her background in IT, Mantaring was able to transfer the Philippines into the IT hub of the global Sun Life Financial Group in only five years. Before her ascent to leadership in Sun Life, the company had difficulty acquiring the number one spot in the country. Today, they’ve held on to the number on spot for 5 consecutive years. Mantaring was awarded by Go Negosyo in 2015 during the FIlipina summit for her often praised work and innovation in the Insurance industry.

Maria Fe Agudo – Hyundai Asia Resources Inc.
Fe Agudo SQAs the President of Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI) Agudo received the 2011 Ernst & Young Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award. She was awarder due to her work with HARI not only in building the Hyundai brand in the Philippines as a formidable player in the auto industry, but also as an innovator in nation building through HARI’s engagement with government and private partners in sustainable community building projects such as the Hyundai Center for Green Innovation located in the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm in Bulacan; Hyundai Embraces Lanao Partnership for Education program in partnership with Synergeia Foundation; and St. Scholastica Mission Hospital in Catarman, Northern Samar.

She is also the current President and co-founder of the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (AVID) and a 2013 Go Negosyo Women Icons of Entrepreneurship Awardee.

READ: Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Across the Years Part 1 | Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Across the Years Part 2

Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Across the Years (Part 2)

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

In the first half of the Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Across the Years feature, we focused on the legacies and social innovators in order to encourage our readers to dream big and have hearts of compassion. For the second part of this feature we wish to capture your imagination and minds with these group of educators, beauty and wellness proponents and food entrepreneurs who have been constant inspirations in the entrepreneurial journeys of women from all over the country. On March 30, 2017 Go Negosyo will be announcing a new set of women entrepreneurs as the Inspiring Filipina Awardees of 2017. We can’t wait for what stories will unfold then but for now, we hope this list will quell your thirst for inspiration and motivation:


Helena Benitez – Philippine Women’s University
Helena BenitezThe late Helena Benitez was a champion of women’s education as a veteran educator, former senator and administrator of the Philippines Women’s University. As a senator, she authored several laws advocating the advancement of education and women’s right. She has received many accolades and awards, amongst them are the 2007 Manila Awardee, 2009 Woman Awardee, and the 2013 Womenpreneur Icon from Go Negosyo. She lived to be one 102, and her legacy carries on through PWU and the numerous lives she has touched. Her former residence has also been turned into a heritage home found in San Juan.

Preciosa Soliven – O.B. Montessori
Preciosa Soliven
In 1966, Dr. Preciosa Soliven opened the first OB Montessori school in the Philippines. OB Montessori has become the country’s premier co-educational institution that nurtures the inner teacher of the child and develops them holistically through its Prepared Environment and specially trained teachers. Through the innovative programs in entrepreneurship, agriculture, performing arts and leadership training, the school has reconditioned Filipino children to become “citizens of the world”. Today, the school has several campuses in Metro Manila, a 16-hectare farm in Alfonso, Cavite; several ecumenical shrines; a 30-year old Child and Community Foundation and a new school of Culinary Arts – Istituto Culinario. Go Negosyo Awarded Dr. Preciosa Soliven for her innovative and modern approach to education during the Filipina Summit in 2013.

Mary Joy Abaquin – Multiple Intelligence
Joy Abaquin
Mary Joy Abaquin was awarded by Go Negosyo in 2014 as a Filipina Starpreneur for establishing the Multiple Intelligence School (M.I.S.). Abaquin’s involvement with Go Negosyo dates back to when she wrote the successful book “8 Simple Secrets to Raising Entrepreneurs” published in 2010. The Founding Directress of M.I.S. is a pioneering educator and advocate for innovative practice and reform in the education sector. Her school’s tagline “Where Every Child is Smart” is widely celebrated for being the first educational institution in the county that has integrated Entrepreneurship in the Basic Education and High Schoo Programs. Today, the school is receiving continuous praise for introducing kids to entrepreneurship at an early age and recognizing the different kinds of intelligence a child can possess.


Dra. Vicky Bello – Belo Medical Group

Vicky BeloDra. Vicky Belo is a household name to most Filipinos. Known as the doctor of the stars, she was awarded by Go Negosyo as a 2011 Starpreneur under the Large Enterprise category. She obtained her M.D. locally before training and receiving further qualifications in Thailand and the U.S. She is a speaker and guest lecturer for several institutions locally and abroad. Her success as an entrepreneur started out as a chain of clinics the became known for being the go-to places for cosmetic surgery for celebrities, and has now grown to become a retail powerhouse with Belo Cosmetics reaching drugstore and supermarket shelves nationwide.

Cathy Turvil – Nurture Wellness Spa

Cathy TurvillFounder of Nurture Wellness Spa Tagaytay; leader in the wellness spa industry; founded the first internationally accredited spa school in the Philippines; Founding President of Spa Association of the Philippines. Over the last 12 years, Nurture Wellness Village has continued to evolve and expand. Ms. Turvill’s spa began to incorporate additional wellness aspects such as improved nutrition. She introduced her clients to healthier foods from Nurture Wellness Village’s own organic garden offering delicious meals that are prepared on site with all fresh ingredients. One of the spa’s most recent innovations is The Workwell Project. This project is a corporate wellness program that encourages employers to invest in the health of employees by offering the services of the Nurture Wellness Village. Turvil was awarded by Go Negosyo as a Filipina Starpreneur in 2014.

Dr. Rosalinda Ang-Hortaleza – HBC
Rosalinda HortalezaDr. Rosalinda Ang-Hortaleza is the chief executive behind the beauty and cosmetics brand, HBC. What started out as six stores of Hortaleza Viciador, which Dr. Rosalinda inherited with her husband, has now expanded to more than 200 branches nationwide thanks to the smart rebranding and renaming of the business to HBC. Dr. Rosalinda strongly believes in the right of every woman to feel beautiful. This is the reason why the brand offers a wide range of beauty and cosmetic products and impressively reasonable prices—gaining a big following of loyal customers. In 2011, Go Negosyo awarded Dr. Rosalinda as Starpreneur for her enterprising and spirit for doing business inclusively—prioritizing the mass market to provide accessible beauty products for all.


Corazon D. Ong – CDO Foodsphere, Inc.
CDOCorazon D. Ong was awarded in 2013 as a Trustee as the Founder of food processing giant CDO Foodsphere, Inc. Ong has been lauded for her ability to keep the company afloat despite several waves of crises hitting the industry and the country. The diverse line-up of meat products offered by CDO decorate the aisles of grocery stores and are a staple in any Filipino’s pantry. What started out as a venture into helping augment her own family’s income has now become a food enterprise that is largely admired by the entrepreneurial community.

Abba Napa – The Moment Group of Restaurants
Abba Napa
Abba Napa was amongst the Filipina entrepreneurs awarded by Go Negosyo during the Filipina Entrepreneur Summit last 2016. Napa’s story was also featured that same year in Go Negosyo’s 55 Inspiring Stories of Women Entrepreneurs. Her business venture, The Moment Group, is responsible for some of the metro’s hottest restaurants and bars. Customer favorites like 8cuts, Ooma and Din Tai Fung are just some of the restaurant offerings under Napa’s group’s belt. The group looks forward to bringing more restaurants to delight Filipino foodies in the future and taking their business to greater heights.

Lydia De Roca – Lydia’s Lechon
Lydia de Roca
Lydia De Roca’s name is synonymous to the famed Filipino fiesta staple of lechon.  For over 50 years now, Lydia’s Lechon has provided the iconic roasted dish to parties and gatherings nationwide. Equally impressive to the growth of her business is the underdog story behind it. Lydia’s Lechon started out as a simple bangketa stall in the 1960’s. But because of her hard work, perseverance, and of course, tasteful renditions of menu items featuring lechon, Lydia’s Lechon now sits amongst the most successful local food enterprises in the country. In 2011, she was awarded by Go Negosyo as Starpreneur for her success in taking a well-loved Filipino dish and turning it into a thriving business.

Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneurs Across the Years (Part 1)

Monday, February 27th, 2017

We honor the Filipinas who have been constant inspirations in the entrepreneurial journeys of women from all walks life in our country. This coming March, Go Negosyo will hail a new set of women entrepreneurs as the Inspiring Filipina Awardees of 2017. This is done yearly aligned with the National Women’s Month and the International Women’s Day. As we honor a new batch of women for fiercely conquering the entrepreneurial world with their own brand of strength and bravery, let us remember those who have inspired us in the past:


Soccoro Ramos — National Bookstore (Retail)

Socorro Ramos of National Bookstore receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship in the field of Education during the 7th Go Negosyo Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit (March 2015).

Socorro Ramos of National Bookstore receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship in the field of Education during the 7th Go Negosyo Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit (March 2015).

Soccoro Ramos, fondly called Nanay Coring, is considered an institution within the Philippine entrepreneurial community. She was featured in the original Joey Concepcion’s 50 Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories and one of the first to be awarded as an Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur by Go Negosyo back in 2009. As one of the first who supported our advocacy of spreading the spirit of entrepreneurship, we recognize her role in inspiring a whole new generation of aspiring entrepreneurs through her story of perseverance and hardwork.

Today, Nanay Coring’s story of rebuilding her business three times still touches many hearts. When a lot of factors in the entrepreneurial landscape have already changed, such as technology, venture capitalists, start-up incubators, and mentoring programs, Nanay Coring has been a testament to the timeless adagé that hard work and perseverance still pays off.

Rosalind Wee – Marine Resources Development Corporation (Agribusiness)

Rosalind Wee

Rosalind Wee

 Rosalind Wee was awarded as an Inspiring Filipina Entrepreneur in 2010 due to her pioneering venture into the agri-food business sector. Wee founded Marine Resources Development Corporation – the country’s biggest producer of carrageenan (seaweed powder), which is used for food stabilizers and emulsifiers. Known for her efforts in various social causes, she is a member of the board of governors of the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), treasurer for the PRC-Quezon City chapter, President of the Philippine Federation of Local Councils of Women, President of the Pearl S. Buck Foundation Philippine and is the Third Filipino woman to have received the Pearl S. Buck International Woman of the Year Award.

Myrna Yao – Richprime Global (Retail)

Myrna YaoMyrna Yao was amongst the inspiring Filipinas awarded in 2011, and has since become a force to be reckoned with in the entrepreneurial community. She is the current President of Richprime Global Inc. which concerns itself with children’s products such as toys, shoes, apparel, baby products, juvenile, clothes and accessories. Her company is the exclusive Distributor of Mattel Toys, Fisher Price, Video Technology Inc., Safety First, Shelcore, Pigeon Baby Products, Cosco, Goodyear Tires and Shoes (5 Brands) in the Philippines and is a licensing agent for Barbie & Garfield, Hotwheels & Carebears.

Yao is the founding president of the Filipino-Chinese Federation of Business and Professional Women of the Philippines and the founding chairperson of Philippine Federation of Local Councils of Women (PFLCW). These are among the biggest non-government organization in the country.  Recently, she has been lauded for her efforts to empower more women as entrepreneurs through the direct selling of Grace Aloe Vera Organic Skin Care from Australia.

Esther Vibal – Vibal Publishing (Education)

Esther Vibal receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship in the field of Education during the 7th Go Negosyo Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit on March 2015.

Esther Vibal receives Lifetime Achievement Award for Entrepreneurship in the field of Education during the 7th Go Negosyo Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit on March 2015.

Esther Vibal was awarded by Go Negosyo with a Lifetime Achievement Award for her exceptional leadership for many decades in Vibal Publishing House Inc., the country’s leading and most reputable publisher of textbooks and other educational materials. Vibal Publishing is instrumental to the education of Filipinos everywhere, with their textbooks being distributed in thousands of schools nationwide. With her experience and passion in writing, Esther Vibal steered the company to greater heights and has conquered the publishing industry. As the head of Vibal Group, Mrs. Vibal continues to lead the company towards innovation and change with the development of technology.


Girlie Lorenzo – Kythe (Social Entrepreneur)

Girlie Lorenzo of Kythe.

Girlie Lorenzo of Kythe.

Girlie Lorenzo is an Inspiring Filipina Awardee who was also featured as one of the 55 Inspiring Women in Go Negosyo’s latest publication. Her foundation Kythe celebrates its 25th year of bringing hope and service to the lives of many children. Providing the much needed psycho-social support for children with chronic illnesses, Girlie imparts that Kythe will always be about spreading the message of love. She wants others people to know that the best way to get involved with Kythe is to volunteer and meet the kids themselves. She is truly proud that throughout the years, Kythe has continuously transformed lives— not just of the children but of her volunteers as well.

Nanette Po – Friends of Hope (Social Entrepreneur)

Nanette Medved-Po of Friends of Hope. Photo courtesy of

Nanette Medved-Po of Friends of Hope. Photo courtesy of

Nanette Po is an Inspiring Filipina Awardee whose social enterprise has built classrooms through its efforts of selling Hope in A Bottle. Before founding Friends of Hope, Nanette was more popularly know as the star of Darna. Today, she acts as a real life hero through building a brand centered on hope getting respect and backing of the entrepreneurial community who also continue to rally behind her cause of making education more accessible to all.

PCE Annual Partners

Conquer 2017 with 5 Key Lessons taken from PH’s Youngest Billionaire

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017
Edgar “Injap” Sia II is among Forbes’ 40 Richest in the Philippines and the youngest billionaire on the list. Due to his prominence and widely lauded underdog story, Injap’s meteoric rise in the Philippine business landscape is nothing short of inspirational.

Edgar “Injap” Sia II is among Forbes’ 40 Richest in the Philippines and the youngest billionaire on the list. Due to his prominence and widely lauded underdog story, Injap’s meteoric rise in the Philippine business landscape is nothing short of inspirational.

In 2011, Go Negosyo featured Injap Sia in its annual publication entitled 50 Inspiring Young Entrepreneurs, where he shared his story of taking the fast food industry by storm with Mang Inasal. Since then, Injap has sold shares of Mang Inasal to The Jollibee Group for $3 billion, became the youngest Filipino billionaire, and is currently at the helm of rapidly expanding Double Dragon Properties.

In the December 2016 issue of the local Forbes magazine, Injap was hailed as Businessman of the Year, a title usually awarded to industry leaders, who are, on average, almost double his age. In his feature, his central message was for entrepreneurs to look for “windows of opportunity” – inciting that the gaps or shifts in industries are where big and sustainable business ideas can come from.

With Mang Inasal, Injap addressed the gap in the fast food industry that no one saw: grilled chicken which is a Filipino comfort food staple. Today, his latest venture into land banking & properties addresses the shift in provinces from traditional to modern retail through City Mall. Looking forward, Injap is seizing even more windows of opportunity, already setting his sights and investing in what he sees as an eventual spike in our country’s tourism industry.

Injap’s rapid rise to success has led him to be hailed as a rockstar entrepreneur. With his distinct vision and brand of confidence, we can only see Injap’s foothold amongst the richest and most powerful in the country to become solidified. Here are 5 key lessons you can take away from the the Philippines’ Youngest Billionaire to bring your business to the next level this 2017:

Double Dragon Properties Inc. Chairman and CEO Edgar “Injap” Sia happily received his Bossing award for his fast expansion into the world of real estate.

Double Dragon Properties Inc. Chairman and CEO Edgar “Injap” Sia happily received his Bossing award for his fast expansion into the world of real estate.

1) Take calculated risks
What has largely contributed to Injap’s success is his ability to take calculated risks when it comes to business. Most people know that Injap dropped out of college to pursue business. However, this decision wasn’t on an impulse – it was a calculated risk which led to him pursuing a business venture full-time. That venture is what we know today as the unstoppable fast food chain Mang Inasal.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Assess what risks you can take to jumpstart your business this year. For aspiring entrepreneurs, start putting that business idea into motion. For established entrepreneurs, think of what you can do differently this year to distinguish yourself from competition (e.g. expanding, investing, marketing, etc.).

2) Confidence in your vision
Injap’s ability to communicate his vision to others largely contributes to the success of his ventures. In the beginning, he was considered as relatively young to be a successful business owner. However, he was able to change this perception due to his brimming and unfaltering confidence in his vision and what he has to offer. Today, he is able to rub elbows with business leaders and even establish partnerships with them, having earned their trust and confidence.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Establish a vision for your business. Ask yourselves (include your team if you have one) where do you want your business to be in five years? From there, map out steps for your business to reach that vision. When you can imagine how you can reach your vision through planning, you plant the seeds for confidence in it.

3) Stay humble and persistent
Although he is already amongst the country’s richest, Injap continues to be as hardworking as ever. He believes that money and success can only make you happy until a certain point and that in business, there is always room for improvement.

Banking on the second lesson, confidence is one thing, but remaining humble and persistent is also integral for your vision. At the onset of Mang Inasal, Injap encountered difficulties securing deals with suppliers due to his young age and lack of experience. However, this didn’t faze him and he pursued suppliers from local markets and cooperatives. This proved to be a winning move because it not only secured the operations of an expanding Mang Inasal but also helped generate business for smaller and local enterprises.

If Injap let initial rejections bruise his ego, Mang Inasal and Double Dragon probably wouldn’t be what they are today.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: When encountering different people in your business, have an open mind and heart. Business will always bring difficulties, so having the right mindset can make all the difference. Try being solution-oriented; think of problems as a challenge to become better and they will cease to be as scary.

4) Think big, think long-term, think original
Injap is a firm believer of only pursuing businesses which can be scaled up nationwide. He says that pursuing trendy concepts is never sustainable. When you’re thinking big and long-term, you should think original or innovative as well.

Injap has entered two industries which have been dominated by key groups for decades now. The reason why Injap has been able to penetrate and even dominate these markets is he was always thinking big (can this be scaled up?), long-term (is this business sustainable?), and original (is this market already saturated? can I still compete with established leaders in the industry?)

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Assess! Assess! Assess! Are you thinking big enough? Are you thinking long-term? Are you exploring novel concepts? Are you innovating?

5) Surround yourself with the best
Lastly, Injap’s success can largely be attributed to the people he chooses to surround himself with. When he was starting Mang Inasal, Injap had the wisdom to seek the advice and help of people who were more knowledgeable to the nuances of business. In the case of Double Dragon, he partnered with Jollibee Group’s Tony Tan Caktiong because he knew that his venture into properties has more chance of succeeding with Caktiong’s clout and experience in the business world. He has also gained the trust of business tycoon Carlos Chan of Liwayway Marketing Corp., becoming partners in establishing Jinjiang Inn in the country.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Actively look for people who are more experienced and are better than you. Mentorship is an invaluable resource in the world of business. If you’re looking for a program which can connect you to mentors, sign-up for the Mentor Me program in a Negosyo Center in your area. (Check this link for the complete list of Negosyo Centers nationwide: (

Dennis Coffee Garden: A Balikbayan Uplifts Sulu Culture Through Coffee

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Imelda Dagus had a high-paying job in Oman. She had financial security, a good career, and an ideal family. After 25 years of being an OFW, she has finally found her comfort zone. But she risked it all to go back home to the Philippines and start a business.

After 25 years of being an OFW, Imelda Dagus has finally found her comfort zone. She risked it all to go back home to the Philippines and start a business.

Imelda Dagus started working overseas right after college as a flight attendant. She has worked and lived abroad for 25 years – more than half her life, far away from her home in Jolo, Sulu.

Her dream of being an entrepreneur started when she read the book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. She was so inspired that she went on to read many other entrepreneurship books and attend business seminars, some of which are organized by Go Negosyo.

“I was so inspired and eager to learn that I even followed Go Negosyo when they went to Bahrain,” she shared.

From what she learned, Imelda said that an entrepreneur becomes one due to the following reasons: Crisis, Chance or Choice. For her, it was a choice. While she had lived a comfortable life overseas, she figured that she couldn’t be an employee and stay within her comfort zone forever. Eventually, she and her husband would have to come home. She asked herself, “What will happen then?” She realized that at some point, she had to take control of her own destiny.

More than her personal reasons, Imelda found it necessary to preserve and scale up an old town cafe, which was established by her grandmother in 1962 in the town of Jolo, Sulu. Imelda finds her passion in this project not only because it is about preserving a legacy handed down to the third generation but also about upholding an age-old coffee culture worth sharing with the rest of the world. Imelda says “it’s not just about coffee, it’s also about culture and legacy”.

Imelda Dagus (3rd from left) joined Go Negosyo as one of the panelists during the 6th OFW Summit (November 2016).

Imelda Dagus (3rd from left) joined Go Negosyo as one of the panelists during the 6th OFW Summit (November 2016).

Dennis Coffee Garden
Dennis Coffee Shop was first established in Jolo, Sulu in 1962. The coffee shop, initially called Omar’s Place was among the industry pioneers, and was managed by the family matriarch, Ubbaisa Ahalul.  Though without a formal education, it was through her inherent entrepreneurial skills and own brand of business management that the coffee shop grew into the enterprise that it is today.

Imelda spearheaded the project of expanding and taking the business to the next level.  She had put together a plan to bring Sulu’s Dennis Coffee to Zamboanga City and this time, as the more upscale Dennis Coffee Garden (DCG).  “We want to create something of value, which our community can be proud of.”

DCG is the first of its kind in Zamboanga, it aims to offer not only quality coffee and native delicacies, but also ambiance and space.  Aside from a garden and alfresco dining area, there are also function rooms and other facilities for meetings/gatherings that cater to families, social groups and customers from nearby offices, colleges and commercial establishments. Additionally, it is located near the airport to provide travellers the perfect waiting lounge or a place to dine, meet and relax as soon as they arrive in Zamboanga.

Dennis Coffee Garden is truly a depiction of value creation as it promotes cultural heritage, inclusive growth and community development.

An Inspiration to OFWs
Most OFWs are afraid to leave their jobs abroad because of the risk of not finding the same opportunities in the Philippines. In her interview with ABS-CBN News, Imelda said that “OFWs in particular should think of building a business back home instead of coming back and looking for another job, because you will definitely not get the kind of income that you earned overseas back in the Philippines.”

Aside from entrepreneurship, Imelda is also determined about inspiring other OFWs to invest in a business in their home country. She believes that building a business will not only empower them, but also help the country by giving people jobs.

Ms. Imelda Dagus is the epitome of a strong businesswoman. Not only does she provide employment for the local people of Mindanao, she also preserves the culture of her family and the place where she grew up while doing well for herself. If she can make it, why can’t you?

Macho Mucho: The Balance Between a Unique Vision and Exemplary Execution

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Two is definitely better than one in the case of the award-winning barbershop Macho Mucho by siblings Ralph and Kaye Layco. Go Negosyo crossed paths with these two at last year’s Youth Entrepreneurship Development Workshop (YEDW), a project in partnership with the U.S. Embassy, wherein Kaye ultimately took home one of the top prizes. Today, their verging enterprise is taking the men’s grooming services and products by storm – filling up a market that few entrepreneurs have successfully garnered or even considered.

The vision behind Macho Mucho was Ralph’s initial problem with finding the ideal and affordable barbershop for men like him. This frustration turned into the inception of Macho Mucho – a hybrid barbershop that combines the masculine and detailed stylings of high-end barbershops and the service & pampering that salons offer, all at an affordable price.

Packed with this vision and the marketing experience, there was only one thing that stopped Ralph from making Macho Mucho a success: the operational know-how. This problem pervaded in his other initial business ventures as well. He shares that it led him to an existential crisis, “I asked – why were my businesses failing?”

Siblings Ralph and Kaye Layco. Photo courtesy of Entrepreneur.

Siblings Ralph and Kaye Layco. Photo courtesy of Entrepreneur.

Enter in his younger sister, Kaye – an industrial engineer and natural problem-solver. She never saw herself owning a business but a slip of fate and extra cash led her into the world of entrepreneurship – becoming the essential piece missing in Macho Mucho’s success.
With Ralph’s marketing prowess and Kaye’s knack for operations, the pair decided to team up and formed what would eventually become SAM Asia, Inc.

With Ralph in charge of marketing and Kaye at the head of operations, the two proved to be an unstoppable duo. The siblings’ respective strengths were brought to a new level upon collaboration – leading them to commercial success first in General Santos and then in Davao.

However, the two believe it was their involvement with Go Negosyo that served as their launch pad to greater success. It doesn’t happen all that often wherein a brand from the provinces is able to successfully enter the very competitive Manila market. But armed with a unique vision matched with exemplary execution, Macho Mucho has proven itself to be a force to be reckoned with especially when they joined YEDW.

“Go Negosyo took away a lot of our doubts – it made us feel that we are capable. We had a probinsyano complex before – we thought our reach was only in Mindanao. It was during YEDW when we talked with the mentors and our peers that we realized we could make it in Manila,” Kaye shared.

Today, Macho Mucho has expanded to Manila with a franchise in SM North EDSA already running and one in Mckinley Business Center about to open soon – something the two Mindanao natives consider a personal success.

“We used to get comments from our earlier customers in Mindanao that they thought we were a franchise from Manila and even from abroad, which we chalked up as just compliments but not something we could achieve,” Kaye shares.

Ralph believes that the validation they received in the Go Negosyo community proved to be invaluable in expanding their business. “But it’s not because of pride or ego. It’s more of the consistent network of support that celebrated what we were doing and showed us we weren’t alone in our struggles.”

Kaye was also grateful for the wisdom mentors imparted to them. “A lot of what the mentors share is inspiring and practical. But I remember Sir Edwin To (Owner, Budgetwise) and his talk on business being about practice and innovation. It really taught me that success doesn’t happen overnight.”

Ralph happily shares that they’re passed the point of doubting. “At the start it’s natural to have lots of doubts. But thankfully we’ve found a formula that works for us. So, we’re now at the point where we can be more creative and think about our social impact.”

Looking forward, the future looks bright for the Layco siblings.

“We have this vision of waving the Filipino flag – we want to dream big and go global. Also, in some way, we want to do what Go Negosyo has done for entrepreneurs like us. We want to validate other young people’s ideas – that they can do what we were able to,” Ralph shares.

Kaye added that although the vision of going global seems farfetched right now, she will do what she does best by stitching everything together for the bigger picture. “We have a small, but talented and driven team. We have a vision; we stick to it but we also play around with it. I see my role in that – being the one to put everything together and keeping my team in line.”

Kwentong Go Negosyo: Café with a Twist

Friday, May 27th, 2016

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Café businesses are now emerging here in the country, but there’s this one café in Bicol region that has a distinctive concept café where you can dine and booked a trip in one.

The man behind the idea of this Travel Café is Jerome Palma. A 36 years old man raised in Camarines Sur graduate of Fine Arts in Advertising in University of Santo Tomas. Jerome grew up with the basic knowledge of business because his parents own a restaurant.

“When I was a kid, I remember helping my parents in our restaurant. I really think that I have a great passion for business.” he said.

Young entrepreneur Jerome Palma reading one of Go Negosyo's best selling book.

Young entrepreneur Jerome Palma reading one of Go Negosyo’s best selling book.

The restaurant owned by his parents was built in 1990 and called Bob Marlin. The idea of their business is a reggae and ambiance in which it gives a good vibes and relaxing feel to their customers. Aside from the good ambiance, they also cater mouth-watering foods. One of their best seller is their Crispy Pata that only cost P350.They were also recognized by ‘So Pinoy’ as one of the top Crispy Pata in the Philippines last 2010.

In 2014, Jerome attended a franchise expo and had a restaurant booth set up. His attention caught by the speaker, Dean Pax Lapid. “Sobra akong na-inspire at mas nagging interesado sa pagnenegosyo habang nakikinig ako sa lecture. I thought of buying the 21 Steps on how you build business kasi alam ko magiging malaking tulong sa akin ‘yung libro,” said Jerome.

As he goes along with their family business, Palma thinks of putting up his own business. “I considered the foreigners who usually go to our Province for a tour and vacation. So naisip ko bakit hindi ako magtayo ng negosyong ticketing and booking sa Caramoan and Calaguas Island, at the same time kainan na din.”

Thus the born of Travel Café.

Since he is a Fine Arts graduate, he exemplifies his skills through the concept and design of Travel Café that which revolves to the theme of different places herein the Philippines and other countries.

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Today, Palma is enjoying his passion in business at the same time practicing his knowledge in Fine Arts and applying it on his own business. “Mas nag-enjoy ako sa pagiging entrepreneur kasi hawak mo ang finances at time mo,” he added.

For Jerome, failures will always be there but it is how you handle and beat it. “Try lang ng try when it comes to business. You should stand out and be different,” for his parting words.


YEDW 2015 Participants Continue to Grow their Business

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

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2015 capped off one of the biggest events of Go Negosyo which is the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Workshop. Together with the US Embassy, we were able to find and mentor some of the finest young entrepreneurs from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Here are some of the YEDW participants sharing how the YEDW program has helped them and their businesses.

Faith Purugganan took home a “bucket full of learning” from the YEDW Culminating Activity. According to her, the series of workshops and mentorships from different field experts helped her develop her events management business Purple Bunny. “Before, I only owned three photo booths. Now, I’ve expanded to food carts.” Her business also now has a stronger social media presence, as she learned various marketing techniques from the YEDW seminars.

Jesus Dane Lavarias of Kaboom Wings and Burgers is the winner of the YEDW Luzon Leg, existing business category. He claims that the YEDW program has greatly improved Kaboom’s business model. Most importantly, it pushed him to take Kaboom to the next level: Franchising. Aside from that, “our sales have doubled since we implemented the marketing strategies I’ve learned from the mentors.”

Focus is an important takeaway that Diana Prado got from the YEDW program. “Before Go Negosyo, we only do it [our business] on the side. But after Go Negosyo, we realized that we can’t just do that. We need to focus.” And that’s exactly what Diana did with her eco-tourism business, Visit Tarlac. In fact, right after the YEDW series, Visit Tarlac immediately produced back-to-back tours in Tarlac. They also added new features in their tour packages. Now Diana’s biggest problem is telling people that they are fully booked because of the business’ growing popularity. “The more sustainable you are, the more people you can help,” says Diana.

Fino d’ Fines is the name of Hosfelito Fines’ perfume business. According to Hoselito, the YEDW program fired up his entrepreneurial spirit so much that he decided to venture into another business which is an innovative academic center. He credits the expansion of his perfume business and the start of his new enterprise to Go Negosyo and YEDW. “Without Go Negosyo, all of these would be nothing.”

For Rachel de Villa, keeping in touch with the mentors is the secret to her continuous success. He agri-social enterprise Cropital was first discovered by Go Negosyo when Rachel joined the YEDW program. Until now, she still talks to these mentors whenever she encounters a bump on the road and they are always happy to help. “Another thing I learned from YEDW is to focus…the workshops also fast-tracked Cropital’s success. Rachel was recently recognized as one of Forbes 30 under 30 Asia, Finance & Venture Capital category.

“YEDW gave my business, Dotimas Documentaries, a lot of exposure. It raised the awareness of SMEs that such service exists,” says JP Dotimas. Jayvee was also able to use the learning he got to strategically market a relatively new product to other entrepreneurs. As of now, he is glad to announce that Dotimas Documentaries has gained more clients through the networks and friends he made during the workshops.

Alice Eduardo: A Woman of Steel

Sunday, January 24th, 2016
Alice Eduardo, President & CEO of Sta. Elena Construction & Development Corporation.

Alice Eduardo, President & CEO of Sta. Elena Construction & Development Corporation.

A Woman of Steel is perhaps the best title anyone can give Alice Eduardo, President and CEO of one of the leading construction firms in the country. She leads Sta. Elena Construction and Development Corporation and made a mark for herself since 1995.

Despite being in a male-dominated industry, she proves that gender is trivial when it comes to quality service. Now on its peak of operations, Alice is determined to meet standards and beat deadlines for all of its projects. Living up to its tagline: “Going beyond structural integrity”, Alice and her team have earned the trust and satisfaction of its clients.

But how did this Filipina mompreneur started her path in construction?

Back in the day, the young Alice has always wanted to become an engineer. She was fascinated with construction and engineering and all its processes. She wanted to know how roads and bridges help people with their daily lives and how buildings are built on strong foundations. She knew that this is what she wants pursue in the future. But this dream of hers was put to a halt when she took up business management instead of engineering.

Her family has always been in business. They had a rice milling and rice trading business and garments business in Nueva Ecija which she was able to dutifully handle before she had her own company.  She has been exposed to business and learned the ins and outs of it. She did not know that this experience of managing their business will lead to the chance of continuing her dream.

In 1995, an opportunity came knocking when one of their customers asked her to supply steel to a construction project in Malolos. Without any second thoughts, she looked for the materials and personally delivered it to the client. From that moment on, she knew that it was the start of her path towards industry she has always admired: construction.

Because of her passion and commitment to the business, Alice and her company have closed deals with many businesses in the country. Her first big project was the Bacnotan Steel Plant in Batangas where she did the construction of its foundation. This was then followed up by more projects with different companies such as the SM Mall of Asia, SM Pampanga, SM Bacolod, SM Seaside City Mall in Cebu, SM City Cabanatuan, SM Olongapo City, SM City Tarlac, SM Bay Arena and many more!
She must have done a great job in these projects that even other companies and investors noticed the quality work that they were providing. Soon, she was doing the pile-driving in Solaire Manila, Belle Grande Casino and Resort, and the Manila Bay Resort at the Entertainment City in Paranaque.

Someof Sta. Elena Construction & Development Corporation's projects include SM Mall of Asia, SM Pampanga, SM Bacolod, SM Seaside City Mall in Cebu, SM City Cabanatuan, SM Olongapo City, SM City Tarlac, SM Bay Arena and many more.

Someof Sta. Elena Construction & Development Corporation’s projects include SM Mall of Asia, SM Pampanga, SM Bacolod, SM Seaside City Mall in Cebu, SM City Cabanatuan, SM Olongapo City, SM City Tarlac, SM Bay Arena and many more.

Among many other construction firms including international ones, she also won the bid to construct the First Gen-Siemens San Gabriel Power Plant in Batangas. According to her, she was the first Filipino contractor to do a power plant for Siemens. This only proves the dedication of Alice and her company to meet international demands.

Aside from managing the business and personally visiting the construction sites, Alice also shares her time in doing advocacy work. She also shares her blessings to those in need including the children in Philippine General Hospital whom she has given a pediatric ward for its cancer patients, one of her dearest projects.

She is also one of Go Negosyo’s staunch partners in promoting entrepreneurship in the country. She finds time to share her entrepreneurial journey through Go Negosyo summits and programs and hopes to inspire more Filipinas to find their passion and pursue their dreams.

Alice Eduardo and Marivic Quiero during the Go Negosyo Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit.

Alice Eduardo and Marivic Quiero during the Go Negosyo Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit.

One remarkable act of Alice towards entrepreneurs happened last 6th Filipina Entrepreneurship Summit of Go Negosyo in 2014. One of the participants, Marivic Quiero, shared her story of survival from Typhoon Yolanda and her mission to start a new business in the metro. Having heard her tragic experiences, Alice wholeheartedly offered help to Marivic. After many mentoring sessions and assistance extended, Marivic is now a proud owner of a pharmaceutical business back in Tacloban.

A compassionate woman that she is, Alice continues to extend help and guidance to many people. This is her secret to success. That aside from being hard working, passionate, and determined,  it was her heart of gold that led her to where she is right now.

5 Promising Millennials in the Field of Entrepreneurship

Saturday, January 16th, 2016

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Not so long ago, residents of Tubod in Lanao del Norte had to travel two hours to the nearby cities just to find a place to chill and eat good food in a restaurant with a nice ambiance. To solve this problem, Andrew and his family established Andrew’s Pizza—Lanao del Norte’s first pizza house—last March 18, 2015. It is a full restaurant with 11 different pizza flavors and more than 30 Filipino and international dishes in its menu. Since then, it has played host to celebrities, VIPs and PBA stars.

Currently, Andrew’s Pizza has a sister restaurant, Andrew’s Casual Fine Dining, which serves international cuisine in a lovely Old English Cottage and a sister coffee shop, Brew Bros. Coffee, which is proudly brewing coffee beans from Northern Mindanao. Cebu Pacific SMILE Magazine February 2015 issue cited them as the “hottest spots in town”!

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The massive devastation caused by typhoon Yolanda in Eastern Visayas last 2013 also resulted to the high demand but low supply of hollow blocks in the region. This is when Mariel decided to start AgriBlock Builders—a company that builds AgriBlocks.

AgriBlocks are hollow blocks made of rice hulls which contribute to 45% of the overall agri-waste in the region. These AgriBlocks have been proven to have up to five times higher PSI, meaning, they are stronger than commercial hollow blocks. AgriBlocks are also cheaper and lighter. Not only does AgriBlock Builders solve the problem on supply and demand, it also reduces agri-waste in Eastern Visayas; thus, living up to its motto: Helping Nature. Building Homes.

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Raphaelo is the man behind OVERHEAT Burgers—a mobile food vending truck that operates in a modified Volkswagen Beetle. It serves quality gourmet burgers that will satisfy a busy man’s hunger. Convenience is a major factor for this food truck business since it values its customers’ time and effort.  Instead of going out of their workplace, OVERHEAT goes to the customers. In addition, OVERHEAT serves gourmet quality burgers that are really worth your every hard-earned peso.

Burger lovers can look forward to seeing OVERHEAT Burgers in its Volkswagen Beetle around Laguna and CALABARZON area. It also envisions expanding to other different areas across the country.

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Textile waste is one of the overlooked problems in the fashion industry. This is the same problem that Pamela is trying to solve through her social enterprise called Phinix. At Phinix, Pamela gets to collect fabric scraps from fashion schools, textile waste from garment factories and old clothes from households and turn them into higher valued products such as footwear and accessories.

As a social enterprise, Phinix aspires to partner with poor communities for its production. Phinix celebrates rebirth, restoration and renewal by not only offering trendy, comfortable and durable footwear, but also helping the environment by reducing textile waste—what a fashionable way to recycle!

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Brain Camp was founded when Michael, a student from UP Visayas, noticed the lack of facilities that cater to the needs of college students in the Tacloban area. With friends, he thought of establishing a study lounge designed to provide a conducive learning environment for students.

Brain Camp is designed to provide students with an affordable and accessible overnight studying area to facilitate optimum lesson absorption complete with the basic student needs like internet, food, printer, and a photocopying machine. It is strategically located at M.H. Del Pilar Street which is the heart of the Universities and other schools in the area. This year, Brain Camp will be opening its tutorial sector for elementary and secondary students covering the various subjects of their respective schools.

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