This year, we will be recognizing 13 inspiring young entrepreneurs. The Go Negosyo Inspiring Young Filipino Entrepreneur award is our way of giving importance to the youth’s achievements as entrepreneurs and as inspiring role models. Our awardees are remarkable young people with their own entrepreneurial stories to tell.
Let me briefly introduce each as we award them today at the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit at the World Trade Center.
The first of our awardees are sisters Happy and Viva Andrada, Owners of F*Art. At their respective young ages of 25 and 30, they are already living their childhood dreams of owning a successful fashion boutique and making names in the fashion industry. Aside from offering funky and fashionable designs, F*Art also opens its doors to young and rising Filipino fashion designers. The sisters are strong supporters of homegrown Filipino talent.
Reymont Choachuy, President of Noble House, is also passionate about something Filipino – the Pinoy street food. In fact, the battle cry of his food business is to produce clean and quality street foods that are reasonably priced. Noble House presently carries successful franchise brands like Sam’s Everything on Sticks, Itlog on Sticks, Sumomai and Ferino’s Bibingka. All these concepts came from Reymont’s commitment in producing quality and safe Pinoy street food.
After working for different companies after graduation, RJ David collaborated with his wife to develop an experimental website. The result – Sulit.com.ph, an online classified ads website that has earned a present popular reputation among Filipinos. It is also the go-to site for buying and selling almost anything and everything people can think of. For RJ, who serves as the Managing Director, Sulit.com.ph is a realization of the dream to be able to design and invent something to be used by many people. He considers it to be a product of his passion towards web development.
Another awardee is the man behind the popular “OurAwesomePlanet” blog. In fact, he even almost went bankrupt when he left his high-paying job just to pursue this passion. When the art of blogging was still new, Anton Diaz started Our Awesome Planet in 2005 with the intention of creating a family blog. Presently, Anton continues to share his dreams and the beauty of the Philippines to the world through Our Awesome Planet, which has also proven to be a successful entrepreneurial venture.
Twenty-one-year-old Tricia Gosingtian describes herself a creative entrepreneur. She has been engaged in different activities that pursue her passion – like freelance photography, modelling, styling, blogging, among others. Tricia has also professionally practiced her art, as publications and brands continuously consult and collaborate with her for her work. At a young age, she feels that she has so much more to share through her craft.
The next awardee was supposed to be a doctor. Instead of pursuing Medicine, Cris Guerrero explored the path of being an entrepreneur. She pursued her passion and talent in organizing events. At present, she owns and manages her very own Ideal Events and Guerrero Creative Enterprise with her husband. They specialize in events, model management, graphic design and photography.
The 25-year-old Valerie Mendoza also banked on her naturally artistic talent and interest in fashion to put up her own business. She brought personalized, hand-painted sneakers back in style and back in the streets through the brand Y3L Hand-Painted Sneakers. A Fine Arts graduate, Valerie is an entrepreneur who started from the basics of her talent and the belief that age does not matter in order to put up a successful business venture.
The next awardee, Mary Grace Santos, saw the potential market for recreation centers for the convenience of the parents while shopping inside malls. Then, she established Li’l People Enterprise. It is an indoor play center where parents can leave their children doing certain educational and fun-filled activities. It also serves as a center where both the child and the parent can spend some quality time together while engaging into recreational activities. As the vision of the company states, Mary Grace sees to it that Li’l People indeed is a place where children can play and grow.
Richard Sanz pursued the entrepreneurial path because of the need to provide well for his family. He resigned from his job in an IT company to start his own business in the food and franchise industry. He used his savings from a couple of years of being an employee and even borrowed capital from his father-in-law. Presently, as the President of Food Asia Corporation, Richard continues to lead brands like Tea Square and Bibingkinitan! in the local food retail and franchise industry.
On the other hand, Timothy Sarvida started his El Buono Pizza business together with friends and partners Sam Faj Calaca and Laura Murayama. It started with Timothy’s passion for food and discovering new tastes. They are well known for their large-diameter pizzas that range from 35, 40 and 50 inches. El Buono even made a record for coming up with a whopping 65-inch diameter pizza.
Aside from the 10 Inspiring Young Filipino Entrepreneurs, we will also be recognizing three Inspiring Young Filipino Social Entrepreneurs. These are the young entrepreneurs who are able to pursue a sustainable business venture while significantly helping a particular community. They are the new wave of entrepreneurs who are able to integrate their passion to help improve the lives of others and bring positive impact to different communities.
Social Entrepreneur Reese Fernandez was raised by a single mom who does missionary works. It was in fact one of her sources of inspiration in feeling a strong responsibility towards making the world a better place. At the age of 25, Reese is the President and Founding Partner of Rags2Riches. It is a social enterprise that creates high-end fashion masterpieces and home accessories that are ethical and eco-friendly. Reese has also been multi-awarded by different organizations in the Philippines and abroad for her remarkable achievements in Rags2Riches.
The next Social Entrepreneur awardee is a dynamic duo. Bam Aquino and Mark Ruiz were buddies since high school. They are also the founders of Microventures, a social enterprise that provides services to microfinance institutions and their clients. Through Microventures, the duo also launched the Hapinoy Sari Sari Store Program – a full-service microentrepreneur enhancement program. Through these efforts, Bam and Mark have indeed empowered communities to dream and achieve.
We also have the trio of Anna Meloto-Wilk, Dylan Wilk and Camille Meloto as one of our Social Entrepreneur Awardees. They represent Gandang Kalikasan, a social enterprise that creates sustainable livelihood opportunities for Filipino farmers. It is also the company that produces the Human Nature range of all organic beauty products. Through this endeavor, the trio have continuously provided help and assistance to different NGOs, communities and farmers that specialize on organic farming and processing.
My congratulations to our Inspiring Young Entrepreneur Awardees. Your quest towards success has just begun. The road is never straight, as challenges will confront you and that will make you better entrepreneurs. Use this recognition to inspire more people, especially the youth, to pursue their dreams.