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Winner named

Posted on October 17, 2013

Ben Chan
Suyen Corporation

BEN CHAN, chairman of the Board of Suyen Corp. -- the company behind the well-known BENCH/ fashion line -- was named the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2013 in an awards banquet held last night at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

Mr. Chan will represent the country in the prestigious World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Monte Carlo, Monaco, in June 2014. The award was presented to him by EY Global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark A. Weinberger, as well as SGV Chairman and Managing Partner and SGV Foundation Chairman and President Cirilo P. Noel.

Mr. Chan was recognized for leveraging his innate creativity, perseverance and love of design into a multi-billion peso corporation carrying various local and international brands. Despite losing his first store to a fire and other setbacks, Mr. Chan’s determination to succeed allowed him to grow Suyen from a small local shop into an international organization with over 1,000 stores across the country and outlets in China, the Middle East, the US and Guam.

Mr. Chan also received the Master Entrepreneur award for applying sound management practices in critical areas of the company including finance, marketing, human resources and sales. Mr. Chan started out as a one-man team handling everything from operations to clothing design, marketing strategy, product development and even boutique design for his BENCH/ brand. Under his leadership, BENCH/ has now become a global brand that embodies Filipino style, design ingenuity and world-class quality.

Other category awards presented were for the Small Business Entrepreneur, Woman Entrepreneur and Young Entrepreneur categories.

Dr. Milagros O. How, executive vice-president of Universal Harvester, Inc.,received the Woman Entrepreneur award for blazing a trail in entrepreneurship, leadership and community development. By marketing her fertilizer products directly to farmers’ cooperatives, promoting scientific farming and recognizing outstanding farmers, Dr. How has been able to help uplift the lives of over 2.3 million farmers from 932 cooperatives and associations in 68 provinces nationwide.

Leonarda O. Capuyan, president of Narda’s Handwoven Arts and Crafts and Narda’s Trading Corp., was presented the Small Business Entrepreneur award for best demonstrating management excellence in a business with assets of less than 100 million pesos. Ms. Capuyan’s insight and perseverance led to the revival of the tradition of weaving amongst women from the Cordilleras, giving birth to an industry.

Juliet D. Herrera, president and general manager of Serenitea Cha Kitchen, Inc., received the Young Entrepreneur award for being an inspiration and a model of entrepreneurship to the youth. Believing that the Philippines was ready for a new drinking experience, Ms. Herrera introduced the concept of milk tea into the country, creating a new beverage category in a country of coffee drinkers.

Recipients of the category awards were chosen from among 12 outstanding finalists representing enterprises from diverse industries from various regions in the country. The other finalists were Santiago G.Araneta (LBC Express, Inc.), Alexander L. Bangsoy (Goshen Land, Inc.), Ma. Lorena Simeon-Florendo (LiFEDATA Systems, Inc.), Alberto D. Lina (Airfreight 2100), Cesar Mario O. Mamon (Enchanted Kingdom, Inc.), Manuel H. Osmeña (Manny O Group), Dr. Victor V. Perez (University of Cagayan Valley), and Rajan A. Uttamchandani (Esquire Financing, Inc.)

In his welcome message, Mr. Noel said that the essence of entrepreneurship is the determination to break through the barriers to success.

“As we have observed in working closely with entrepreneurs in the past decade, most have to overcome various hurdles before they succeed. Some of these barriers include poverty, technology, geography, gender, age and other circumstances. And yet, entrepreneurs are challenged, instead of discouraged, by such barriers. Most of the time, all that is needed for change to happen is to show that it can happen. We see this very clearly in this year’s winner, Mr. Ben Chan of Suyen Corp., who broke through numerous barriers to build a globally competitive enterprise,” Mr. Noel said.

EY Global’s Mr. Weinberger, who was the guest-of-honor at the event, spoke about how entrepreneurs are helping to build a better business world, saying “Entrepreneurs spur innovation. They bring about new products, services and technologies. They are the driving forces behind globalization.”

All nominees went through a strict financial data ranking system used by all Entrepreneur Of The Year participating countries.

The finalists were further evaluated by an independent panel of judges composed of distinguished business personalities.

The panel was chaired by former Philippine Prime Minister Cesar E. A. Virata, corporate vice-chairman of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. Co-chair was Tony Tan Caktiong, chairman and CEO of Jollibee Foods Corp. Other panel members were Jaime I. Ayala, president of Hybrid Social Solutions, Inc.; Senen C. Bacani, chairman and president of La Frutera, Inc.; Tennyson G. Chen, president of Bounty Fresh Foods, Inc.; Ambassador Jesus P. Tambunting, chairman and president of Planters Development Bank; and Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Jr., president and CEO of Alaska Milk Corp.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year was founded in the United States by professional services firm EY in 1986 to recognize the achievements of the most successful and innovative entrepreneurs worldwide.

In 2001, EY expanded the program and launched the World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards.

In the Philippines, SGV Foundation, Inc. established the Entrepreneur Of The Year program, in 2003. Jollibee President and CEO Tony Tan Caktiong -- the first ever Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines -- went on to win as World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2004 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Socorro Cancio-Ramos, founder of National Book Store, was next named Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines; followed by Lance Y. Gokongwei, president and CEO of Cebu Air, Inc.; Senen C. Bacani, chairman and president of La Frutera, Inc.; Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Jr., president and CEO of Alaska Milk Corp.; Ambassador Jesus P. Tambunting, chairman and president of Planters Development Bank; Tennyson G. Chen, president of Bounty Fresh Foods, Inc.; Erramon I. Aboitiz, president and CEO of AboitizPower Corp.; and Jaime I. Ayala, president of Hybrid Social Solutions, Inc.

Supporting the program as co-presenters are the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine Business for Social Progress, the Philippine Stock Exchange, and the University of the Philippines College of Business Administration. Official airline is KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, operating on behalf of the Air France-KLM Group in the Philippines. Media sponsors are BusinessWorld and the ABS-CBN News Channel. Banquet sponsors are Alaska Milk Corp.; Bounty Fresh Food, Inc.; Cebu CFI Community Cooperative; Fiori Di M; Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc.; International Terminal Container Services, Inc.; JG Summit Holdings, Inc.; La Frutera, Inc.; and Vibal Publishing House, Inc.