Disrupt. Transform. Inspire!

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Benjamin O. Yao, chairman and CEO of SteelAsia Manufacturing Corporation (SteelAsia), was proclaimed the Entrepreneur Of The Year and Master Entrepreneur in the recent Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2019 awards banquet. Presenting him the award were (from left) Go Negosyo Founder Jose Ma. A. Concepcion III, U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John C. Law, Department of Finance Usec. Antonette Tionko, and SGV Chairman and Managing Partner Itos Cruz.

Winners of the Entrepreneurship Of The Year Philippines 2019 named

By Mark Louis F. FerrolinoSpecial Features Writer

It was a momentous and historical night honoring the country’s most outstanding business leaders as the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2019 concluded with an awards banquet held at the Makati Shangri-La hotel.

Adopting the theme “Disrupt. Transform. Inspire!,” this year’s Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines searched for visionary entrepreneurs who are driven by their desire to improve the world around them by providing strategic solutions to complex challenges. These promising individuals thrive in the age of disruption and lead enterprises that can inspire and empower communities and uplift the nation.

SGV & Co. Chairman and Managing Partner J. Carlitos G. Cruz led the prestigious gathering with a welcome remarks, highlighting the significance of transformation in the era of disruption.

“Today’s age of transformation has given entrepreneurs vast opportunities for growth, but at the same time, it exposes businesses to various risks and uncertainties. To help us navigate through this era of disruption, we need visionaries who can leverage on new digital platforms and provide people with a clear purpose,” Mr. Cruz said.


The Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2019 has identified 15 outstanding entrepreneurs from diverse industries across the country, such as food and beverage, real estate development, steel manufacturing, importation, trading, health and wellness, technology, agriculture, farming, and logistics. By the end of the night, four entrepreneurs rose above the rest and were hailed as winners in five different categories.

The most coveted award of the night, the 2019 Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines, was bestowed to Benjamin O. Yao, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of SteelAsia Manufacturing Corp. (SteelAsia). He will represent the country in the World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards to be held in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2020.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines recognizes Mr. Yao’s outstanding dedication, leadership and centeredness on transformation and disruption, which have made SteelAsia the country’s flagship steel firm and among the largest rebar manufacturers in Asia. With its presence across the archipelago, SteelAsia’s annual production reaches over two million metric tons, serving over 2,000 customers, including the country’s biggest property developers.

Mr. Yao also received the Master Entrepreneur award, which is given to an entrepreneur who best exemplified sound management practices in critical areas of the company like finance, marketing, human resources, and sales.

Meanwhile, the Emerging Master Entrepreneur, an award given to an entrepreneur who has applied sound management practices and exceptional leadership to building an enterprise with vast potential for future growth and expansion, was presented to Jose P. Magsaysay, Jr., chairman emeritus of Cinco Corp.

The Woman Entrepreneur award, on the other hand, was given to Esther Wileen S. Go, president and CEO of MediLink Network, Inc. The said award aims to recognize the outstanding contributions of women in entrepreneurship and leadership, and is given to a trailblazer whose work has vastly improved her industry.

The Small Business Entrepreneur award, which is given to an entrepreneur for best demonstrating a management excellence in a business with assets of less than a hundred million pesos, was awarded to Rolandrei Viktor E. Varona, president and CEO of Zark’s Food Ventures Corp.

The other finalists of this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines were Alexander M. Cruz, chairman and CEO of XRC Mall Developer, Inc.; Beverly M. Dayanan, founder, president and CEO of Contempo Property Holdings, Inc.; Miguel C. Garcia, founder, chairman, president and CEO of DTSI Group, Inc.; Alvin S. Hing, chairman and CEO of Excelsior Farms, Inc., together with Paul T. Holaysan, president and chief operating officer of the same firm; Henry Lim Bon Liong, chçcairman and CEO of SL Agritech Corp.; Olivia Limpe-Aw, president and CEO of Destileria Limtuaco & Co., Inc.; Sindulfo L. Sumagang, president of Oneworld Alliance Logistics Corp.; Regan C. Sy, CEO and vice-president for Marketing of Regan Industrial Sales, Inc.; Necisto U. Sytengco, chairman of SBS Philippines Corp.; and Aivee A. Teo, president and medical director of The A — Institute.

All nominees for the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines went through a strict financial data ranking system used by all Entrepreneur Of The Year participating countries. Criteria for judging include entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance, strategic direction, global (or community) impact, innovation, and personal integrity/influence.

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

This year’s panel was co-chaired by Antonette C. Tionko, Undersecretary of Revenue Operations Group and the Corporate Affairs Group of the Department of Finance; and Ambassador Jesus P. Tambunting, OBE, chairman of Capital Shares Investment Corp. and 2009 Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines. The other panel members were Ramon S. Monzon, president and CEO of The Philippine Stock Exchange, Inc.; Rizalina G. Mantaring, president of the Management Association of the Philippines; Reynaldo D. Laguda, executive director of Philippine Business for Social Progress; and Natividad Y. Cheng, chairperson and CEO of Multiflex RNC Philippines, Inc. (URATEX) and 2017 Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year was founded in United States by professional services firm Ernst & Young (EY) in 1986, with the aim 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, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program was established by the SGV Foundation, Inc. in 2003. Over the years, the program has recognized more than 200 market leaders in the country whose innovative ideas disrupt traditional business boundaries.

The very first winner of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines was Jollibee Foods Corporation President and CEO Tony Tan Caktiong, who then went on to win the 2004 World Entrepreneur Of The Year award.