Entrepreneurial honorees

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President Rodrigo Duterte and ASEAN-BAC Chair Joey Concepcion conferred honorary awards to the ASEAN Economic Ministers led by DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez along with the present ASEAN-BAC members. (front row, L-R) The Hon. Pehin Dato Lim Jock Seng, H.E. Khemmani Pholsena, H.E. Dato’ Sri Musatapa Mohamed, H.E. Lim Hng Kiang, Director General of Cambodian Ministry of Commerce Sim Sokheng, President Rodrigo Duterte, H.E. Ramon M. Lopez, Director General of Thai Department of Trade Negotiations Boonyarit Kalayanmit, H.E. Kyaw Win, H.E. Enggartiasto Lukita, Vietnam Deputy Minister of Industry & Trade Tran Quoc Khanh. (L-R, Back) Lisa Ibrahim, Oudet Souvannavong, Dr. Munir Majid, Dr. Robert Yap, Sok Piseth, Mr. Concepcion, Arin Jira, Moe Kyaw, Annanga Roosdiono, Kith Meng.

Since 2007, the ASEAN Business Awards (ABA) has been on a mission to give outstanding enterprises and business leaders in the Southeast Asian region recognition, as well as to dispense information on the ASEAN Economic Community and draw attention to small and medium-sized enterprises with the potential to become global players in their respective industries.

The 12 Priority Integration Sectors Awards of ABA are given to entities that have demonstrated outstanding performance in the following industries: fisheries, electronics, e-ASEAN, textiles, logistics, wood-based, rubber-based, agri-food, health care, tourism, automotive and retail.

SME Excellence Awards, meanwhile, honor SMEs that have achieved outstanding commercial success and sustainable growth (Growth category), that have demonstrated a high standard of commitment to the way they organize and integrate their responsible business practices (Corporate social responsibility category), that have demonstrated the provision of a stimulating and supportive workplace (Employment category), and that have demonstrated a proven ability create, nurture and develop new products or services (Innovation category).

Also bestowed are the Young Entrepreneur and Women Entrepreneur excellence awards. The former honors a business owner below the age of 45, while the latter recognizes female business owner. Both should have attained significant success through leadership, market positioning and company performance. Other special prizes include Friend of ASEAN award, given to a non-ASEAN-owned enterprise committed to growing its presence in the region, and Green Technology Award, which a company that commits to integrating environmentally sustainable practices into its business model receives.

For the 10th edition of the ASEAN Business Awards, held last Sept. 6 at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Paranaque City, two new award categories were added. One is the Inclusive Business award for the business model that creates sustainable social impact, and the other is the Legacy Award for the entrepreneur who has passionately committed herself or himself to growth and excellence while making positive impact on the ASEAN community.

Filipino businessmen walked away with a total of nine awards that September evening. In the Priority Integration Sectors categories, Asian Marine Transport Corp. was named the logistics winner. According to ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC), which launched the ABA, the shipping company and operator of the Super Shuttle Ferry, Super Shuttle Roll-on, Roll-off (RoRo) and Shuttle Fast Ferry Vessels has contributed to the ASEAN Integration “through the facilitation of international trade, investment, tourism, and development made possible by the launch of the ASEAN RoRo Connectivity in April 2017, of which it is the lead.”

Nature’s Legacy Eximport, a Cebu-based global manufacturer of home furnishings and garden accessories, was the wood-based awardee. ABA noted that the company is renowned for its advocacy of using eco-friendly alternative materials like stonecast in producing its art pieces. “In addition to being renowned for its use of eco-friendly materials, Nature’s Legacy also sources locally so as to benefit local economy and encourage its competitiveness, create job opportunities, and promote the Filipino culture,” ASEAN-BAC said.

The agri-food winner was Destileria Limtuaco & Co., which, for more than a century, has been marketing distilled spirits, whiskies, brandies, and a host of other alcoholic beverages.

Golden ABC was the retail category winner. “GOLDEN ABC is a recognized pioneer in the Philippine fashion retail scene, leveraging the latest business innovations to grow all areas of its business, from operations and sales to design and professional partnerships,” ASEAN-BAC noted. The company, which began operations in 1986, produce and market clothing and accessories under the Penshoppe, Oxygen, Forme, Memo, Regatta and Tyler brands.

The SME Excellence Award for Corporate Social Responsibility was bestowed on Lamoiyan Corporation, the company behind the Happee brand of toothpaste that has become a competent alternative to international toothpaste brands. “Aside from thriving in business, Lamoiyan is also involved in diverse civic undertakings. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is deemed the company’s intrinsic aspect and all-important pillar. Lamoiyan is fueled by its corporate philosophy to make a difference for the glory of God,” the ABA organizer said.

Imperial Homes Corp. was the Green Technology Award recipient. In 2015, the company launched the first solar-powered community in Batangas, composed of 1,000 homes specifically designed to save up to 42% in energy consumption, 28% in water consumption and 38% in building materials.

The Legacy Award winner is John Gokongwei, Jr., the founder and chairman emeritus of one of the largest and most diverse conglomerates in the Philippines, JG Summit Holdings, Inc. “JG Summit’s place in Philippine business has for its cornerstone a business portfolio of market leaders, a solid financial position, a formidable management team, and a vision of leading the country to global competitiveness and making life better for every Filipino,” ASEAN-BAC said.

The retail drugstore Generika received the Inclusive Business award. According to ASEAN-BAC, “Generika saw the need to set up a company to specifically address the market gap of quality, affordable generic medicines that caters to the means of the bottom of the pyramid communities while providing superior customer service and a strong sense of social purpose.”

Udenna Corporation’s Dennis Uy (second from right) receives his trophy as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year.

The Young Entrepreneur of the year was Dennis Uy of Udenna Corp. “The ASEAN-BAC is proud to confer the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award to Mr. Dennis A. Uy of Udenna Corporation,” the ABA organizer said. “Under the leadership of Mr. Uy, Udenna Corporation grew from a humble, provincial business to one with national reach in petroleum, shipping, logistics, distribution, real estate and environmental service.” ASEAN-BAC believes that the success story of Mr. Uy serves as a catalyst for awareness on the abundant opportunities to engage in entrepreneurship and for the innovation to create new business models that have the effect of increasing competitiveness of local markets and driving the region’s economic growth.

President Rodrigo Duterte, a guest of honor at the awarding ceremony, called on big businesses to help the smaller ones contribute to the growth and development of ASEAN. “It is now your responsibility to help your fellow entrepreneurs do better and achieve more, to propel micro entrepreneurs to become small, and the small to become medium and so on,” Mr. Duterte was quoted as saying in government news report. “You are the next breed of role models, and I look forward to your becoming the future mentors.”