Outstanding business leaders from the Philippines, who have exemplified remarkable leadership and tenacity in pursuing sustainable success, took center stage at the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards (APEA) 2017 held last Dec. 7 at Makati Shangri-La Hotel, Manila.

The awards night was filled with class and glamour as industry leaders, leading entrepreneurs and dignitaries attended the prestigious event. Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Philippines and Advisor to Enterprise Asia Gwendolyn F. Garcia graced the event, together with Enterprise Asia President William Ng.

APEA is a regional program that aims to recognize leading entrepreneurs across the region to spur greater innovation, fair practices and growth in entrepreneurship. It hopes to be a platform to encourage continued leadership toward the region’s sustainable economic development.

The awards are presented to the finest entrepreneurs across Asia Pacific each year, with award ceremonies held in 13 countries. The recognition gives the awardees the opportunity to join the exclusive group of entrepreneurs and chief executive officers for a gala dinner, and be invited to other exclusive events such as the Asia Entrepreneurship Forum, International CSR Summit, National Entrepreneurship Forum, industry dialogues and business matching sessions. As a regional award, APEA also serves as a networking platform for business leaders across the region.

APEA is now on its fourth consecutive year in the Philippines. During the program, Ms. Garcia said that entrepreneurs who set out to do ordinary things in extraordinary ways are honored every year at APEA. These people are those who take the bold, sometimes risky, leap from idea to action, plan to execution and concept to product. She added that for these awardees, the product is always a work in progress because they constantly adapt to the changing needs of the changing the world.

“Tonight, we honor those who continuously challenge the way things are and the way things have always been, who push the boundaries of what is possible to bring better products, better services and better solutions for everyone by taking that bold step into action, and for constantly evolving. The people we honor tonight have created more and better-paying jobs, increased productivity, fostered efficiency, and all of these have contributed to the lifeblood of our nation’s economy,” Ms. Garcia said.

From close to 80 nominees from the country, 17 winners across 11 industries were selected. They were Dr. Eduardo De Leon Cabantog, visionary president and CEO of Alliance in Motion Global, Inc.; Alberto Emilio V. Ramos, director and president of China Bank Savings; Dr. Rebecca A. Wata, president and CEO of FC Group of Companies, Philippines; Teodoro L. Ferrer, president of Generika Drugstore; Raymond Hernandez and Juan Dionisio Serina, Jr., principal architects of H1 Architecture; Enrique L. Benedicto, chairman of Mabuhay Filcement, Inc.; Esther Go, president and CEO of Medilink Network, Inc.; Naido Bueno Duldulao, president, CEO and founder of ND Shipping Group of Companies; Thierry Tea, managing director of PhilJets Group; Gareth Holgate, CEO of SDW Realty & Development; Vicente E. Fedelicio, president and CEO of Vega Manila Crewmanagement, Inc.; Carlo Mata, director of White & Case Global Operations Center; Joan Peñaflorida, president of Yondu, Inc.; and Robert L. Yupangco, president of Zoomanity Group Corp.

The most coveted honors of the night were bestowed on three iconic individuals who have shown remarkable leadership in their respective industries. Under the Special Category, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award was received by Dennis A. Uy, founder and chairman of Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. for Transportation and Logistics Industry; and Benjamin I. Liuson, founder and vice-chairman of the The Generics Pharmacy for Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Industry. Finally, the Special Achievement Award was awarded to Dr. Andrew L. Tan, chairman of Megaworld Corp.

After receiving the recognition, Mr. Uy said that the award is a testament to the shared passion and dedication of Chelsea Logistics’ management, employees, investors, partners and stakeholders.

“It serves as an inspiration to continue pursuing our vision of becoming a finest shipping and logistics company, known for its unrivaled customer service. And as we move towards bolder horizon, we aim to move the country forward by providing our fellow Filipinos better shipping and logistics, as well as opening up employment and business opportunities,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr. Liuson shared on stage how the The Generics Pharmacy has helped many Filipinos in terms of creating jobs and providing quality medicines at affordable prices.

“TGP is inclusive business because it created more than 2,000 small businesses everywhere in the Philippines. TGP also created more than 10,000 jobs nationwide up to the fifth municipality. TGP is known itself as CSR because it provides quality medicine at affordable price, helping and serving the more than 100 million Filipinos,” he said.

An in-depth search and selection process was conducted to determine the APEA winners. The nomination is by-invitation only, with each nominee subjected to a rigorous judging process, including financial verification by an appointed audit firm and mandatory physical site audit and interview, culminating in a confidential balloting process by Enterprise Asia’s committee.

“We can say with certainty that the recipients of the APEA are like none others. Not only do they have to prove their entrepreneurial skills and experience in one of the toughest contests in the world, they also subject themselves to a pledge to uphold the highest standards of entrepreneurship, which include allegiance to the two founding pillars of Enterprise Asia, namely investment in people and responsible entrepreneurship,” Mr. Ng said.

APEA is organized by Enterprise Asia, the region’s foremost association and think tank for entrepreneurship. It works with governments, NGOs and other organizations in uplifting the economic status of people across Asia and in ensuring a legacy of hope, innovation and courage for future generations by promoting competitiveness and entrepreneurial development.

As Mr. Ng explained: “The APEA is aimed at promoting entrepreneurship globally. Beyond recognizing the efforts of these entrepreneurs, we hope to encourage them to continue taking their businesses to the next level in the current digitalization era, and in the process, providing more job opportunities to the people in the region, and help to drive the economy forward which is in align[ment] [with] Enterprise Asia’s purpose of Democratizing Entrepreneurship, Institutionalizing Sustainability and Empowering Innovation.”