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Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2022: Undaunted and unstoppable

A SINGLE IDEA or innovation can spark a business revolution, create new possibilities, or even disrupt the status quo and change the world. True entrepreneurs have vision, leveraging on new ideas to challenge old paradigms and seize opportunities to develop sustainable enterprises that have the potential to transform industries and support economic development.

But like an idea, a single unforeseen event can be just as widely disruptive, changing how we live and work and affecting society for many years to come. True entrepreneurs have vision, but they also have resilience, are able to adapt and pivot when the winds of change blow especially hard. Not only do they survive, but they thrive amid disruption, economic crises, technological advancements, changing customer tastes, political unrest, cultural shifts, or global pandemics. They are undaunted in the face of challenges and unstoppable in the face of barriers.

For the 14th year of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines program, we once again celebrate the inspiring men and women of vision, courage, and resourcefulness who work with relentless determination and purpose. They are individuals who thrive in the age of disruption and lead enterprises that can transform communities and uplift the nation.

“The business environment today is filled with immense challenges and opportunities. We have seen new business models, products, processes, and services enter the market and become instant sensations. At the same time, we have also seen many businesses and industries struggle to evolve and survive. Yet, in the face of enormous adversity, we believe that the fundamental spirit of Filipino entrepreneurship remains as strong and dynamic as ever,” SGV Foundation Chairman Wilson P. Tan said

The year’s finalists come from diverse industries, such as food and beverage, food service, real estate development, construction, finance, ecommerce, technology, cosmetics, logistics, transportation, industrial products, automotive sales, and livestock breeding. Some finalists, like many entrepreneurs, saw opportunities in emerging markets. One saw a chance to upgrade a canteen business into a world-class, professionalized food concessionaire and meal delivery service enterprise. Another entered the still fledgling ecommerce market, starting as an online retailer and becoming the leading e-distributor in the Philippines. Another finalist took charge of family-owned auto dealerships and expanded it into what is now a group of companies spanning dozens of multi-brand dealerships in Metro Manila and Central and Northern Luzon.

Many finalists grew from humble beginnings to profitable success stories. One finalist started with a single poultry farm and grew into a major agri-food enterprise with a variety of modern poultry and swine farms in Pampanga and Tarlac. Another started with a single neighborhood bakery and café that eventually grew, through grit and passion for excellence, into one of the most acclaimed restaurant groups in Metro Manila.

One grew a single, family-owned car dealership into a chain built on compassion for his people and care for his customers. Another created her own cosmetics brand, competing against giants in a crowded market by successfully carving out its brand position as an affordable but high-quality local alternative.

Yet another finalist began a homemade, home-based ice cream business that eventually became the first artisanal brand to become a household name. Another one transformed a contract breeder business and revamped and restructured it into the only fully integrated poultry operation in Davao City.

Then there is the finalist who, after suffering multiple setbacks in his professional career, set up a simple trucking company that grew to a logistics solutions company offering full supply chain services.

Some finalists are motivated by providing solutions to identified problems. One is a prolific inventor of PVC pipe products driven by a need to prevent environmental disasters such as flooding and landslides. Another seeks to provide high-speed internet access to a growing number of Filipinos by being the first to deploy fiber optic technology in the country. Seeing the overpopulation and increasing cost of housing in Metro Manila, a third finalist established a real estate venture focusing on developing Cavite as a viable alternative. Yet another saw the crippling effect of traffic congestion on business and pioneered the first app-based motorcycle taxi service in the country as a solution.

Still other finalists made businesses out of enabling others. One runs a construction company that started with small renovation and retrofitting jobs, but now handles large projects for major retail chains and numerous land development companies, while also doing pro bono work for communities. Another established a private equity firm that helps other businesses through capital investments and transformation. Seeing the need for alternative, lower-cost energy solutions, one finalist pioneered a solar energy production company which started with just rooftop solar panel installations but is now building solar farms. Yet another started a one-brand PC company but expanded it into one of the country’s most dynamic and diversified technology companies and digital transformation enablers.

By understanding their stories, we can trace their personal and professional journeys as they capitalize on emerging opportunities, adapt to change, and overcome challenges and disruption.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines program is assessed regularly in terms of its categories, nominees, finalists, and winners’ profiles in tandem with recent changes in the business environment. All nominees were screened using a system developed by Entrepreneur Of The Year in the United States and used in all countries that participate in the program. Qualified nominees were interviewed and given the chance to submit additional information as necessary. The list was further screened to determine the finalists. An independent panel of judges will select the winners from among the finalists. The overall winner of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2022 program will represent the country in the World Entrepreneur Of The Year in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2023.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year program was developed in the United States in 1986 by professional services firm Ernst & Young. Through the program, successful entrepreneurs can come forward and tell their inspiring stories to awaken the entrepreneurial spirit in others. In 2001, Ernst & Young expanded the program and launched the World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards.

The SGV Foundation launched the program locally in 2003 and presented its very first Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines award to Jollibee Foods Corp. President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tony Tan Caktiong, who went on to win as World Entrepreneur Of The Year. Socorro Cancio-Ramos, founder of National Book Store, was next named Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines in 2004, followed by Lance Gokongwei, president and CEO of Cebu Air, Inc. in 2005, Senen Bacani, chairman and president of La Frutera, Inc. in 2006, Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Jr. of Alaska Milk Corp. in 2007, Ambassador Jesus P. Tambunting of Planters Development Bank in 2009, Tennyson Chen of Bounty Fresh Foods, Inc. in 2010, Erramon I. Aboitiz, president and CEO of AboitizPower Corp. in 2011, Jaime I. Ayala, founder and CEO of Hybrid Social Solutions, Inc. in 2012, Ben Chan, chairman of the board of Suyen Corp. in 2013, Nix Nolledo, chairman and CEO of Xurpas, Inc. in 2015, Natividad Cheng, chairperson and CEO of Multiflex RNC Philippines, Inc. in 2017, and Benjamin O. Yao, chairman, president and CEO of SteelAsia Manufacturing Corp. in 2019.

Beginning Oct. 21, BusinessWorld will be featuring each finalist and their individual stories of how vision and innovation inspired them to excel in their respective industries. The results of the Entrepreneur Of The Year will be known on Nov. 21 at a formal awards banquet at the Grand Hyatt Manila.

The 2022 search for the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines is co-presented by the Asian Institute of Management, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine Business for Social Progress, and the Philippine Stock Exchange. Gold Sponsors are SteelAsia Manufacturing Corp., Uratex, and Navegar. Silver Sponsors are Intellicare, OneWorld Alliance Logistics Corp., and Regan Industrial Sales, Inc. Media sponsors are BusinessWorld and the ABS-CBN News Channel.