Who will be the next Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines?

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The Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2019 has concluded its search for the country’s most successful and inspiring entrepreneurs. Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines is a program of the SGV Foundation, Inc. with the participation of co-presenters Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine Business for Social Progress, and the Philippine Stock Exchange. In the next few weeks, BusinessWorld will feature each of the finalists for the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2019.

THE SEARCH for the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2019 concludes tomorrow night with a much-anticipated awards gala at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

This year’s search has identified 15 outstanding entrepreneurs from diverse industries throughout the country.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines 2019 program recognizes outstanding Filipino entrepreneurs who work with relentless determination and purpose. They are individuals who thrive in the age of disruption and lead enterprises that can inspire and empower communities and uplift the nation. They are unstoppable.

Alexander Cruz built his first mall in Angono, Rizal in 2002. He grew his business by applying sound business strategies, such as selecting complementing tenants to create full ecosystems that support the business of his developments, from supporting tenants to ensuring foot traffic to creating convenience for visitors. Today, the chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of XRC Mall Developer, Inc. has built 28 community malls, six hotels, and developed five public markets with the goal of bringing growth to the countryside.




Beverly M. Dayanan was born to an impoverished family in Davao. Despite her family’s economic difficulties, she was able to finish college and become a bank manager. She discovered her passion for property development after she helped a friend improve his real estate business. Sensing the demand for high-quality and affordable houses, she established Contempo Property Holdings, Inc. (CPHI). After completing her flagship project in Mandaue City, CPHI is now developing other projects in key cities in Visayas and Mindanao. She has also expanded her business to include socialized housing projects.

Miguel Garcia always aspired to create his own brand. In 1997, his started his own company, Diversified Technology Solutions International, Inc. (DTSI). DTSI has now become a leading enabler of facilities and IT solutions for enterprises, business process outsourcing (BPO) and shared services clients. DTSI designs, builds and manages facilities and enables clients with the best in class technology solutions. In 2010, to further globalize DTSI, he forged a partnership with Nippon Telegraph & Telegraph (NTT) of Japan, a Global Fortune 100 company. As part of the NTT Group, DTSI is able to create a wide portfolio of technology-based products, solutions, and services for digital disruptors.

Esther Wileen Go had a vision of enhancing the quality of healthcare through technology and automation. Leveraging her love for technology and her experience in healthcare operations, she took over her father’s small technology company which provided automated health coverage eligibility verification services. Through a series of strategic innovations, she transformed the company in into an industry leading, award-winning healthtech provider that also provides data mining and machine learning solutions.

Alvin Hing and Paul Holaysan were brought together by their shared vision of improving food security in the country through advanced and sustainable pig farming practices to enhance livestock quality for breeding and consumption. Together, they founded Excelsior Farms, Inc. (EFI) in 2014. By investing in top-of-the-line equipment and software for EFI’s farm facility located in Cebu and offering free education on best practices to stakeholders, students and fellow farmers through their SWINEovation learning center, EFI aims to modernize the swine industry.

Henry Lim Bon Liong developed the first high-yield hybrid rice seed variety suited for the tropics, in line with his vision of transforming the Philippines into a rice self-sufficient nation. He established one of the country’s leading hybrid rice companies, SL Agritech Corp. (SLAC), in 2001, and has since empowered countless farmers by educating them on advanced agricultural methods that has led to increased yields and better rice quality. At present, SLAC’s commercialized hybrid rice seeds and rice products are being distributed locally and exported to countries in Asia, North America, and the Middle East.

Olivia Limpe-Aw faced numerous challenges when she took over her father’s company, Destileria Limtuaco & Co. Inc. (DLCI). But she rebuilt by expanding their exporting capabilities, bolstering the quality of their products, and improving labor-management relations. She continues to develop DLCI by establishing her own brands and ventures. Through hard work and determination, she has successfully sustained and developed her family’s legacy in the liquor business.

Jose P. Magsaysay, Jr. started Potato Corner with his partners in 1992 to make money on the side. By experimenting with a franchising business model and making business owning accessible, they have grown to over 1,000 kiosks, including 200 outlets in 11 countries. Today, they are diversifying their brand lineup by launching brands that sell food items that cater to different markets. Under his guidance and leadership, Potato Corner has become one of the leading brands in the food industry.

Sindulfo “Etchin” Sumagang persevered in growing his family’s small customs brokerage company, Oneworld Alliance Logistics Corp. (OALC), into one of the country’s preferred logistics firms. OALC takes pride in exceeding industry standards by providing enhanced service speed, completing in only two days what other companies need more than five days to accomplish. By focusing on winning clients from specific niches, OALC has become one of the top five custom brokerage companies in Manila, as well as one of the selected firms trusted by the Bureau of Customs with sensitive shipments.

Regan Sy believes that in the steel-trading business, trust is vital. He has embedded this value in his company, Regan Industrial Sales, Inc. (RISI), a market leading steel products importer. Guided by his values of honesty and transparency, RISI is committed to providing their clients with clear choices of steel quality and country of origin, in accordance with their specifications and budget. Over the years, RISI has leveraged on international partnerships with reputable mills in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, China U.A.E. and other origins, to provide innovative products and services to Filipino consumers.

Necisto U. Sytengco took over his father’s insurance company when he was just 16 years old. After college, he opened Sytengco Merchandising, a single proprietorship that initially focused on distributing electronic spare parts and later transitioned to the importation and trade of chemicals. The company’s portfolio today features over 3,000 products that serve various industries. Leveraging on his penchant for calculated risk-taking, he has grown SBS from a humble trading firm to one of the leading chemical distributors in the country.

Aivee Aguilar Teo is a dermatologist on a mission to build confidence and change the lives of Filipinos through her holistic approach to beauty and wellness. In her quest to revolutionize aesthetic medicine in the country, she established The A – Institute in 2017 to address all the medical and cosmetic needs of her patients, from dermatology to sleep medicine, sports medicine and nutrition. Her clinic offers a wide array of services, including painless, non-invasive procedures, physician-assisted robotic transplants and plastic surgery.

Rolandrei Viktor E. Varona dreamt of becoming a chef and run his own restaurant since he was a boy. He spent his young adult life saving up capital for his future business – fueling his determination with his dream. He remained undeterred even after failing his first business and made a huge comeback with Zark’s Burger in 2009. Zark’s Burgers quickly became the standard for affordable quality burgers and a go-to restaurant for the Filipino youth. In just 10 years, Zark’s Burgers grew from a humble 16-seater space to a franchise powerhouse boasting 60 branches nationwide.

Benjamin Yao was determined to help the country’s steel industry catch up with the rest of the world. He partnered with National Steel of Singapore and soon after, he built the country’s first modern rebar mill in Bulacan. Seeing the opportunity to further scale up his operations, Mr. Yao decided to operate mills in Batangas, Cebu, Misamis Oriental and Davao. SteelAsia is currently the Philippines’ flagship steel firm and is among the largest rebar manufacturers in Asia. With presence across the archipelago, its annual production reaches over 2 million metric tons, serving over 2,000 customers, including the country’s biggest property development companies.

From among these 15 entrepreneurs, one winner will be named the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2019 and will represent the country at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2020.

The SGV Foundation, Inc. established the Entrepreneur Of The Year program in the Philippines in 2003. The first winner of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines was Jollibee Foods Corp. President and CEO Tony Tan Caktiong, who went on to win the 2004 World Entrepreneur Of The Year award in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Other past awardees include Socorro “Nanay Coring” Cancio-Ramos, founder and general manager of National Book Store; Lance Y. Gokongwei, president and CEO of Cebu Air, Inc.; Senen 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 Chen, president of Bounty Fresh Food, Inc; Erramon I. Aboitiz, President and CEO of Aboitiz Power Corp.; Jaime I. Ayala, founder and CEO, Hybrid Social Solutions Inc.; Ben Chan, chairman of Suyen Corp.; Nix Nolledo, chairman and CEO of Xurpas, Inc.; and Natividad Cheng, chairperson and CEO of Multiflex RNC Philippines, Inc.

The 2019 search for the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines is conducted with the participation of the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine Business for Social Progress, and the Philippine Stock Exchange.

The official airline of the Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines 2019 is Philippine Airlines. Media sponsors are BusinessWorld and the ABS-CBN News Channel.

Banquet sponsors are Global Ferronickel Holdings, Inc., ICTSI, Jollibee, Robert Blancaflor & Groups, Inc., Manny O wines, Udenna Corporation, Universal Harvester and Uratex.

The winners of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2019 will be announced on Oct. 15 in an awards banquet at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel. The Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines will represent the country in the World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2020.

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

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