Lessons we Learn from the Entrepreneur of the Year 2012

We (hopefully) learn from our own experience. We also learn from the experience of others, both from those who failed and from successful Pinoy Entrepreneurs. Let’s see what we can pick up from the awardees in the recently-concluded search for the Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines 2012, organized and presented by Ernst & Young, which was announced on 18 October 2012 at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel.

Lack of pedigree does not bar success

Marvin Agustin worked as a restaurant waiter when he was 15 years old because of financial difficulties. He now owns a chain of successful restaurants. In the words of Marvin Agustin, “Wag sila matakot to achieve what they want to have in their lives. Wala magiging hadlang, poverty, challenges, even education, actually it’s just you yourself mag-determine kung mag succeed kayo.”

Turning failure to success

The founder of Phoenix Petroleum, Dennis Uy, was nominated this year but he didn’t win. His business venture at first seemed to be a losing endeavor. Three oil terminals were left useless with the failure of a joint venture to produce petroleum products. He shifted his strategy and the rest, as they say, is history. The oil terminals served as the nucleus for the Philippines’ fourth largest gas company, with 255 stations over the country and growing by the day.

Have the resolve to do it

Many are scared to try their hands at entrepreneurship because of the fear of failure. Maybe some people have the predisposition to become entrepreneurs [see also Characterizing Who Are Pinoy Entrepreneurs], but those who didn’t try would never find out. The recipient of the Small Business Entrepreneur Award, Jonathan Suy (Jomaray Pulp Packaging Industries) succinctly said: “Do not be afraid to try. Trying is the key for starting a business.You won’t know if it’s a success or not, but it’s much better to try.”

Helping others does not bar profits

The Entrepreneur of the Year 2012, social entrepreneur Jaime I. Ayala, heads a for-profit entity that employs creative deals to enable disadvantaged communities to use solar power. This venture illustrates that profit and social entrepreneurship are not mutually exclusive. Jaime I. Ayala pointed out that the company is profitable. “Because if we’re not profitable we can’t continue our work. But we look at profit as gas in the tank that allows us to go further and faster but it’s not our mission.”

Opportunities and challenges

Entrepreneurs are focused on opportunities, seeing one when others see scrap, literally and figuratively speaking. Small Business Entrepreneur awardee, Jonathan O. Suy (General Manager, Jomaray Pulp Packaging Industries), spotted an opportunity in making egg trays from recycled newspapers while he was working in an egg farm. Opportunity-spotting is difficult at the start but it becomes second nature through time and experience. It won’t be easy. Nevertheless, as the recipient of the Business Excellence Award, Raphael Juan, said: “There will be lot of roadblocks, a lot of setbacks, but if you have determination, perseverance, I’m sure you will succeed.”

The awardees: Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2012 (Jaime I. Ayala, Founder and CEO, Hybrid Social Solutions, Inc. [HSSI]); Small Business Entrepreneur (Jonathan O. Suy, General Manager, Jomaray Pulp Packaging Industries); Young Entrepreneur Award (Marvin Agustin, President, SumoSam Foods, Inc.); Woman Entrepreneur Award (Venus C. Genson, President and CEO, Art ‘N’ Nature Manufacturing Corp.); Emerging Entrepreneur Award (Tommanny Tan, President and CEO, Filipino Entrepreneurs & Resources Network [FERN], Inc.); Business Excellence Award (Raphael T. Juan, President, Centro Manufacturing Corp.); and Master Entrepreneur Award (Jose Victor P. Paterno, President and CEO, Philippine Seven Corp. [PSC]).

The other finalists are: Raul M. Ang (Maxima Machineries Incorporated, exclusive distributor of several international heavy equipment bus and truck brands); Antonette P. De Guzman and Carolina S. Osteria (ACM Landholdings, Inc., a real-estate developer which caters to overseas Filipino workers); Raoul Roberto P. Goco (Cyma Greek Taverna Co., a chain of restaurants that specializes in Greek and Mediterranean cuisine); Dr. Ronald P. Guzman (Medical Colleges of Northern Luzon, provider of medical education, with free education, board and lodging to orphans); Amelia O. Manas (Bruno’s Barbers, a 30-outlet chain that caters to both men and women, a barbershop that also offers beauty services); Nelson C. Par and Siu Ping Par (PR Gaz Haus, a convenience store for liquefied petroleum gas or LPG, and related products); Mariel Vincent A. Rapisura and Edwin M. Salonga (Social Enterprises Partnerships, Inc. [SEDPI], which provides training and financing to start-up businesses, microfinance institutions, social enterprises, overseas Filipino workers); Willy Q. Tee Ten (Autohub Group of Companies, which has dealerships for various automotive products and services); Dennis A. Uy (Phoenix Petroleum, which has currently has a network of 255 gas stations nationwide, making it the fourth largest oil company in the Philippines).

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