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As Go Negosyo turns eight this year, I would like to give tribute to eight stories of victory. They are eight of the many entrepreneurs out there who gave us the opportunity and privilege to be part of their journey towards success.
Edgar â€˜Injapâ€™ Sia
I first met Injap in 2008 in Iloilo. It was Go Negosyoâ€™s first encounter with him after our search for the Most Inspiring Ilonggo Entrepreneurs. Without a doubt, his Mang Inasal story is one of the most iconic Negosyo success stories in the Philippines.
People are always amazed to find out that this strong franchise started in a 250-square-meter space in the province of Iloilo. They are even more surprised when they find out that a 26-year-old Injap started Mang Inasal in 2003. He is the first to offer a fastfood-type of Iloilo chicken â€˜inasalâ€™ barbeque to the market. Working harder than ever and overcoming countless of challenges, Mang Inasal branches and franchises spread like wildfire to over 300 branches all over the country in seven years. In 2010, he made another hallmark. He sold 70 percent of Mang Inasal to Jollibee for a whopping P3 billion.
â€œFor a few years now, I have been supporting some of Go Negosyoâ€™s projects that I think will have long term meaningful impact to other budding entrepreneurs. Budding entrepreneurs needs some lift because I know how difficult it is to start and grow a business in a very mature and competitive market, and we need more business builders that will create more decent jobs for our fellow Filipinos,â€ says Injap.
â€œWay back six years ago, when my business venture was still on start-up stage, I was one of the recipients of Go Negosyoâ€™s Most Inspiring Entrepreneur Award. At that time,Mang Inasal was still small and I can still remember how happy I was to get that award. It was one the things that inspired me to strive even harder in my entrepreneurship journey,â€ he added.
Justinâ€™s sweet success is from Profood International Corporationâ€™s dried mangoes.
I value his immeasurable support in Go Negosyo endeavors. Every time that we organize our summits and caravans in Cebu, he always warmly accommodates us. His continuous support in or advocacy especially in the recent book of 50 Inspiring Stories of Agri-entrepreneurs would always be part of Go Negosyo history.
Justin shared with me that he believes in the vision of Go Negosyo to empower many Filipinos to move up in life and beat poverty. He said that while our stories are presented in various Go Negosyo seminars to inspire others, he admits that he is the one that gets inspired when he meets eager micro entrepreneurs because he said he was once like them many years ago.
Entrepreneurship runs in the blood of Justinâ€™s family. But they came from very humble beginnings. He was 19 years old when he started the business in Cebu with his family in 1978. Justin, together with his 10 siblings, peeled and processed the fresh mangoes into dried fruit.
Selling dried mangoes locally was never easy for the young student. Before and after classes, his time was occupied by the business. That was the reason why he had more years to finish his course. Like other business ventures, he underwent a lot of trials and errors just to reach his goals. He remains humble and courageous.
Today, Profood and its subsidiaries all over the Philippines process 950 tons of fresh mangoes per day, which is equivalent to five million pieces of fresh mangoes. And the business now includes other fruits.
I first met Alvin in 2008. He received an award from Go Negosyo and Nokia for being the most innovative mobile technopreneur in that competition. Then, he was already a 24-year old president of his own company.
We, in Go Negosyo, have witnessed how he started his entrepreneurial journey as the co-founder of Technominds. Alvin says, â€œI believe in Go Negosyoâ€™s objective of promoting entrepreneurship especially to the youth. In fact, I for one was a direct beneficiary of a Go Negosyo-Nokia program last 2008. We were blessed to have won the competition and our lives have never been the same since then. By being part of Go Negosyoâ€™s advocacy programs, this has given me an avenue to give back and contribute to the society through mentorship and promotion of entrepreneurship.â€
Because we believe in young entrepreneurs like him, we have invited Alvin to share his story. He has been featured in our 50 Inspiring Stories of Young Entrepreneurs, one of the active panellists in our Negosyo seminars and caravans including the recent Filipino Technopreneurship Summit.
Joel and Marissa Yala
It was a proud moment for us to learn that this negosyante-couple has been following Go Negosyo since our early years. Joel attended the launch of our very first book in National Bookstore Megamall in 2006. He has been reading the rest of our books, watching our TV program, and attending some of our seminars ever since.
A few weeks ago, he was a guest at our radio program. Our executive director Mon Lopez was very much surprised when Joel showed him the book he bought from that launch in 2006. It has all the sidenotes and underlines from repeated reading, and it has autographs, which he collected during the launch from the featured entrepreneurs in the book.
Joel is no stranger to the value of hard work. He was a tricycle driver and a construction worker before he had the chance to pursue a vocational mechanical course. He also used to be an employee in an electronic semiconductor firm for 12 years.
Joel and Marissa made their first batch of polvoron in their home kitchen with around P8,000 capital. Back then, they were able to produce 10 packs a day. At present, with a production plant that produces 3,000 packs a day, Chocovron Global Corporation has grown and expanded its reach to the global market. With the right entrepreneurial mindset, he was passionate in always innovating and introducing products that have unique proposition like the chocolate-enrobed polvoron, and polvoron with natural and organic ingredients like malunggay, or ampalaya. He credits enabler government agencies which also helped him along the way like the DOST, DTI and DA.
Joel and Marissa Yalaâ€™s story proves that inspiration and continuous learning go a long way. This is one of the strongest beliefs of our advocacy.
To Injap, Justin, Alvin and Joel/Marissa, your willingness to share your stories, know-how and blessings to other aspiring and small entrepreneurs is what motivates Go Negosyo to pursue its advocacy to reach out to more Filipinos in need.
Our tribute continues with the four other stories of success in next weekâ€™s column.