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Yesterday, America reshaped their history once more after voting for their next president and vice president. It is great to witness not only the San Francisco Giants winning their second championship in three years, but to see how the Americans cast their votes, as well as to meet and talk to Americans and FilAms on who they voted for and why. As of 8:30 pm San Francisco time, Obama is a clear winner as the major states voted for him. He is widely credited for his reforms such as the Obamacare program. Women definitely came out to vote for him as they saw that he did for women. Obama is good for America because we have seen what he has done and what he is still capable of. He did steer his country to more stable ground in 2008 during the world’s greatest financial crises. America still has its big problems and is still far from reaching a permanent solution, but having Obama at the driver’s seat for another four years will have a better chance of continuity on programs that work. This will be good for the Philippines as well, as Obama realizes that America cannot stop outsourcing from other countries.
Speaking of elections, there are people who are taking the elections seriously for more personal reasons. Let us not go far; some Filipinos l believe that the directions of their lives are dependent on the government. We will encounter people who will say that the government and its poor policies are to blame for their poverty. While there is some truth to this statement, blaming our misery on our government is not the right way to go. We must remember that our lives are still dependent on our own actions. If we just sit still and wail without doing anything; if we live beyond our means; or if we don’t persevere, nothing will happen to us. We at Go Negosyo continue to look for stories that inspire Filipinos that hard work and resilience are our most effective weapons against poverty. Let me share with you one such story.
Enrico “Rikki” Dee was the fifth of seven siblings. His parents are entrepreneurs, and he practically grew up in his parents’ lumberyard. At that time, their family was in saw milling, lumber and hardware retail. He would go down to the selling and milling area after school, and he recalls gathering sawdust and selling it at around 50 cents per sack. This habit started to influence him to dream of starting his own negosyo someday. Rikki’s first business was trading toys, combs, hairbrush, stockings, and the like. While working for his parents, he went ahead and became a garments subcontractor on the side. However, he aspired to have a different business, something that he could both enjoy and profit from.
Rikki’s love for eating inspired him to start his own food store. In the late 1980s, he and his wife Beng started a restaurant somewhere along Pasay Road. It was a small restaurant with a cook and two helpers in the kitchen. Despite his background in business, he encountered his share of problems while he was starting out. He had to be hands-on with everything: from getting a lease, his restaurant’s layout design, hiring, getting suppliers, product development, training, operations, treasury, and accounting, among others. But there was this one incident that taught him one of the greatest lessons that he has learned in business. There was a time when Rikki’s only cook got scolded for something. The next day, the cook didn’t report for work, which caused the restaurant to close down for a few days. It was the hardest part for him, because getting a cook is not easy. He vowed that it woulg never happen again, and this incident taught him the value of having contingency plans.
His perseverance paid off, and Rikki’s restaurant did well, attracting loyal customers. One of them is SM’s magnate Henry Sy, who would usually turn up at his doorstep just a few minutes before closing time, and would order a certain soup, which he really loved. Sy believed in the restaurant so much that he offered Rikki a spot in his new mall’s food court, in North Edsa. This became the turning point in Rikki’s life, and from running that hole-in-the-wall restaurant in Pasay, his business grew to a major company employing more than a thousand people in his chain of fast food and restaurants nationwide. At this point, whenever a cook does not make it to work, his restaurants are well-covered.
Rikki’s experience in the food industry made him realize that an entrepreneur should be willing to take calculated risks. One should always be willing to learn and continue learning, and should be well-rounded in all aspects of his business. But more importantly, an entrepreneur should not easily give up from failures, as these mistakes would teach a useful thing or two. Aside from being the President and CEO of Foodlink, he has also formed Central Group, a company specializing in real estate development, more specifically in food court and commercial/residential space development in the suburban areas. This year, Foodlink is embarking on a new direction to bring in several foreign food franchises. These movements allow him to help more people by employing them to take the company to the next level.
For Rikki, resiliency and following one’s passion is important to succeed. His story is a proof that any business will work, as long as you work hard for it and you face your challenges squarely. Opportunity comes and goes, so one must be ready to grab it when it comes. And because we are at the time where opportunity seems abundant, I asked him if he also believed that now is our time. He replied:
“Our company’s driving principle has always been to “STRIKE WHILE THE IRON IS HOT!”, and the perfect time is NOW na! Our company is continuously in search of bigger and brighter ventures to ensure that we are bringing the world closer to many Filipinos. As such, we have anchored all efforts into making a nationwide impact with our different brands through restaurant franchising and community malls developments and consequently inculcate the value of entrepreneurship with our fellow Filipinos.”
On November 21, we will have the Managing Enterprising Families Program at the Manila Polo Club in partnership with the ACE Center for Entrepreneurship and Management Education. This is a good opportunity for families with their own negosyos to improve and go beyond the traditional family business set-up. Speakers include Entrep Guru Andy Ferreria and Ricky Mercado. Call Go Negosyo at 637.9229 for more details.
Following the overwhelming success of the first joint project last year, Go Negosyo and Villar Foundation will mount the 2nd OFW and Family Summit on November 22. Villar Foundation has been at the forefront in protecting OFWs abroad, and now their organization is empowering them and their families with a better mindset and knowhow to succeed through entrepreneurship, for them to have a better future while within our country.