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I belong to a list of more or less 30 Concepcions who are third-generation entrepreneurs. My cousin Renna Hechanova-Angeles, vice chairman of Concepcion Durables, is the eldest among us. Our fourth generation is comprised of around 60 young Concepcions.
Concepcions are very much bonded as a clan. We are independent-minded and also quite argumentative. Despite this, the family continues to be close. Needless to say, Concepcions are also very naturally entrepreneurial. “The underlying spirit behind it is common sense — the ability to discern what the consumer needs and wants, which is not found in the academic world,” Renna expressed.
My grandfather, Jose Concepcion Sr., founded Concepcion Industries at the age of 60. He used to work as an accountant for an American multinational company called Edward J. Nell. He rose to become the first Filipino president of a foreign company. Then, he started Concepcion Industries when he retired.
Our grandfather had four children: my father, Jose Jr., and his twin brother Raul, my aunt Mely and my uncle Rene, who passed away at the age of 62. The three families at present control the company. My dad, uncle and aunt are now in their late 70s.
Renna’s mother, Mely Concepcion-Hechanova, shared a similar view with her daughter. “I want to be remembered as a person who uses common sense in every physical or mental activity. One need not obtain a college degree or study in the USA to succeed. All that is needed is for one to use their common sense.”
Uncle Raul was instrumental in helping his father bring Concepcion Industries to where it is today. He then also decided to pursue his own ventures, as he was an avid entrepreneur.
While I sit as the director of the ExeCom, the company is being managed quite well by my cousins Renna, Ton, Jojo and Raffy.
“Our parents have always and continuously instilled in us the value of hard work and discipline,” explained Jojo, son of Uncle Raul. “By exposing us to the business at an early age, not only do we experience firsthand the values they have taught us, but we also learn to appreciate the legacy of our family, which we will eventually be responsible for.”
Jojo is the president of the Concepcion Carrier Airconditioning Co. His daughter Maita, who is in now in college, also started her own business of selling custom-made headbands and headpieces.
Jojo’s brother, Ton, also pretty much sums up how a typical Concepcion thinks: “I love being an entrepreneur. Creating something from nothing is very rewarding. Watching your idea grow and bear fruit gives me such a great sense of fulfillment. I love challenges. I love thinking out of the box and doing things differently. Creating new businesses is fun. There is and has always been a burning desire in me to prove that life did not just hand me a silver platter. Nothing was given to me for free. What I had was opportunity. And that I took the risk and put in the hard work to make the most of every opportunity that came my way to create something out of nothing.”
Ton’s 12-year-old daughter Isabel also bakes and sells cupcakes and cookies. Isabel used her profits to buy baking equipment and a guitar. She also donated some to help the Ondoy victims.
My other cousins, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters and the rest of the Concepcions have their own business ventures. One of the many examples is my sister Michelle. Her Michelle’s Handmade Putong Ube started from the recipe she made with her mother-in-law.
Uncle Raul was also active in his various advocacies, especially in the Consumer and Oil Price Watch. My father will forever be known as well for his role during NAMFREL. He is my inspiration in starting Go Negosyo.
The essence for all family enterprises is to play a role in nation building, instead of ending up in court suits and family fights. There are many family corporations that end up negatively. It all starts from jealousy or mismanagement. For the large corporations, real tagumpay is to be able to maintain the family relationships and closeness. The challenge is also to share the company’s growth with the community through advocacies that help those who are at the bottom of the pyramid.
The Concepcion clan hopes to see lesser family members in the company and help the younger generations make their own mark by starting their own businesses. We are proud of the fourth generation of Concepcion entrepreneurs. One example is a business that my son Christian and his cousin Mike started. It is a “socially aware” clothing line called Greater Good.
“We put up this type of business because we want to not just create awareness for certain social issues such as the need for education and the issues of poverty, hunger and environment in our country, but to also educate our consumers and to present it to them in a way that they can live a better and sustainable lifestyle and also support these certain causes in our world,” my son relayed. “And with this business, it is also a way for us to give back to society and feel good about what we are doing without sacrificing having fun and actually doing something that I am passionate about.” Spoken like a true Concepcion.
“Having a dad like mine, it’s a tough act to follow — in a good way,” shares Mike. “From listening in on my dad’s endless business conversations on the phone to small talk over dinner turning into Marketing and Advertising 101, it’s instilled in my blood the drive to start a business that just feels right. This notion pushed me to start young, early enough to get a head start and to learn the business hands-on. I’ve been so lucky to be exposed to the business side of things at such a young age and to have a family that supports all of my endeavors and continually pushes me to reach my fullest potential.” Mike is the son of my brother John, who runs Selecta.
My niece, Erica, also produces and designs her own limited-edition jewelry and accessories, which she branded Riqueza. “The Concepcions have an indomitable, undying, and pioneering spirit,” says Erica. “When a Concepcion is passionate about something, he will take action and do something about it. He will take it to the next level. ‘Obsessed with achieving excellence,’ ‘inexhaustibly energetic’ and ‘pioneering’ are traits that have been passed down from generation to generation.”
My cousin Rica is also very proud of her entrepreneurial daughters: 20-year-old Carsy and eight-year-old Natalia. Carsy would buy clothes from the ukay-ukay, then improve and fix the outfits for selling. Because of her love for vegetables, Natalia started planting in their garden at home. She ended up selling them and used the profit to set aside savings and to buy more seeds for planting.
The negosyo bug has bitten them. Hopefully, these young kids will be able to follow in the footsteps of their parents and grandparents. They will succeed in their own way. But in the end, it is their attitude that will count.
God has blessed our family with so much in life. He has blessed us with parents who have mentored us to become what and who we are today. Wealth is nothing if the family is broken. The pledge of the older generations is to ensure that the fourth generation will continue to live by the legacy of our parents and the founders of our family business. It is certainly a challenge, but it can be done with proper mentoring, proper structure in the company, and a deep sense of family spirit and commitment to our country.
I am a Concepcion who is proud to be a Filipino. I also pledge to do all that I can to be a good citizen and to help our fellow brothers and sisters fight poverty and reach tagumpay.
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Join me on Facebook and visit www.gonegosyo.net. Watch the Go Negosyo: Kaya Mo! show on QTV every Saturday and Sunday at 8-8:30 a.m., with replays on NBN every Tuesday from 9:15-10:15 p.m.