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Last Nov. 24 was a night for the country’s biggest entrepreneurs. Held at the Meralco Theater for the first time, PLDT SME Nation, in partnership with Go Negosyo, hosted the MVP Bossing Awards, a gala that gathered together all past winners and other entrepreneurs as we declared the Bossings of 2012.
PLDT SME Nation put together a prestigious event that started with cocktails and ended in the wee hours of the morning with the after-party. The awards ceremony itself featured performances by the Philharmonic Orchestra and Powerdance, who unveiled a monumental replica of the MVP Bossing trophy created by renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue.
On behalf of my fellow judges, PLDT senior vice president Eric Alberto, 2011 Grand MVP Bossing Cecilio Pedro, and the Big Bossing himself, MVP Manny V. Pangilinan, we congratulate the 2012 Bossings.
The Grand MVP Bossing needs no introduction, and everyone that night agreed that the award was well deserved. She is none other than Socorro “Nanay Coring” Ramos, the matriarch behind National Book Store. As soon as her name was announced, the hall erupted with applause and Nanay got a standing ovation from the audience.
Nanay Coring was still as sharp as a tack and gave a great speech, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Apart from citing the maxim “sipag at tiyaga” as the key to success, Nanay Coring also used the ambition and vision of Steve Jobs as an example. To the crowd’s amusement, Nanay Coring even jokingly did a soft sell of Jobs’ latest biography book being available in National Book Store. National Book Store is the largest chain of bookstores in the country and is under the same company that gave us Powerbooks, Tower Records, Music One and Crossings.
Tennyson Chen is our second 2012 Bossing and is the founder of Bounty Fresh Food Inc. and Chooks-to-Go. When he set up the negosyo in 1997, he changed the industry of broiler chicken production as he introduced the modern systems that are now being used by the country’s poultry integrators. Tennyson’s business is now one of the largest broiler integrators in the Philippines.
Justin Uy of Profood first got the idea of selling dried mangoes when he was 19, so he set up his negosyo at home and started with 10 employees. With aggressive marketing efforts and innovative product development, Profood has become the country’s largest exporter of dried fruits and juices, with its Cebu Brand Dried Mangoes the star of its product line. Profood is now present in 40 countries, including the US.
RJ David, founder of Sulit.com.ph, also started his business at home through his personal computer. He asked, why not set up an online portal for classified ads? This would be a lot more convenient for the Internet-savvy market in finding just what they need. Soon, Sulit.com.ph would establish a global presence with currently more than 1.1 million members. It is also the number-one classified ads website in the country.
Felix Ang, president of CATS Motors, started as a small-time entrepreneur trading car accessories with a couple of employees. Being a risk-taking, opportunity-seeking entrepreneur, Felix decided to be more aggressive and started selling cars. CATS Motors is now the well-known distributor of some of the most luxurious car brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge. It is also the first and biggest car accessory and service center in the Philippines.
Willy Tee Ten, president of Autohub, was a second placer in the national licensure exam for chemical engineers, but somehow found his way to the industry of automotive trade instead. Introducing such concepts and practices as synergy sales, participation insurance, two technicians per unit, and extended warranties, as well as superior products and customer service, it has become one of the top auto service centers and dealers of such brands as Ford, Nissan, Hyundai and JMC Trucks.
Fern-C has definitely become a household brand, and the man behind it is Tommany Tan. As his first product, the brand was the main driver of his business and is now the leading supplement for vitamin C since 2006. Tommany grew his company through strategic marketing and networking, and has expanded the product line with FERN-Slim, FERNCoffee, and FERN I-flex.
Almost every Filipino family must know Max’s Restaurant; and it is under Robert Trota’s leadership that Max’s grew. By understanding consumer tastes and what the Filipino wants, Robert was able to expand to having more than 100 outlets nationwide and brought the brand overseas. Max’s now has nine branches in the States and has also made its way to the Middle East.
Just as it was with Robert Trota, it was because of Martin Lorenzo’s leadership that Pancake House, Inc. is seeing the success it enjoys today. Since his investor group took over in 2000, Martin has been able to grow the business to a network of 174 outlets, some of which are franchised. It takes innovation and excellent marketing to be able to make pancakes and waffles palatable to Filipinos, who prefer rice-based meals.
Many in the salon and beauty industry would recognize the brand name Hortaleza. This is because the business that Dr. Rosalinda Hortaleza started with her husband grew through the sale of nail care products like nail polish and cuticle remover. As the business grew, so did the product line, and soon they were selling various salon accessories and tools. Dr. Hortaleza thrived in the beauty industry so she set up a whole retail store offering a variety of beauty products and even launched her own brand. HBC currently has 200 branches.
Samie Lim is known as the Father of Philippine Franchising and president of Automatic Centre, the first distributor of appliances by popular American and European brands. Apart from building the brand of his appliance store, Samie also founded Blims Fine Furniture and is known today as a retail store for superior quality furniture.
Francis Juan set up what would be a favorite hangout spot for yuppies. Today, mention Pier One on a Friday night and almost every young professional would agree to go there to blow off steam over good food and beer. He is also the founder of what is now a fast-growing franchise, especially in Manila — Chic-Boy. Creatively branded, Chic-Boy (for chicken and baboy) has become another place for good friends to bond while dining on such specialties as Cebu lechon manok, Cebu lechon liempo, chicken inasal, sisig, and many more. Chic-Boy has 52 branches, 48 of which are franchised.
Congratulations also to special awardees Pacita Juan for her social enterprise, Echostore, a unique coffee shop that targets marginalized sectors; and to Phil and James Younghusband for their efforts in sports development through The Younghusband Academy.
We welcome all to the growing MVP Bossing family.