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Go Negosyo has come a long way since we started out more than seven years ago. From being an advocacy with a handful of successful entrepreneurs, we are now beginning to be a movement that encourages an enterprising mindset among Filipinos. This year marks a milestone for all of us in the organization, as we further strengthened the call for our countrymen to be more entrepreneurial through the “Pilipinas: Now is Our Time!” campaign. More than that, we are bringing our programs closer to the people, by starting to hold one of our major summits across the country.
Tomorrow, we will be having the Go Negosyo Youth Entrepreneurship Summit in Mandaue City, Cebu. For this, we are fortunate to be working with the group of one of our longtime advocates, Jay Aldeguer of Islands Souvenirs. Sacred Heart High School Batch ‘87, where Jay is a part of, is celebrating their 25th year. And together with their homecoming chairman John DyTian and other officers, they thought of doing something that will make a difference. They have lined up a series of activities, including building Gawad Kalinga houses sponsored by their batch and this joint project with Go Negosyo to mount the Youth Summit which will be open for FREE to all the youth from other schools in Cebu and even the out-of-school youth.
This will be a one-day summit, filled with learning and inspiration. I will join the Sacred Heart Alumni Association president Edmun Liu of Cebu’s Basic Graphics Inc., as well as NYC chairman Leon Flores III in opening the summit. We will also feature two fora to inspire the young entrepreneurs; one from the Go Negosyo entrepreneurs in Manila such as Tommanny Tan, Cristalle Henares, Ray Gapuz, Fred Moreno, and Haresh Hiranand who owns many Jollibee and Mang Inasal franchises, and another forum with Cebu’s inspiring young entrepreneurs. We will also be hearing from powerful speakers and Go Negosyo Angelpreneurs Henry Tenedero, Pax Lapid, Armand Bengco, and Mike Lobrin to give the students an idea on how best to succeed in life, what kind of attitude to have, how to master self, and leveraging on one’s strength and passion. There will be a session too on gaining basic know-how to succeed in business.
Young people need someone they can look up to, and just like how we did it in the past, we will be awarding 10 young inspiring individuals who can serve as role models for the youth of Cebu. Let me share a short background on each of these young negosyantes:
Jandrick Climaco must have acquired his sense of style from his mother, who was a prominent fashion designer in Cebu. Unlike his peers, this 27-year old man focused on making it big in the industry through his Fushu Shoes, which means kung fu or funky shoes. He did not undergo any formal training in shoe designing; instead, he got help from people and friends in the industry. He had his own share of challenges during the course of running the business, but his perseverance kept him inspired.
Together with his business partner Dennis Paolo Mendoza, Don Edrian Tirol introduced a hip concept to Cebu City – 93rd and 1st, which is a bar, lounge, and a radio station rolled into one. Their first meeting a while back was surreal, having traced that their parents are actually good friends despite the fact that they haven’t really known each other. One time, after finishing two bottles of Johnny Walker, they saw an opportunity to work together, starting with producing dance-and-club related events, until they put up the bar in 2010.
Jan Rodriguez was a self-taught cook. His skills were honed by his love for food, and his loyal fans were his wife and kids. But in 2002, he decided to take his passion for flavor to the next level by putting up ilaputi in Lahug, Cebu City. It is a cozy restaurant, which boasts of its interiors as well as its Asian and fusion flavors. Ilaputi started a trend in Cebu, with many other food establishments getting inspiration from Jan’s restaurant. Just recently, he opened Irie, a gastropub that is named after his son.
Ken and Kaz Onozawa are creative brothers, having lived their lives in Cebu City. Fresh from their studies in the US, they decided to go back to the Philippines and established Rhipstop Soul Clothing, a company that promotes original and trendy street designs that are pure Filipino. Their retail outlets outside the country effectively placed the Philippine urban culture on the global map.
Speaking of creativity, 21-year old Rachel Arandilla’s passion was also in the arts, and her trips to different lomography shops abroad inspired not only her creativity but also her enterprising spirit. Cebu is brimming with creative individuals, and she thought of putting up a café where they can hang out. Just this year, she opened Sprockets Café, a hub for young people to unwind at over coffee and milk tea drinks. But more than the ambience, her café showcases different cameras and films used in photography, as well as a “freedom wall” where people can post messages and other announcements.
Mynimo.com’s Wesley Chiongbian is an entrepreneur who believed that technology should be able to help his fellow Cebuanos in their quest for a better life, such as finding a good job opportunity. After graduating from college, he went back to Cebu where one of his first jobs was with the Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF). He used his employment experience as a stepping-stone to establish his own business, and in 2006, Mynimo.com was born. Today, it is now one of the award-winning job posting sites in Cebu, helping thousands secure jobs.
After getting a Culinary Arts degree from the Culinary Institute of America in 1993, Derek Dytian was expected to take over their family business. However, his desire to make a name of his own prompted him to start his own catering business that provides a different experience by offering themed services. He started in March 1998 with only four employees. Because of his determination, Creative Cuisine Catering Services has now grown into one of the most sought-after catering services in Cebu. It is also worthy to mention that Derek only accepts applicants who finished high school, as he feels that these individuals should also be given the chance to succeed.
Bazaars have been a shopping point for most women, but for Diane Uy, it has been a constant source of fascination. One day in 2004, an opportunity to put up a bazaar-type business came, and she immediately grabbed it by opening What a Girl Wants. She left her job as the head for Administration of an STI franchise, and with the help of her family, she was able to make the business grow. As proof of her success, she was recognized as one of Cebu Chamber of Commerce’s Young Entrepreneur awardees of 2011.
One of Cebu’s famous personalities is Renault Lao, who is both an entrepreneur and a sports buff. His Penthouse at the Loft is a revolutionary club that changed the way Cebuanos celebrate. The establishment has also been a host to a lot of local and international performances, which sets the bar standards higher in delivering the ultimate experience.
Finally, Dan Legarde was an advocate of healthy eating. He knew that Cebuanos loved eating, but he doesn’t want them to forget about their health. Thus, in 2009, he established Japengo, a Japanese-style restaurant in Parkmall, which offers diners healthy but affordable options. He was also the man behind Beat, a progressive dance bar founded seven years ago that is found right at the heart of Cebu.