Monday, September 26, 2011

What makes an entrepreneur a STARpreneur? TAGUMPAY By Joey Concepcion (The Philippine Star) September 26, 2011

What makes an entrepreneur a STARpreneur? by Joey Concepcion

Last Friday, we celebrated the third Go Negosyo Young Entrepreneurs Summit at the World Trade Center. We were overwhelmed by the more than 15,000-plus micro and small entrepreneurs and students who participated, with some even coming from Batangas and Laguna. On behalf of the team, I would like to thank Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, former Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro and Manny Pangilinan for helping us spread inspiration during our event.
The summit was both educational and inspiring with the help of notable speakers that included Josiah Go, Mike Enriquez, Michael Angelo Lobrin, Henry Tenedero, Roselle Ambubuyog and Bro. Bo Sanchez.
Go Negosyo Trustee Esther Vibal and Tennyson Chen also joined other entrepreneurship advocates such as CHED chair Particia Licuanan, DTI Usec. Meryl Cruz, NYC chair Usec. Leon G. Flores III, Edgardo Herbosa, and our Young STARpreneur awardees in a morning forum, where they shared advice on how they achieved success to those starting their negosyos.
Meanwhile, Go Negosyo trustees Rosalind Wee, Prudencio Garcia and Felix Ang also celebrated with us and were part of the program to show their support of the entrepreneurship advocacy.
In the afternoon, young and successful entrepreneurs Bam Aquino, Kenneth Cobonpue, Dylan Wilk, Illac Diaz, RJ David and Mr. Mang Inasal himself, Edgar “Injap” Sia II, also shared their personal stories of struggles and triumph to empower the youth to venture into entrepreneurship. Apart from the lessons, the audience was also treated to entertainment by Morissette Amon, Sam Concepcion, and Gab Valenciano. The crowd went crazy when Phil and James Younghusband took the stage to share words of encouragement and give out footballs to cheering fans.
Simultaneous with the program was an exhibit of around 400 booths featuring various business models from our hardworking negosyantes. Due to the large crowd that filled our Negosem (Negosyo Seminar) rooms in past summits, we decided to set up two areas this year. We had the Negosem Room, where the essentials of putting up a negosyo were were highlighted, and the NegoSkills room where we featured potential businesses that young people can venture into, such as online blogging, culinary arts, and tattoo, among others. We at Go Negosyo are very positive that investing in the youth, who will shape tomorrow’s entrepreneurship landscape, is worth all the hard work.
One of the highlights of the event was the awarding of the 15 Young STARpreneurs in partnership with The Philippine STAR. This year, we are recognizing 15 young entrepreneurs who have stood out in their respective fields and showed that despite the many challenges that the youth face, entrepreneurship is the way to go.
Most of our Young STARpreneurs turned their respective hobbies into businesses. Clang Garcia of Jeepney Tours is committed to providing a unique and meaningful impression of the Philippines using the jeepney, our signature mode of transport.
The concept of Old Manila Walks was inspired by Ivan Man Dy’s personal advocacy of promoting cultural heritage. 
Jen Real-Lim of Orange Dance Studio graduated with a degree in interior design, but her love for dance inspired her to change lives through the discipline of dance.
Meanwhile, Alexander “Xander” Angeles of Edge of Light Studios reminds fellow entrepreneurs that it does not pay to be a jack-of-all-trades; rather, the rewards go to those who are masters of one.
GJ Jimenez capitalized on his wife Maricel’s baking skills to put up Banapple, now a famous stop for foodies looking for the tastiest Apple Caramel Crumble pie and other desserts.
Then there are those who went on and addressed what the market lacks. Kathleen Kaye Garcia provided innovation in the local undergarment industry with the establishment of Hot Pink Lingerie.
Meanwhile, Peter Chen & Juliet Herrera of Serenitea altered the beverage market by introducing tea and its benefits to Filipinos looking for a healthier alternative to coffee.
We also recognized young negosyantes who have found great success not only in business but also in helping the community. Antonio Tiu of AgriNurture revealed that his negosyo of buying and selling agricultural produce was born out of the burning desire to provide a solution to Filipinos’ everyday challenges, such as the food shortage, energy crisis and lack of access to funds.
Young moms Denise Gonzales & Monica Eleazar of INDIGObaby continue to carry locally manufactured products by fellow “mom-preneurs” like themselves who share their advocacies of attachment parenting, breastfeeding and green living.
Krie Lopez of Messy Bessy, which carries environment-friendly household-care products, aims to employ, train, and rehabilitate at-risk young adults through the organization HOUSE (Helping Ourselves through Sustainable Enterprise).
Meanwhile, Martina Manas, Enzo Banson, Katrina Tecson, and Ezra Capucion enlisted the community of women in Nasugbu, Batangas, to weave the Twillery’s Papelle, the woven, laminated newspaper bags that are pretty enough to be carried around.
Making their mark in the beauty and wellness industry are Cristalle Henares of Belo Essentials and Lourd Ryan Ramos of Creations By Lourd Ramos Salon.
Cristalle, the daughter of doctor to the stars Vicki Belo, continues to fulfill her mother’s dream of making the Philippines “the most beautiful country in the world one person at a time” by developing effective, high-quality beauty products at an affordable rate.
Lourd, on the other hand, quipped that given his name, he wanted to create beautiful things. His business mantra was to make people “happy and fabulous.”
Lastly, we have Young STARpreneurs who reaped rewards pushing on despite great challenges. Kim Lato proved that age is nothing but a number by establishing Kimstore: Your Trusted Online Gadget Store at a tender age of 18.
Meanwhile, Lester Lagos of The Urban Frog refused to allow his hearing impairment to stop him from reaching his dreams of becoming a graphic designer and successful entrepreneur.
We hope that these Young STARpreneurs will serve as inspiration for more young Filipinos who dream of being an entrepreneur one day. They are living proof that no one is too young to be a successful negosyante. Truly, success can be achieved by working hard and believing in one’s dreams.

Think green, Think business By the Go Negosyo team (The Philippine Star) September 22, 2011

          MANILA, Philippines - Living a healthy, organic lifestyle while carefully watching one’s carbon footprint seems to be the mantra of young, hip professionals nowadays. But for the owners of Serenitea, The Twillery Inc. and AgriNurture, Inc. living green was more than just a status symbol; it was the beginning of a successful venture.
Over the past few years, tea has slowly gained a steady number of followers that swear by its health benefits, from the idea that it’s a calming beverage to the fact that it’s good for one’s cardiovascular and immune systems.
          Knowing all this but also seeing that there weren’t any teashops catering to the Filipino market, Peter Chen and Juliet Herrera decided it was time to open one.
          The two looked to Taiwanese teashops for inspiration but with Filipino tastes in mind. After playing around with different concepts, they settled on a winner and Serenitea opened its first branch in San Juan in 2008.
          With various tea-based drinks on their menu costing anywhere from P95 to less than P200, Serenitea had unwittingly created a new trend. Peter and Juliet had the initial hurdle of trying to convince hard-line coffee and soda drinkers that tea was a healthier alternative, but within several months after opening, other shops started offering their own versions.
          Translation? Their initial venture was such a success that others just felt the need to go right ahead and copy it. Peter and Juliet aren’t sweating it, though. Each new competition that pops up is taken as an opportunity for them to improve their product and services, which in turn, would mean more happy customers.
          In the last three years, Serenitea has already opened eight branches all around the metro. With two more planned within the end of the year, this little tea shop that could is well on its way to realizing its dream of becoming the market leader in the industry.

Paper bags for the eco-conscious fashionista
          The Twillery Inc. is the brainchild of a group of friends —Martina Manas, Enzo Banson, Katrina Tecson, and Ezra Capucion —while they were all classmates at the School of Management Business Accelerator Program at the Ateneo de Manila University.
          As part of the program, students are invited to present business ideas to the school’s faculty, with those deemed to have the most potential to succeed being accepted. But more than just financial success, the program rewards business models that benefit small communities and preserves the environment.
          Twillery’s idea of using woven old newspapers to create fashion-forward handbags was one of those chosen to take part in the program. While the concept is a familiar one, what with the plethora of other eco-friendly bags already out in the market, the use of old newspapers made it a novelty.
          On top of that, they were the first to think of using synthetic leather and metal fixtures as accents for the bags, giving it a haute couture look.
          So with a song in their heart, a pep in their step and P50,000 capital, these friends set about looking for a community of weavers and a bag maker to bring their dreams to fruition.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy as it sounded.
          “Our first challenge was looking for a bag maker. No one wanted to handle newspaper in the beginning. A lot of bag makers refused us because they did not want to go through the hassle of sewing on newspaper,” said Martina, Twillery president and head of marketing.
          With a little more legwork, though, the founders of Twillery were finally able to convince a bag maker in Marikina to produce their goods while a community in Nasugbu, Batangas was chosen to weave the newspapers.
          Dubbing their woven goods Papelle, Martina and her friends initially relied on their other friends and family members to sell the products, emphasizing their uniqueness and durability (thanks to the lamination process that each bag undergoes before being unveiled to the public).
          It worked. In fact, it worked really well. They were able to exceed their sales forecast within the first few months of their launch in July 2010. They also decided to join bazaars to get a feel for their clientele and soon their bags were also being consigned to other boutiques.
         While the road traveled was slightly bumpy, the end result was worth all the trouble as the group came out with the highest sales among their classmates and was even given a bronze award by the Young Entrepreneurs Awards of HSBC for the year 2010 to 2011.
The veggie man cometh
          Antonio Tiu wants you to make healthier choices.
          To realize his dream, this 36-year-old Chinese-Filipino trained his business sights onto the agricultural sector. After all, he reasoned, if you wanted people to eat smarter, you’d have to start straight from the source.
          In 1997, guided by principles learned in business school and through his exposure to the entrepreneur community, Antonio launched AgriNurture Inc. (ANI).
          In the beginning, ANI operated by simply providing farmers the means to get their produce to the market. Pretty soon, however, it dawned on Antonio that it was not enough if he truly wanted to address concerns of food shortage.
          So he decided it was time to take a more holistic approach. Instead of just getting the fresh produce to the market, how about getting it straight into people’s homes?
          This meant, of course, that he and his company would have to be more involved in the process; from farming to packaging to distribution. Antonio lovingly called it “an effective tool for nation-building.”
          Now, ANI has grown by leaps and bounds. It may have started out as simply one man’s desire to eat fresher produce, but a little over ten years down the road and it is now officially listed at the Philippine Stock Exchange and currently exporting locally grown fruits and vegetables to international markets.
          Tomorrow, Antonio, Peter and Juliet and the founders of The Twillery Inc., are set to be honored, along with other entrepreneurs all over the country, at the Go Negosyo Young STARpreneurs Awards as part of this year’s Young Entrepreneurs Summit.