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Fanning the flames of entrepreneurial revolution

- Wilson Lee Flores () - August 25, 2003 - 12:00am
Entrepreneurs who create jobs and launch businesses are the true hope of the Filipino nation – not the politicians, lawyers or celebrity entertainers whom many people in our society idolize too much.

Businessmen, who are allowed to take risks in new ventures unobstructed by the shameless culture of corruption, can help save the estimated 32 million Filipinos in abject poverty who survive on a shocking P38-per-day. Rugged and innovative entrepreneurs can subvert the seemingly anti-business, corrupt, inefficient and nefarious values, which have shackled the Filipino nation’s creative energies since the dark years of Spanish colonial misrule.
Future Michael Dells And Jeff Bezos?
How can we create investment conditions that will nurture entrepreneurial trailblazers and horizon-chasers who can become like Michael Dell of Dell Computers, Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, Howard Schultz of Starbucks, Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc. and Steve Case of America OnLine? All of them were past winners of the prestigious "Entrepreneur of the Year" (EOY) award from the world’s second biggest auditing giant, Ernst & Young (E&Y).

But the future of the Philippine economy is not utterly hopeless. Two separate nationwide searches for the country’s best entrepreneurs were launched recently. One is by Entrepreneur Philippines Magazine and Johnnie Walker. The other is the EOY award by Ernst & Young, SGV Foundation and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

In the April 2003 issue of Entrepreneur Philippines, young entrepreneurs were cited for their inspiring success stories, with each one of them purveying a valuable piece of business advice.

Red Crabs restaurant chain owner, 29-year-old Raymond Magdaluyo advises, "You must have a product that will satisfy the needs of your market."

Architectural Augio Inc. owner, 34-year-old Louie Dabao’s advice is, "You can always lose money, but it is very important that you never lose the lesson."

Adrian Co, Dennis Yu and Ferdinand Tan, all in their early 30s and co-owners of Excelsior chain of spas, share this bit of wisdom: "Our secret is constant innovation. That has always been our strategy from the beginning."

Fuma Tobacco Retailers Inc. owner, 32-year-old David Almedral and Office Warehouse Inc. owner, 33-year-old George Lorenzana have the same advice: "Consumers want a wider selection of goods at the right prices."

Representatives from Summit Media’s Entrepreneur Magazine and co-presenter Johnnie Walker told The Philippine STAR in an exclusive interview that the awarding of the country’s 10 best entrepreneurs will be on Oct. 28 at Holiday Inn Galleria Manila (formerly Manila Galleria Suites).

Leading the screening committee are Satori Consultancy and the SGV Group. Out of 57 top contenders among the finest entrepreneurs in the country, 10 winners will be given recognition and their inspiring sagas will be the cover story of Entrepreneur Philippines’ November issue.

Why is international liquor brand Johnnie Walker co-presenting the Philippines’ newest and most prestigious awards for small and medium-scale entrepreneurs?

Diageo Philippines Inc. marketing director Victor Janolino and product manager Coleen Niguidula told The Philippine STAR that this venture is in honor of the pioneering entrepreneurial spirit of founder Johnnie Walker of Scotland, who was only 15 years old in 1820 when he established his scotch whiskey business. (Today, about 350,000 bottles of Johnnie Walker are being opened every day in 200 countries worldwide or five bottles per second, making it the world’s most beloved whiskey.)

Out of the 10 winners, a special Johnnie Walker major prize will be given to the most outstanding. Johnnie Walker executives explained that a special trophy will be given to the outstanding entrepreneur who personifies the three basic qualities of their liquor brand – pioneering, masculine and authentic.

When this writer asked if the word masculine might be misconstrued as chauvinist and politically incorrect in these modern times, product manager Coleen Niguidula replied, "Our use of the description ‘masculine’ for our brand and for the most outstanding entrepreneur does not refer to gender; it simply means confidence. It does not even mean aggressiveness, because this quality can be good or negative. When we say masculine, we signify confidence."
Can The Philippines Win The ‘Oscars’ Of World Business?
According to SGV Group official Atty. Rodolfo "Inky" Reyes, the Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) Award is a search for the most successful and innovative entrepreneurs in the Philippines. The goal is to bring forth role models for aspiring entrepreneurs.

"Nominations are welcome," Reyes said. "The original deadline of Aug. 20 has been extended to Sept. 22. A nominee must be an owner-manager of a privately held business that is at least two years old, and he/she must be primarily responsible for its recent performance. The founder of a publicly-held company is eligible if he or she is still active in top-level management."

There will be five categories for the EOY: Master Entrepreneur, Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year, Socially-Responsible Entrepreneur, Information Communications Technology Entrepreneur, and the Young Entrepreneur of the Year (for those below 30 years old).

An awards banquet night will be held in honor of the Philippine winners in January 2004. The winner of the EOY Award will represent the country in the World Entrepreneur of the Year Award in May or June in Monte Carlo, Monaco. (Inquiries or nominations can be directed to Entrepreneur of the Year project, SGV Foundation Inc., SGV Building, 6760 Ayala Avenue, Makati.)

The EOY award is described as "the Oscars of international business." Ernst & Young (E&Y) teamed up with SGV Foundation, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP), Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) and University of the Philippines-College of Business Administration (UP-CBA) to launch this project.

We should all join ranks in giving honor, encouragement and support to entrepreneurs, and not allow politicians, terrorists, radical labor unions and the scum of the earth to sabotage their ventures.

Hopefully, these entrepreneur awards will stoke the flames of entrepreneurial revolution throughout the Philippines.
* * *
Thanks for sending your numerous comments on the "Corruption Pinoy-Style" column. Your questions will be answered in a future column. Comments are welcome at wilson_lee_flores@yahoo.com or wilson_lee_flores@yahoo.com or P.O. Box 14277, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

ADRIAN CO COLEEN NIGUIDULA ENTREPRENEUR ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR ENTREPRENEUR PHILIPPINES ENTREPRENEURS ERNST JOHNNIE WALKER PHILIPPINES YEAR
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