In the Philippines, entrepreneurship is highly regarded as being important to stimulating economic growth and a key to innovation. It also provides job opportunities which are vital for people to improve their economic lot. The emergence of many young and successful entrepreneurs augurs well not only for the nation, but for the future of the youths whose exploits will certainly revolutionise the lives of many. Here, Top 10 of Asia takes a look at its list of the top 10 young and inspiring Filipino entrepreneurs, presented in no particular order, who have taken the plunge into entrepreneurship and have achieved great success in their respective fields.
Carl Ocab, at the age of 12, started tinkering with the Internet. He created information websites and forums. By age 13, he started carlocab.com. After a few months, the website hit the top spot of Google for a highly coveted keyword in its niche. It was at this time that various media outlets noticed him. Today, he has turned carlocab.com into one of the highest caliber internet marketing agencies, putting businesses on the map online.
Earl Patrick Forlales and Zahra Halabisaz Zanjani
The housing crisis is one of the major problems facing the Philippines. Earl Patrick Forlales and Zahra Halabisaz Zanjani seek to tackle this problem as the co-founders of Cubo, a company that designs and constructs bamboo houses in just four hours. It is a fast and easily deployable solution. The original design for the units was inspired by the bamboo huts that Forlales’ grandparents had built. Cubo also supports community housing which is a larger scale model.
Georgianna is a serial entrepreneur currently based in the Philippines. She is the founder and owner of three companies: Fetch! Naturals, a line of all natural pet care products made out of 100% plant Aqueous Extract, MyOffice Philippines, one of the first Filipino owned and operated virtual office in the country for mobile workers and Permitly PH, an online platform to help entrepreneurs start a business in the Philippines. Through Fetch! Naturals, she is able to spread awareness in the Philippines when it comes to pet care and using natural alternatives. With MyOffice, she is active in the local start-up community, supporting entrepreneurs by giving them an affordable alternative when it comes to office space and support services. The goal of Permitly is to help entrepreneurs with the processes when it comes to starting a business in the country.
Kenn Costales is the founder and CEO of Monolith Growth Consulting, a growth marketing agency that enables CEOs and owners of global and regional eCommerce and SaaS companies to grow traffic, conversions and sales at a CPA that unlocks scale. It has served over 30 clients with a growth management team covering paid acquisition, conversion rate optimization, content marketing and conversion-based design. As a self-funded business with no investors, it prioritises its customers’ success, which has led to over 90% of clients retaining its services on a monthly basis.
Ronson Culibrina is a visual artist who works mostly in paintings, sculptures and installations. He graduated with a degree in advertising from the Technological University of the Philippines. Also last year, he completed a residency grant at Liverpool Hope University-Creative Campus in the United Kingdom. In the past, his art mainly revolve around playful takes on history, politics, diaspora and cultural diffusion, appropriating imagery drawn from the canons of art history, consumer and popular culture to express parodies and commentaries. His most recent works deal with ecological transformations and its sociocultural impact, inspired by his hometown and formative environment. He works closely with his collective composed of young and emerging artists in the Philippines, The Working Animals Art Projects.
Matthew Cua founded SkyEye Analytics Inc. which was initially a university project in 2009 while taking up his Master’s degree in Environmental Science. Cua had to handle everything by himself. He eventually managed to turn $20,000 initial funding and some research funds into a company with 24 full time employees and $600,000 in annual turnover. SkyEye has developed its own software, hardware and operational techniques that allow it to provide services faster, better and cheaper. It is part of the United Nations OCHA which is responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure a coherent response to emergencies.
Stephanie Sy is the founder, CEO and Chief Data Scientist of Thinking Machines. A Silicon Valley start-up veteran and former Google employee, she came home in 2015 with the goal of making the Philippines a global hub for data science. Since its founding in 2015, Thinking Machines has grown into a global data science technology company with a client list ranging from the biggest corporations in the Philippines to global nonprofits and award-winning media organizations. Thinking Machines, under Sy’s leadership, continues to innovate and experiment with new technology to help solve problems. At only 30 years old, Sy has turned Thinking Machines into a data science powerhouse and shows no signs of stopping now. She holds an undergraduate degree in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University.
Aisa Mijeno is a scientist and entrepreneur that co-founded SALt. Calling itself a social movement, SALt provides lamps that run on salt water. SALt has revolutionised lighting in many rural communities across the Philippines and helped them switch from the use of kerosene. In 2014, she was invited as an APEC CEO Summit panel member together with ex-President Barack Obama and Alibaba CEO, Jack Ma. Looking forward, she wishes to distribute more lanterns to communities across the Philippines and possibly throughout Southeast Asia. Aisa is also the director of De La Salle Innovation Labs.
Avin Ong is the founder of the Fredley Group of Companies, a master franchise collection of 120 restaurant and café branches operating in the Philippines with over 1,000 employees and 9 separate brands in the company portfolio including Macao Imperial Tea, Nabe Japanese Izakaya and Hot Pot, Mitasu Yakiniku, New York Fries & Dips and Liang Crispy Rolls. This number will grow with plans to have a total of 200 branches operating by year 2020. Avin has double MBAs from the Ateneo de Manila University and ESSCA – Ecolé de Management in Budapest, an honours degree from De La Salle University and global experience with Deutsche Bank. He spearheads the company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives and is also a Street Education Programme champion.
Leandro Leviste is the founder of Solar Philippines, Southeast Asia’s largest and only integrated solar developer, investor, manufacturer and procurement and construction (EPC) solar company. Electricity rates in the Philippines are among the highest in Asia. Leandro saw an opportunity and founded the company in his sophomore year at Yale University. Solar Philippines buys its panels from different suppliers and then provides its customers with financing, engineering and installation. Millions of households across the Philippines currently enjoy the benefits reaped from the solar farm Solar Philippines develops, construct and operates. Leviste has been invited to speak at international forums all around the world and is considered an authority on solar in Southeast Asia.