Benjamin Yao, Chairman and CEO of SteelAsia Manufacturing Corporation, the country's flagship steel firm and one of the largest rebar manufacturers in Asia, was awarded as the Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines 2019.
Yao was recognized for championing the steel industry in the Philippines – he embodies entrepreneurial values of leadership, team building, innovation, financial performance, and social transformation.
He was also given the Master Entrepreneur award for applying sound management practices in the critical areas of the company including finance, business development, marketing, human resources, and sales.
As part of Yao's vision to elevate the steel industry and reduce dependence on importation in the country, SteelAsia has established state-of-the-art facilities to manufacture beams, sheet piles, and other products that were previously imported. He is also working on a joint venture to bring in the first blast furnace to the Philippines.
With presence across the archipelago, SteelAsia's annual production reaches over 2 million metric tons, serving over 2,000 customers, including the country's biggest property development companies.
Yao will be representing the country in the prestigious World Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monte Carlo, Monaco next June.
The Woman Entrepreneur award was given to Esther Wileen Go, President and CEO of MediLink Network, Inc., who leveraged her fondness of technology and her experience in healthcare operations after she inherited her father's small technology company that provided automated health coverage eligibility verification services.
Succeeding a series of strategic innovations, she converted MediLink into an award-winning healthtech provider that offers data mining and machine learning solutions.
Jose Magsaysay Jr., Chairman Emeritus of Cinco Corporation, received the Emerging Master Entrepreneur award after he experimented with a franchising business model and made it accessible to the public.
He established the well-known Potato Corner with his partners in 1992 – initially, to just make money on the side. Since then, the business has expanded to over 1,000 kiosks, including 200 outlets in 11 countries. Today, they are diversifying their line of products with the launch of food items that cater to different markets.
Rolandrei Viktor Varona, Founder and President of Zark’s Food Ventures Corporation was named the Small Business Entrepreneur due to his determination to have his own restaurant and capture the young market with savory burgers.
Since 2009, Zark's Burgers has become the standard for affordable quality burgers and a go-to restaurant for the Filipino youth. In just 10 years, the business grew from a humble 16-seater space to a franchise company boasting 60 branches nationwide.
"Today's age of transformation has given entrepreneurs vast opportunities for growth, but at the same time, it exposes businesses to various risks and uncertainties," said SGV Foundation Chairman Itos Cruz, emphasizing the importance of disruption and transformation.
"To help us navigate through this era of disruption, we need visionaries who can leverage on new digital platforms and provide people with a clear purpose," he added.
All nominees went through a strict financial data ranking system used by all Entrepreneur-of-the-Year-participating countries. The finalists were evaluated by an independent panel of judges composed of distinguished business personalities.
The category awards winners were chosen from the 15 finalists representing enterprises from different industries from various regions in the country – they were: Alexander Cruz (XRC Mall Developer, Inc.), Beverly Dayanan (Contempo Property Holdings, Inc.), Miguel Garcia (DTSI Group, Inc.), Alvin Hing and Paul Holaysan (Excelsior Farms, Inc.), Henry Lim Bon Liong (SL Agritech Corporation), Olivia Limpe-Aw (Destileria Limtuaco & Co., Inc.), Sindulfo Sumagang (Oneworld Alliance Logistics Corporation), Regan Sy (Regan Industrial Sales, Inc.), Necisto Sytengco (SBS Philippines Corporation), and Aivee Teo (The A – Institute).
The panel of judges was co-chaired by Antonette Tionko, Undersecretary of Revenue Operations Group and the Corporate Affairs Group of the Department of Finance, and Ambassador Jesus Tambunting, OBE, Chairman of Capital Shares Investment Corporation and 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines.
The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards was founded in the United States by professional services firm Ernst & Young in 1986 to recognize the achievements of successful and innovative entrepreneurs worldwide. In 2001, EY expanded the program and launched the World Entrepreneur of the Year awards. Meanwhile, in 2003, the SGV Foundation Inc. established the Entrepreneur of the Year in the Philippines.
Supporting the program as co-presenters are the Department of Trade and Industry, Philippine Business for Social Progress, and the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Get more information about Entrepreneur of the Year by visiting its official website.
NOTE: BrandNews articles are promotional features from our sponsors and not news articles from our editorial staff.