We’ve gathered successful Illongo entrepreneur stories to share and may they spark your interest in conceptualizing your own business.

Felix Tiu

Owner of Merkado Seafood Restaurant, Waterworld (first to run solar-powered in the Philippines), Eon Group of Companies (one of the top developers in Iloilo). He has been awarded Golden Salakot in 2012 by Iloilo City mayor.

Born in a family of successful and self-made traders, he grew up having a mindset of a businessman and started venturing locally then worldwide. In 2003, he started a wet market with everything included fresh seafood, vegetables, and meat. Illongo, especially, travelers come to eat at the restaurant because of their paluto style — an experience to very Filipino dining. His businesses have been doing great and still growing.

Alfonzo Uy

Chief Executive Officer of La Filipina Uy Gongco Corp, first president of Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry and a leader to numerous corporations, he’s still able to progress them wisely.

His father has been a huge influence to him on becoming a well-trained entrepreneur. At the age of 15, the now successful entrepreneur experienced hardships with the family to the point that he can’t continue with his school, then decided to help with the family business. He was able to finish university and placed number two in his board exam, despite having to help his dad manage the business alongside his studies. All his success in life, he always gives gratitude to the people who have been supporting his journey all throughout.

Jose Gerardo Guadarrama

Coming from a family with humble beginnings, Jose Gerardo Guadarrama’s parents brought Original Biscocho Haus to life that has usual pasalubong products you’ll bring when visited Iloilo. He received awards for Most Inspiring and Outstanding Ilonggo Entrepreneur, for he has kept the corporation’s core values started by his mother. These awards are meant to be given to people who have managed to rise from struggles and work hard through entrepreneurship.

Being an engineer helped him transition Original Biscocho Haus to a well-structured establishment. Guadarrama family members are shareholders of the business and have full control over it.

Edgard Sia II

At the age of 19, he dropped out in his university from pursuing the course of Architecture and decided to have a fast food chain restaurant — Mang Inasal. He needed capital to start the business and ask help from his father. Another thing that made it difficult to convince his dad is he almost gave in to his suggestion on naming it Mng Inasal (Since Jollibee and Chow King has 8 letters and are both running success), but negate it with Banco de Oro (10 letters). Given the ability to persuade, he finally made his dad agree to it.

He attained the title of being the Youngest Billionaire in the Philippines in 2011 at the age of 34. Along the way, he continued to be a successful and wise entrepreneur and founded a couple of big corporations in the country. Keeping good relationships with other people made him be where he is at.

Arsenio Rafael

Being positive and having an inspiring attitude towards work and his community, led him to get noticed by Go Negosyo and awarded him Most Inspiring Ilonggo Entrepreneur alongside successful and motivating people. He recovered from being unemployed to establishing a now well-known tile distributor and manufacturer in the city.

He started as a clerk in a Trading Corporation, and was promoted to salesman after years of hard work, then became the manager of the company. After years of loyalty, he has been awarded of 25 years in service. Unfortunately, some good thing comes to an end, the corporation is shutting down. At his maturing age, it is hard to enter another company where he had all his heart at. Thankfully, he gained support and strength from his family and decided to start his own business — A.M. Builder’s Depot. Having a good relationship with his previous company, he was able to rent the building and agreed to give him the remaining product left in exchange for his retirement pay. As a family, they manned the business and their two sons pitching extra work on their free time. The business had its highs and lows but in the end, he was able to manage it very well, because of his wide knowledge and his passion in his work.

These leaders have different backgrounds, stories and struggles in life. But, they succeeded and have overcome their own fights and guided them to create meaningful stories through business by having the same level of mindset and courage — they all wanted it, so they made it happen. Anyone can enter and be successful in entrepreneurship, as long as you’re willing, passionate, hard-working, and risk-taking. As someone who is reading an article about other people’s success, it is not easy to be convinced that anyone can do it by just having these. But, as someone who gives encouragement, suggesting good ways to make it possible is always worth the try.

These people, turned leaders, couldn’t have been able to do it without learning how they’ll expand and innovate their business. From the time they built their businesses where technology wasn’t as advanced, they had limited and more risky ways of learning. It would turn out easy for them to admit that learning now has become radically different as well as the opportunities that come along with it.

For instance, they’ve learned that it’s crucial to have people to support and help them financially, emotionally, and creatively as well. It is in their advice to this generation, especially to the ones who are interested in pursuing entrepreneurship — is to grab every chance they get to improve and help their minds grow through learning. People in the industry are great teachers and will be effective in assistance to what you will want to create. Surrounding yourself with those people who are goal-oriented can help impact your ambition through connections, such as how it’s being done in certain workshops or seminars, as different and more effective ways of learning. Take the Cashflow 101 Workshop, for example.

Cashflow 101, is one of the biggest and best providers of seminars and workshops to tackle business and basic financial strategies. The workshop has been consistently delivered in the country for over 16 years, with the participants getting through their financial struggles over-time from what they’ve learned in Cashflow 101.

The workshop’s aim is to impart wide and thorough knowledge on how to generate your concepts to more feasible plans and give you ideas on how to increase your money and how it will lead to having your money work for you.