Success Stories of Eight Big Filipino Entrepreneurs who started small


As Lao Tzu would say, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single footstep.” We’ve listed eight successful businesses and their stories on how they started small.

1 . NATIONAL BOOKSTORE by Soccoro Ramos

Soccoro Ramos worked as a salesgirl in a bookshop. At 19 she started National Bookstore with her husband. However, it was the time the Japanese had colonized the Philippines and all books and periodicals were either banned or restricted. So the couple had to add different products like school supplies, candles, soaps and other items. After war, the business prospered and had become what it is today. It was told that the company logo was designed by Soccoro herself and is still being used today.

  1. JOLLIBEE by Tony Tan Caktiong

Jollibee no doubt had taken over the country and now plans on taking over the world as the business expands world wide introducing Filipino favorites to other cultures.

Tony Tan Caktiong had started with an Ice Cream Parlor but when his customers started looking for more than Ice Cream, he and his friends opened Jollibee in which at that time only had two branches: Cubao and Quiapo. By then he started serving hamburgers. Spaghetti and Fried Chicken. Jollibee prospered and had become a fast food powerhouse across the world.

  1. MANG INASAL by Edgar Sia

The 19-year old Edgar Sia had dropped out of college to start his dream of launching a laundry and photo developing business. At 26, he opened Mang Inasal or in english can be called as Mr. Barbecue which serves marinated chicken barbicue, sisig and other Filipino favorites. He open his first branch in an empty parking lot but now as his business boomed, he’a able to build branches all over the country.

Tony Tan Caktiong had heard of the rising Mang Inasal resraurant and bought the business for Php. 5 Billion. Sia had managed to invest the money in banking and healthcare. Now at 42, Sia is considered as one of the youngest Billionaire in the country.

  1. POTATO CORNER by Joe Magsaysay

Joe Magsaysay had to give up school to work in a fash food chain. He had a lot of tasks assigned to him from waiting on tables, washing the plates to the cash registrar, is was no wonder he had become the manager in five years, handling five stores.

Opportunity came knocking when his friends had asked him to manage Potato Corner in which he is co-founder. They started the food cart in 1992 which then prospered to 550 stalls around the country today.

  1. GOLDILOCKS by Milagros, Clarita and Doris Leelin

Goldilocks’s first branch was in Makati in a 70-sqm store with only 2 displays and ten employees. Milagros and Clarita are sisters both with a passion for baking. They’d bake the cakes themselves and with the help of their sister-in-law, Doris they all had managed to bring Goldilocks to its glory now. The bakeshop chain has 400 branches all over the country with branches in the USA, Canda and Southeast Asia.

  1. GREENWICH PIZZA by Cresida Tueres

Greenwich Pizza founder Cresida Tueres, had started in 1971 selling over-the-counter pizza store in Greenhills. Cresida loved to cook and served delicious pizzas which her friends loved so much that they started their own greenwich franchise. Jollibee Food Corporation was impressed by the business that they decided to buy 80% of the shares.

  1. HEN LIN by Araceli and Jun Manas

Beloved dumplings and siopao stand, Hen Lin, was built by couple Araceli and Jun Manas. The couple had learned the recipe from a Chinese chef, practiced, and with their 30,000 capital, started Hen Lin in 1983.

Araceli was working in a Bank while her husband, Jun, worked for an Insurance firm. They would practice making siomai and dumplings after work and when they knew it was time, they opened their first branch in SM Makati. After 30 years, their company had opened a lot of branches across the country and now serves congee, hopia, noodles, breakfast food and rice with toppings.

  1. THE ARISTOCRAT by Asiang Reyes

Famous restaurant, The Aristocrat, started as a small canteen in Luneta serving food f park-goers. However, Asiang served adobo sandwiches instead of the usual hotdogs. She also served the usual Filipino favorite viands and rice. The business prospered and at that time she was thinking of naming the restaurant as “Andy” after her son, but then changed it to ‘The Aristocrat’.

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