More than 150 participants filled a ballroom at Quest Hotel and Conference Center and eagerly received the wisdom and advice of reputable business leaders who graced the successful Cebu Business Months (CBM) 2022’s GO Invest Cebu: Entrepreneurs’ Summit on July 8.

The exuberant attendees actively interacted with the speakers who dispensed facts, figures, and insights intended to motivate entrepreneurs and aspiring ones to go and invest, innovate, and adapt to the times.

Prof. Enrique M. Soriano III, Turnaround Advisor and Family Business Consultant at Wong & Bernstein Group, started the GO Invest Cebu: Entrepreneurs’ Summit with an inspiring outline of developments at Emperador Inc. (EMP) — a holding company that operates an integrated business of manufacturing, bottling, and distributing distilled spirits and other alcoholic beverages from the Philippines and Europe — where he sits as Independent Director. 

In his talk focused on leadership and succession, he pointed out that one’s business size doesn’t matter at any given time and that success goes beyond luck and hard work. What matters, he said, is the science and the metrics that inform a good solid plan.

“Prepare a plan, do more, be more, stay focused, don’t waste money, and invest in your productive assets, such as your own business,” he advised the participants. He concluded his presentation with EMP’s mantra, “Success is the temporary suspension of failure,” which has always pushed the company to be relentless in achieving its vision to bring world-class products to the world.

Mr. John Paul Escario, Area General Manager at Filinvest Land Inc.-Cebu, focused his presentation on Cebu’s strengths as a real estate investment hub, including the presence of economic zones that provide ample career opportunities and the province’s position as a business and investment destination with progressive infrastructure development.

Some of Filinvest Land Inc.’s projects in Cebu include mid-rise condominiums (Amalfi), master-planned townscapes (City di Mare), hospitality and leisure developments (Crimson Hotel and Resort and Quest Hotel), mall development (IL Corso), and residential development (Aldea del Sol, Corona del Mar, and Escala), among others.

Ms. Katrina Mae de Jesus, Director of Business Development at NUSTAR Resort and Casino, shared how NUSTAR — Cebu’s premier, 5-star integrated resort equipped with world-class gaming, entertainment, events, and exclusive shopping and dining offerings — will enhance Cebu’s economic growth.

“What’s unique about us is that we learned from the mistakes, the ups and the downs, of the other integrated resorts that came before us,” she said.

NUSTAR, a sprawling resort complex, features luxury retail and dining amenities, a gaming floor with a total floor area of 21,000 square meters at full operations, a convention center that can accommodate 2,000 participants, and three hotel towers with over 1,000 rooms.

Mr. Jose Franco Soberano, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI), retraced the humble beginnings of the Cebu-based company and outlined CLI’s journey from an entrepreneurial venture with 20 employees to a publicly listed real estate developer with 700 employees.

Mr. Soberano shared that part of CLI’s growth is attributed to qualified family members professionally running the company, representing an advantageous mix of skills and values. He cited other growth factors, including local knowledge and a hands-on approach to managing the business, nurturing partnerships, and taking care of employees and customers.

Mr. Carl Bryan Enerio, Regional Business Head for Enterprise at Maya Business, on behalf of Mr. Paolo Azzola, the company’s Chief Strategy Officer, shared insights on how entrepreneurs can take digital security to the next level.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has become a catalyst for change with more consumers paying via digital means. Maya is allowing each entrepreneur to become ready for the next five years of digital payments,” he stated. “For businesses to respond well when it comes to transitioning, each should have business acceptance. A business should have an alternative payment option.”

Mr. Brian Go, Chief Marketing Officer of Angkas, shared Angkas’ story during Go Invest Cebu: Entrepreneurship Summit on behalf of George Royeca, the company’s Chief Transport Advocate. He recalled how it takes time to create a brand that people will care about.

On navigating post-pandemic expectations, Angkas has demonstrated its business acumen and resiliency that have paved the way for job opportunities for motorcycle owners and safe rides for passengers across the country.

“It’s humbling to be part of a bigger movement where thousands have supported us in making this mode of transport viable. We are still in the infancy stage of our mission, but we can’t wait to be in every part of the country serving the public,” Mr. Go said.

Mr. Michael Maquiran, Regional General Manager for Visayas and Mindanao at Converge ICT Solutions, Inc., also shared his company’s experiences with navigating post-pandemic expectations as well as Converge’s growth and plans.

He illustrated how Converge, which Mr. Dennis Anthony H. Uy founded, is an epitome of a dream come true. The company has grown in leaps and bounds as it continues to provide pure end-to-end fiber internet connection for homes and businesses. With over 523,000 kilometers of fiber optic assets nationwide, it has one of the most extensive fiber networks in the Philippines.

“You need to have your dream. It all starts with a dream and a vision. When you dream, you have to make sure that your dream is within the bounds of reality. Be grounded with your dream, but dream big,” he told the attendees.

Ms. Abbie Dans-Casanova, President and Chief Executive Officer of SB Finance, the consumer finance arm of Security Bank Corp., provided the summit participants with practical tips on financial management and maximizing one’s personal financial portfolio.

“Your first priority is to define your goal. Without a roadmap of managing your investments, you will not be able to reach your goal,” said Ms. Casanova, who also introduced the attendees to SB Finance’s loan products — personal loan, Car4Cash, Hooloogan, and MotorsikLOAN.

CBM 2022’s GO Invest Cebu: Entrepreneurs’ Summit also featured two successful businesses that have demonstrated the strength and resiliency of the Filipinos’ entrepreneurial spirit amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ally Mango, owned by couple Mr. Rolly Alagon and Ms. Mary Joy Costelo, started in a humble half-sized tent at Sugbo Mercado in Cebu I.T. Park. Now, it has several branches in strategic areas in Metro Cebu.

“We did not stop because we believe in our brand. We have overcome the pandemic because we adapted to the changes and because of the efforts of our employees. We are lucky to have our dedicated people with us. Without them, we won’t be successful,” shared Mr. Alagon.

The second pandemic success story is Cole’s Cansi, owned by Mr. Dave and Mrs. Lowela Maestrecampo, which offers one of Negros Occidental’s favorite dishes — cansi — that is made with cuts of boiled beef shank and bone marrow.

Mr. Maestrecampo shared the origins of Cole’s Cansi and told the participants that focusing on what really matters the most and executing plans make one successful.

Cebu Business Months 2022 is presented by Filinvest Land Inc., PLDT Enterprise, Smart Communications, Inc., NUSTAR Resort and Casino, and co-presented by Cebu Landmasters, Inc., Maya Business, Angkas, IPI, with Platinum sponsors Arthaland Corporation, Ayala Center Cebu, Cebu Pacific Air, Converge ICT Solutions Inc., Eastern Communications, Qualfon Philippines, and SB Finance.

GO Invest Cebu: Entrepreneurs’ Summit is made possible through its event sponsors: Amazon Web Services, Oriental Port & Allied Services Corporation, Global Business Power, GT Cosmetics Manufacturing Inc., Mataverse, Xeleqt Technology Innovations Inc., Golden Prince Hotel & Suites, Unisol, Rockport/Primer Group of Companies, and Megaworld Corporation, and media partners: Alcordo Advertising, BIGSEED Public Relations & Events, Bizhero.ph, Inews.ph, Mataverse, and RMA News.

For more information about CBM 2022, contact the CBM Secretariat at (63 32) 232-1421 to 24, email at info@cebuchamber.org or cbm@cebuchamber.org, or visit any of the social media accounts: www.cebuchamber.org, instagram.com/cbm.ph, and facebook.com/CebuBusinessMonth.