A SELF-MADE businessman who has earned a reputation for being “Cebu’s iron entrepreneur” has started to expand into real estate and tourism.

Rey Calooy’s rags-to-riches story began with his struggles in raising the money for college tuition and an early venture on making rags, but went on to his starting RNC Prime Holdings Inc., which manufactures instant hot chocolate drinks, coffee, ginger tea, and noodles, and also includes a repacking business.

His entry into real estate and tourism will allow Calooy to diversify, as well as tap into the opportunities of these two sectors, which are key drivers of the local economy.

“Limasawa is known for having good diving sites so we are putting up a small resort there,” said Calooy, 47, of the 500-square-meter property he is developing in Southern Leyte.

Housing development is also one venture the entrepreneur would like to go into. Calooy said he has small properties scattered in Cebu that he plans to turn into pocket subdivision projects.

For one, he has started a four-storey, low-cost condominium in Barangay Tisa in Cebu City that will have 40 rooms.

“Real estate is also a very strong sector nowadays. But the supply now is on the high and middle-income projects. What I want is low-cost housing since this is what most people need,” he said.

Calooy also has a three-hectare property in the mountain barangay of Guba in Cebu City. Once the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is functional, he wants to start a pocket subdivision in the area.

As one of the speakers of an entrepreneurship forum last Wednesday, Calooy urged entrepreneurs to not only put in hard work in business, but also spot opportunities when they arise.

Calooy’s business career started in 1994 when he began selling dust rags using P20,000 he earned as a sales officer for a pharmaceutical company. From there, he was able to build RNC Holdings.