THE Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) capped its Cebu Business Month (CBM) celebration by recognizing the men and women who have successfully imprinted their footprints in Cebu’s business arena.
Mario King, president and chief executive officer of Nito’s International Ventures, Inc. emerged as Entrepreneur of the Year.
King is one of the hard-working siblings who helped continue the success of the family’s various businesses, which began with Nito’s Auto Supply in 1964 founded by their father, Juanito King.
Wanting to start his own venture, the youngest King among the siblings started Nito’s International Ventures Inc., which brought automobile and motorcycle Chinese manufacturer Lifan to Cebu.
This then led to the opening of Skygo Marketing Corp., which sells Skygo motorcycles now widely used in both urban and rural areas. He also built Sto. Nino de Cebu Finance Corp., a company that provides car financing, personal loans, appliance financing, and group financing.
In 2006, King diversified his business interests and ventured into real estate through J. Nitton Development Corp., which builds high-quality yet affordable homes for the low-income market.
“I feel humbled by this honor. This is something that I did not expect,” said King during the Grand Chamber Awards Night last Friday in Oakridge Pavilion, Mandaue City.
Redefining success in business
CCCI president Consul Antonio Chiu said the chamber salutes this year’s awardees for their passion for work, for what they believe in, for their resiliency, and for their exemplary contributions to society.
On its 24th year of the Grand Chamber Awards, Chiu said they added two new award categories: Most Inspiring Woman Entrepreneur and Innovative Entrepreneur.
Fe Barino, vice chairperson of the Duros Group of Companies, bagged the Most Inspiring Woman Entrepreneur award.
Barino used business as a way to uplift the lives of her siblings. She and her husband Rafaelito started Duros in 1990. The family’s strong values aided them in growing their business from a trading company that offered safety products and bathroom fixtures, to a conglomerate engaged in various enterprises—construction, real estate, property management, food, education, trading, an industrial plant for energy supplies and a golf course.
Aside from being an active entrepreneur, Barino is also a philanthropist. Her benevolence and strong faith were evident in her active involvement in charismatic communities, which paved the way for the construction of the International Euharistic Congress Pavilion in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.
Chester Lim, vice-president for administration of Belmont Hardware Depot, on the other hand, was awarded the Innovative Entrepreneur of the Year.
His business is one the earliest adapters of innovation and technology in Cebu.
Lim introduced the do-it-yourself concept and installed new inventory systems such as barcoding, point of sales terminals and inventory management.
His dedication, hard work and penchant for constant innovation have helped him build three branches in Cebu, employing 200 workers, even without a national presence.
“At the very core that propels Cebu’s growth is its rich pool of talents, skills and potentials, the Cebuano culture of professionalism, hard work and craftsmanship. I have always believed that Cebu’s greatest pride and asset has always been its people,” said Cebu Gov. Hilario Davide III in his statement.
The Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Alfred Dy Relucio, chief executive officer of Cebu Iron Foundry Corp.
Originally from Luzon, Relucio took a huge risk in bringing his foundry business to Cebu so he wouldn’t have to compete with his father’s established foundry business.
Armed with a small network, limited space, resources and only 12 personnel with little experience in the foundry business, Relucio embraced a host of pains and struggles.
But he never gave up. He continued learning and looking for innovative solutions to grow. From v-pulleys, Relucio successfully diversified into other products such as parts of waterworks application, manholes and other custom metal-casting requirements.
Ma. Elena Limocon, general manager of the Lamac Multi-Purpose Cooperative (LMPC), was awarded Countryside Entrepreneur of the Year.
With Limocon’s guidance, LMPC has improved the lives of the community it serves by providing access to livelihood loans, savings and capital build-up, employment generation, education for the children, health, housing and social protection.
From an initial capital invested of P50 from the 70 rural farmers in 1973, LMPC’s total assets now stand at P1.3 billion. The former barangay cooperative has also expanded its membership base in the Visayas with branches in Bohol, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Negros Province, for a total of 54,000 members and 24,000 affiliate members.
CCCI also conferred the Socially Responsible Entrepreneur Award on Paulette Liu, chief operating officer of the Primary Structures Educational Foundation Inc. Liu operates the School for Knowledge, Industrial Labor, Leadership and Services (Skills) as an accredited training and assessment center.
Liu’s Skills has helped addressed the shortage of skilled workers in Cebu.
“These awardees are good role models and business leaders. They are catalysts of change who have built and sustained excellent businesses, a testament to their significant contributions to Cebu’s vibrant economy,” said Christian Paro-an, GCA committee chair and president of RC Goldline Sale Shop.