From Pawn to King: Strategically Growing a Family Business Into an Empire, According to Jean Henri Lhuillier of PJ Lhuillier Group of Companies

Whether it's transforming Cebuana Lhuillier into a microfinancing empire or making waves in various industries, learn successful strategies from the man behind it all: Jean Henri Lhuillier.

Lhuillier is a name that has long been established in the Philippine business landscape, as the family has become foremost known for Cebuana Lhuillier—the biggest microfinancing institution in the Philippines with over 3,000 branches, nationwide. Known foremost for its financial services that span pawning, remittance, microinsurance, micro-savings, and business-business microloan solutions, the company has been supporting Filipinos financially since its establishment in 1988.

Beyond its impact in microfinancing, however, the PJ Lhuillier Group of Companies (PJLGC) owns businesses in diverse industries, including hospitality (Le Soleil de Boracay Hotel and Bacau Bay Resort Coron), jewelry (Just Jewels), tech (Networld Capital Ventures, Inc.), banking (Cebuana Lhuillier Bank), and insurance (Cebuana Lhuillier Insurance Brokers, Inc.), and more—thus solidifying its presence in the Philippines.

Leading the charge is Jean Henri Lhuillier—a man with just as many accolades and businesses tied to his name. Known among business circles as the President and CEO of the PJ Lhuillier Group of Companies, he is a man who dons many hats, as he too is the Honorary Consul General of the Republic of San Marino to the Philippines, the President of Unified Tennis Philippines (UTP) and Amateur Softball Association of the  Philippines (ASAPHIL), and an angel investor in many businesses.

In this exclusive interview with The Business Manual, he reveals the story behind PJ Lhuillier Group of Companies, the success secrets in growing the family business into the empire that it is today, and what he has learned in his journey as an entrepreneur.

Learning the Ropes

With its foundation deeply rooted in its humble beginnings as a pawnshop called Agencia Cebuana, pawnbroking was the bread and butter of the Lhuillier family.

This meant that at an early age, Jean Henri was exposed to its operations. "When I was a lot younger, my dad used to always take me around to the pawnshops," he begins. "He actually moved to Manila from Cebu in 1970 [and] he came here as an entrepreneur to build a business as well."

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