3 Outstanding Young Entrepreneurs Recognized in the 2023 Ramon V. Del Rosario Siklab Awards

The Ramon V. del Rosario Siklab Awards is a joint initiative organized by PHINMA and the De La Salle University (DLSU) RVR College of Business.

Entrepreneur is a buzzword in the business community. However, being an entrepreneur is more than just starting and owning a business. Defined by Investopedia as “an individual who creates a new business [and] bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards,” being an entrepreneur means bringing new ideas to the market—or simply, pioneering a new product, process, or service.

Although it can be risky to embark on this business journey, the returns have proven to be momentous when done right, which is why many Filipinos aspire to become entrepreneurs themselves—with 78% of respondents affirming this fact, according to a survey by GoNegosyo. In fact, the survey adds that “31% of them want to be able to manage their own time and schedule, with this becoming the top reason for going into entrepreneurship.

However, in the sea of aspiring entrepreneurs, selected names are lauded for their efforts and successes through awards, such as the recently-concluded Ramon V. del Rosario Siklab Awards (RVR Siklab Awards). This joint initiative was organized by PHINMA and the De La Salle University (DLSU) RVR College of Business.

The RVR Siklab Awardees

Set on July 25 at The Fifth at Rockwell in Makati City, the awarding ceremony honored and celebrated young entrepreneurs from diverse fields. Awardees include:

Ralph Ray Chua, the Chairman of Immuni Global Inc.

Cebu-based entrepreneur Ralph Ray Chua is the name associated with a diverse portfolio of businesses in the food and pharmaceutical manufacturing, trading, real estate, and construction industries as the leader of Immuni Global Incorporated. This journey, however, began with a passion for creating a meaningful impact within his community—thus leading him to merge business success with societal progress.

By shifting away from conventional profit-driven models, the business model of Immuni Global Inc. was built upon traditional and herbal remedies, which have been used for centuries by indigenous people. Known for its safety and efficacy, these products are a testament to what Chua believes in.

“By advocating for these natural alternatives, individuals can improve their health and well-being while reducing their reliance on chemical-based products, ultimately contributing to a healthier and more sustainable society,” he says.

Stephen Co, the Co-Founder and CEO of Worth The Health Foods and Nipa Brew Craft Beers

A visionary entrepreneur in his own right, Stephen Michael Co is the Co-Founder and CEO of two successful start-up ventures: Worth The Health Foods (WTH Foods) and Nipa Brew Craft Beers. Founded on a strong interest in sustainable food innovation and craft brewing, Co was able to bridge the two concepts with his passion for showcasing Filipino creativity and locally sourced ingredients.

Nipa Brew Craft Beers, a microbrewery and taproom located in Makati, was founded in 2014. Since then, it has become one of the pioneering craft beer brands during the early stages of the craft beer industry in the Philippines. What’s more, it prides itself on sourcing local ingredients, collaborating with smallholder farmers, and embracing Filipino creativity to brew more than 60+ styles of beer.

On the other hand, WTH Foods started during the pandemic in 2020, when he and his co-founders started a plant-based alternative protein concept that operates to this day in the Philippines and Singapore. As a food tech startup, it leverages sustainable plant proteins to create delicious, nutritious, and convenient plant-based meats and seafood products—made with locally sourced ingredients.

Anya Lim, the Co-Founder of ANTHILL Fabric Gallery

Joy Anya Lim is the entrepreneur at the helm of ANTHILL Fabric Gallery—or Alternative Nest and Trading / Training Hub for Indigenous Little Livelihood Seekers. This for-profit social enterprise was founded in 2010 as a means to address the prevalent issues of poverty and unemployment faced by marginalized sectors, particularly among indigenous communities.

How? Through weaving and craft, which has been instrumental in providing sustainable livelihoods for indigenous people.

With that, Lim partnered with artisan partners from Abra, Bukidnon, and Cebu to establish the Community Enterprise Development Program (CEDP) in 2014, which provided sustainable livelihoods and started a movement of everyday weave-wearing and gave the market access to these products.

The Significance of This Award for a Filipino Entrepreneur

The RVR Siklab Awards was launched in 2018 to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of the late Ambassador and PHINMA Founder Ramon V. del Rosario. An icon in both business and diplomatic service, he is widely known as the first Filipino General Manager of IBM Philippines, the first Filipino Executive Vice-President of Philam Life, and ambassador to Canada, Germany, and Japan.

With that, the RVR Siklab Awards is awarded to outstanding young entrepreneurs between the ages of 25 to 40 who “embody the ideals of its namesake and have proven to be exceptional leaders in their fields through sustainable enterprises that empower and uplift the lives of others.” And out of 100 entries submitted annually, only three are chosen.

Aside from receiving a trophy and the much-deserved recognition, a cash grant of PHP 50,000 will be provided to the honorees to support their community of choice, along with mentorship opportunities from seasoned entrepreneurs and business professionals within the PHINMA network.

“We are quickly seeing the rise of a new crop of business leaders and nation builders, and I believe it is appropriate that we who have the benefit of more experience and knowledge strive to empower this next generation of entrepreneurs to help them reach their full potential,” says PHINMA Chairman and CEO and RVR Siklab Awards Board of Judges co-chair Ramon R. del Rosario, Jr. 

“Our hope with the RVR Siklab Awards is that the efforts of these young businessmen and women are given their due credit, allowing them to take pride in what they do and earn the confidence they will need to transform our society for the better,” he ends.