Within a weeklong event showcasing some of the best of Northern Mindanao’s speakers, companies, and products, including some new interesting inventions, Orobest Expo 2.0 has this year proven to be able to have a special role in the digital events world of this new normal.
The overall event lasted from October 25th to 29th 2021 October 2021 and was organized by the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce and Industry. On October 27th within one of the sessions dedicated to Manufacturing & Industries, the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines organized a very special segment with the title “ Leadership stories: inspiring entrepreneurship and finding your niche”.
Moderated by Lorens Ziller, Vice President of ICCPI, the session featured the entrepreneurial stories of 3 remarkable entrepreneurs: IDC’s Architect Romolo Valentino Nati, Carmen Best’s Paco Magsaysay, and Four-Legged Tiles’ Luca Vezzaro. Romolo Nati went straight to the point illustrating how he took a leap of faith and pushed hard to pursue his dream of building sustainable buildings in secondary cities in the Philippines. He further recalled how important it was for him to keep his goal and vision in focus and how loneliness and the fear of the unknown had become a constant companion in his entrepreneurial journey in the Philippines. Romolo admitted that one never builds his dream alone, therefore you need people to help you and that’s why team building and finding the right people was extremely important. He further underlined the cruciality of finding financing and investors that believe in you.
He also talked about decision making whereas, according to him, you need to make a decision rather than none to get things going forward. Architect Nati then illustrated his success path with Italpinas Development Corporation, his first steps in Cagayan de Oro, and how he finally decided to start from Northern Mindanao, above all other potential locations. His multi-awarded buildings, Primavera Residences, and Primavera City are both EDGE-certified and are designed using passive green design features in order to save energy. True to his advocacy of bringing sustainable mixed-use buildings to the provinces he has been expanding also in Luzon, where his Miramonti Residences project in Sto Tomas, Batangas shows the same type of green design features and is also located right at the exit of the South Luzon Expressway to underline the importance of location.
His experience in a distant country from his own teaches that if you have a dream and an idea you must push hard and you will succeed even against the odds or against the opinions of other less enlightened individuals. The second speaker of the session was Paco Magsaysay, who, after a career in the corporate world, went on to pioneer ice cream making with his brand “Carmen’s Best”.
Named after his daughter Carmen, he reckoned how his path to entrepreneurship has been similar to Architect Nati especially when talking about loneliness and how even now, with business affected by the pandemic, he came up with new products using the milk from his dairy farm in Laguna. In fact, Paco has now launched his first line of Italian-inspired cheese products as well. His ice cream meanwhile has been appreciated even by the Pope who apparently declared it as his “favorite” ice cream according to Vatican-based magazine Aleteia. More to look forward to from him as adversity makes him appear more ingenious.
The last speaker was Italian wood-artist Luca Vezzaro. The “maestro”, as they call him, has definitely had extraordinary success with his wooden tiles that he single-handedly invented to please the color request from one of his clients who wanted a coffee table with red tiles. So from making furniture and coffee tables he steered into the more artistic world of wooden mosaics ingeniously framed into colorful wall decorations. Definitely, something to have for any wooden art lover. This truly remarkable session of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines tried to teach any aspiring entrepreneur the need to be perseverant, not to be a freight of change and the unknown, and most of all to learn from past challenges.
As Paco said: “Entrepreneurship is not for all but the success you can achieve from it is definitely worth the sweat and the sacrifices.”