By Pacita U. Juan
October 04, 2014
(This week’s Business Mentor features a guest columnist, Pacita “Chit” Juan. Born to a family of entrepreneurs, she many has established many start-ups since college days in the University of the Philippines. She also pioneered work in social entrepreneurship through ECHOstore and other sustainability-themed businesses. She was named Ernst & Young Small Business Entrepreneur of the Year in 2003, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in 2011 and Go Negosyo Social Entrepreneur Starpreneur Award in 2011.)
MANILA, Philippines — James Mazo, a former project manager of Duty Free Philippines, and Hotel and Restaurant management graduate Wilma Paduga both believe that entrepreneurship empowers an individual which results in emotional fulfillment, self-actualization and social responsibility.
“After working for 20 years in Duty Free Philippines, I decided to become an entrepreneur because I wanted to make a big difference not only financially but also personally as well,” says Mazo.
“It’s a big difference. Right now I am the boss. Every detail from the smallest to the biggest should be familiar to you to ensure the business is on the right track,” adds Mazo.
Mazo operates a Binalot franchise in Robinson’s Mall in Imus, Cavite.
He says he was inspired to become an entrepreneur by the success of young business leaders who he became familiar with through voraciously reading books and other materials on entrepreneurship and business.
“Being an entrepreneur means having to take a calculated risk, “according to Mazo. Through his example, he wants to destroy the myth that engaging in a business is like gambling. ”Before going into a business, you must first study the pros and cons before ‘plunging’ into it,” says Mazo.
Right now, Mazo says the franchising scheme makes it easier for aspiring entrepreneurs to go into business as the franchisor provides almost all the support needed to ensure the business will be sustainable.
“You just have to add your personal touch,” he says.
Being a food lover and a believer of the franchising concept, Binalot was the perfect platform for Mazo.
“After attending the seminars and getting familiarized with the concept, I quickly grabbed the opportunity to be a franchisee,” Mazo recalls.
From cashier to franchisee
Meanwhile, Paduga developed a fondness for the business concept when she worked as a cashier in Binalot store in SM Mall in San Lazaro after she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Hotel and Restaurant management. She was later reassigned to also work as a cashier in other outlets in Robinson’s Galleria and the flagship branch in Hanston Building in Ortigas.
Her big break came when her uncle went back to the Philippines for a vacation in December 2013 from his executive accountant job in Seychelles.
“When my uncle Jonel asked me if I was interested to enter into a business, I did not think twice of recommending a franchise because I knew it has a sound business concept,” says Paduga. “I also know that the management is professional because I used to be an employee of the franchising company.”
“During my stint with the branches, I developed a strong appreciation for the food and the franchising concept. I told myself this is going to be a good step towards entrepreneurship,” says Paduga.
After listening to her pitch, Wilma’s uncle gave the green light to get a franchise. In May this year, Jonel went back and checked his niece’s progress in getting a franchise. The timing was perfect when the original franchise holder had to attend to other business concerns. She took over the franchise.
For Mazo, the franchise business model gives aspiring entrepreneurs a chance to pursue their dream through a roadmap. Since his passion is in the food business, Mazo says getting a food franchise is a perfect fit for his business plans. “I like the food business because the profit margins are high,” says Mazo.
Founded by food lover Rommel Juan in 1996, Binalot started small and simple in the food business to take advantage of the economic conditions prevailing at that time.
Binalot has become one of the country’s leading all-Filipino fast-food restaurants and franchisers since its founding 18 years ago. Franchising has become the growth driver for Binalot with more than 45 stores today.
Binalot is one of the 118 member companies who are part of the Association of Filipino Franchisers Inc. (AFFI). The group is having its 2014 Filipino Franchise Show in World Trade Center, Pasay City October 3 to 5, 2014.