A case study about Henry Sy and John Gokongwei's success.
Henry Sy and John Gokongwei were both born very poor. This situation, one may conclude, served as a blessing for the two most celebrated entrepreneurs in the Philippines on their journey to wealth. Shoeless and with only clothes on his back, Henry Sy started his entrepreneurial career by tending at his father’s sari-sari store in Cebu. But Henry dreamed of something big for his future. He dreamed of having his own business to provide him enough money. In 1945, he put up a small shoe store in Carriedo, Quiapo. From then on, that humble shoe store became Shoemart (commonly known as “SM”). Since there was a constant pouring of capital back into this venture, he then expanded into textiles and household goods and was then opening outlets to selected parts of the country, centering at the Metropolis. On the other hand, John Go (“kongwei” meaning “bright” was suffixed later to his name later) started his road to success by hawking wares in Cebu. This led to his dream of building his own retailing kingdom. He first started by trading and manufacturing corn starch in 1955 and has soon expanded into supplying groceries and animal foodstuffs in bulk. Later, he ventured also in textiles, banking and real estate, hotels and shopping complex developments. The abrupt expansion of the enterprises of the two business tycoons marked the start of a period of transition for the business empire built over the past three decades by these two businessmen. Since then, Henry Sy has always been proud that his SM outlets had been gradually upgraded into larger commercial complexes without drawing on bank credits. John Gokongwei also managed to put up projects without having major borrowings. He had only relied to the big sums of cash Universal Robina Corporation and Commonwealth Foods Corporation were generating and from the support of his relatives and...
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