I was one of the BGC Business Club members who joined the exclusive advance screening of an upcoming reality TV show called The Final Pitch. I have to say it’s now one of my favorite shows. I loved that it was both engaging and inspiring. The show is ideal for entrepreneurs and those who are aspiring to be one someday.
The Final Pitch features entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs presenting their business pitch to a panel of investors who will decide whether they would invest in the business or not. More than just getting funding, those who make it to the top will get priceless mentoring from top businessmen and investors.
Meet the investors
Henry Lim Bon Liong
Henry Lim Bon Liong is the CEO of SL Agritech Corporation, S.P. Properties, Inc, and Sterling Paper Group of Companies and a member of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD).
Henry Lim Bon Liong belongs to a migrant Chinese family in the Philippines. Together with his parents Lim Seh Leng and Maria Co Chiao Ti Lim, they had to live in a one-room apartment without a toilet. They also battled with the challenge of not being able to speak the local language, Tagalog. But through his father’s determination, they earned Filipino citizenship. More than that, they managed to thrive, with his father establishing their Sterling Bookbinding business. The business flourished and became the Sterling Paper Products Enterprises in 1961. From selling photo albums, they expanded to include school and office supplies.
The business further expanded through Henry’s management. Retail outlets were established and more products were introduced. Henry Lim Bon Liong also ventured into the production of hybrid rice through SL Agritech Corporation and real estate business through S.P. Properties, Inc. The former is now the top distributor of hybrid seeds in the Philippines and exports rice to countries like Madagascar, Indonesia, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Joseph Calata is a Filipino agricultural industrialist, business tycoon and philanthropist. He is currently the CEO and Chairman/President of Calata Corporation, the largest combined distributor of seeds, fertilizers, and agro-chemicals in the Philippines. Joseph is credited for leading his company into the country’s Top 1000 companies. At the young age of 31, he has reached the herculean milestone of becoming a self-made billionaire. This happened after the initial public offering (IPO) of his company in the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). He also became the youngest chairman of a publicly listed company in the PSE.
Born and raised in Bulacan, Joseph Calata is the second son among four of Eusebio and Isabel’s children. His parents were a middle-income couple running a humble retail store. After finishing a business course at the De La Salle University, Joseph worked on his vision to see their small mom-and-pop store grow and to build innovations in the agricultural industry. The simple poultry retail store is now a giant in the agricultural industry.
Joe Magsaysay is one of the founders of Potato Corner, a leading brand in the Philippines’ food industry. From its humble kiosk-type business, the brand has grown into a roster of in-line stores and now has over 500 branches in the Philippines and across the world. Potato Corner has cemented Magsaysay’s reputation as a trailblazer in the microfood franchise industry.
Joe Magsaysay is now a full-time venture capitalist investor, and is passionate about providing promising entrepreneurs with the same opportunities he himself received in his younger days.
Magsaysay had a rough start. His father died young, forcing him to work part time to make ends meet. He proved his worth at his humble job in Wendy’s, eventually rising through the ranks. Titoy Pardo, the CEO and President of Wendy’s, eventually noticed him and offered full-time employment. Magsaysay decided to leave school, and in no time was managing five branches. Things were going well for him at Wendy’s, but he soon got invitations from his brother-in-law and friends from his former school de la Salle to join them in their new business venture, the Potato Corner. They needed Magsaysay’s experience in operations. And the rest is history.
At 25 years old, Mica Tan has managed to become the Chief Executive Officer and President of the MFT Group of Companies, which has investments in several industries, including financing, stock trading, entertainment, lifestyle product, real estate, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals. Mica Tan is now revered as a pioneer in angel investing and venture capital.
Tan started developing her flair for business at a very young age. She was only 13 years old when she started trading stocks. She would skip classes and force her way into the building of the Philippines Stock Exchange, where she would knock on the doors of respected traders and stock brokerage owners. By 15, Mica Tan was already trading foreign exchange and was being mentored by Mark So, a renowned investor.
Maria Francesca Tan (Mica’s real name, and to which the company owes its name) has come a long way. The MFT Group is a leading figure in the Philippines’ fairly young venture-capital and angel-investing industries. More than just infusing capital into start-ups, MFT extends to innovating corporate blueprints in the areas of marketing, legal, taxation and accounting, and has been helping businesses that are stuck in a rut. The company now has its eyes set on establishing private equity development and venture capital in 100 business areas around the world.
I have just agreed to a meeting with the company’s VP of Marketing, Angelica Galvez, and can’t wait to see if the invetsment group is a match for me! 😀 This is especially timely, as I have been on the lookout for suitable invetsment vehicles.
… As you may already have noticed, The Final Pitch is a Filipino version of the American reality TV series Shark Tank. If you are a fan of the American TV show, then you are going to love its Filipino version even more as it is bound to be a lot more relatable. Plus, there is much you can learn from it, as you get to listen in on the investors imparting their nuggets of wisdom and advice to the contestants. And what do you know, you may even get the chance to be one of the contestants in the next season!
Don’t miss its premier this July 29, Satuday, 7:10pm on History Channel. Enjoy! 🙂
Author: Tahna de Veyra
Voracious eater. Coffee dependent. Book sniffer. Music addict. Profound thinker. Certified ambivert. Life-hungry maverick. Nonchalant realist. Hesitant blogger.