Stories, Taoke (Business)

5 Chinoy Student-Entrepreneurs Hustling in the Real World

Growing up Chinoy, we’ve always heard conversations about business from here and there. Whether it’s our parents talking to customers or our relatives making deals with partners, most of us grew up in this kind of environment. They have also taught us numerous lessons about money; highlighting that earning money is not easy so you really have to hustle. No wonder why most Chinoys grow up to be business-minded.

As a testament to this, here we have 5 Chinoy student-entrepreneurs who are not just working hard in school, but are also passionately managing their own businesses. Making a statement that you’re never too young to play in the real world, here are Joana Chen, Healthlyn Gaw, Sean Jersen Tan, Carlo Lim, and Angel Zheng.


1) The Grind Shoes – Joana Chen

Joana Chen of the Ateneo de Manila University is all about style and comfort; and this is what motivated her to establish a footwear shop that offers the best of both worlds.

The Grind Shoes came about through a simple concept — every Filipino deserves reliable and stylish shoes at an affordable price. From this, Joana and her partners, Brian Chen and Patricia Andulte, were inspired to tap into the rich shoe history of the Philippines and collaborated with local shoemakers in Marikina to make authenticity, comfort, and ease a reachable standard for all.

This idea, however, didn’t just come overnight. When Joana and her partners realized that quality footwear comes with a hefty price and people only use one or two pairs on a daily basis, they saw an opportunity to be a brand that consumers could trust when it comes to footwear. Footwear that is in-style and comfortable the perfect go-to pair that won’t burn a hole through your pockets.

On the other hand, when asked how she balances being a student and entrepreneur, Joana said “Being a Health Sciences Major and the Operations Director of a startup does come with its own share of trials. Thankfully, I have a team to depend on who are just as committed as I am in making this venture a success. I personally treat this venture as a productive outlet when school is taking its toll on me. Anything and everything can be done if you put your heart and commitment into achieving your goals and The Grind Shoes is a testament to that.”

You can check out The Grind Shoes through:





  1. Pin & Out – Healthlyn Gaw

From simply being siblings, Healthlyn Gaw and her brother, Rowealth, have teamed up to be business partners to start an online retail store that offers iconic enamel pins.

Pin & Out is a product of Healthlyn’s interest in enamel pins and Rowealth’s love for sneakers. Combining both of their passions, Pin & Out aims to give consumers something that would represent or constantly inspire them to chase after their dream sneakers.

When asked what sets them apart from their competitors, Healthlyn said “we are serving a niche market. Currently, we specialize in catering to sneaker heads rather than a larger target market. In this way, we are able to look at the perspective of our customers, thus enabling us to identify prevailing market trends and wants.”

Since Healthlyn is an entrepreneurship student of De La Salle University, she takes this business venture as a great opportunity to practice what she is learning in the classroom and to apply it in the real world. In this way, she said “this allows me to try something that [I can] learn [from] and gain invaluable experiences [as well]”

You can check out Pin & Out through:




  1. Vertex Printing and Packaging – Sean Jersen Tan

Another sibling duo that is making it big in the business world are Sean Jersen and Selene Julianne Tan. Launched earlier this year, Vertex Printing and Packaging, a one-stop shop that offers digital and offset printing services, is already gaining major attractions from big brands such as Luxent Hotel and Amber Golden Chain of Restaurants.

It all started when Sean and Selene wanted to expand their family business. Since they already have the background on the printing business, it was not that hard for them to manage and handle the same business.

Aside from offering good quality products with affordable prices and quick service, what makes them stand out even more is that they feature their customers’ products in their social media pages as well. In this way, they do not only feature their services, but they also get to help their customers in marketing their products.

As a Communications Technology Management student of Ateneo, Sean said “it is honestly difficult [to balance being a student and being an entrepreneur] as the business requires attention from morning until night time. [However,] there’s no better time than to start early. Personally, I have goals I want to achieve by a certain age and I guess that’s my main drive. I’m also encouraged and supported by my family and it really means a lot for me.”

Watch out for Vertex Printing and Packaging as they will also venture to generic food boxes and different types of paper packaging very soon!

Vertex Printing and Packaging is located at 3078 F Bautista St, Brgy Ugong, Valenzuela City

You may also visit their social media pages at:




  1. Chachago – Carlo Lim

CSB Blazer Carlo Lim’s newest venture is a branch of the best-selling milk tea shop in Taiwan, Chachago. Together with his brothers, Paolo and Angelo, Carlo promises to serve honest to goodness quality and taste that this milk tea shop has always offered.


When Carlo and his brothers saw how huge the milk tea trend is, they saw a business opportunity in front of their faces. When asked how they chose Chachago among all the other milk tea joints, Carlo said “when I tasted Chachago, I really liked it because it was high-quality and unique from the rest, so I thought that other people will also enjoy it.”


Aside from serving a great variety of authentic Taiwanese drinks, what makes their branch exceptional is that they build a family within their store through valuing their employees’ growth and development. This then radiates to the customers; creating the best customer service one can have.

When asked how he manages all his responsibilities being a student, athlete and entrepreneur, Carlo said “it takes a lot of hard work; good thing [I have] my brothers as my partners because we really help each other. Teamwork is a big factor. Without my brothers, I don’t think I can balance being a student-athlete and at the same time an entrepreneur.” He added, “the main reason [why I wanted to be an entrepreneur as well] is to learn. I want to be able to experience what my life after college would be like even while I’m still in college. This way, I will be more prepared for my future.”

Chachago- Taft is located at 2F, One Archers Taft, Malate Manila

5) Flexxi Fitness – Angel Zheng

Fitness has always been Angel Zheng’s interest. This led her to put up Flexxi Fitness, an online store that sells affordable workout clothes and accessories.

Flexxi Fitness launched its first collection of workout apparel last December 20, 2019, and after 6 months of operations, has already sold hundreds of its products. As Angel recounted, being a figure skater and having a background in sports, I have always been interested in all things related to fitness. I love wearing cute workout clothes as well as accessories that can help motivate me during my workout sesh. Because of this, my aim was to make workout clothes super affordable with the hopes of helping motivate others and share more about body positivity!”

She added, “to be honest, there are lots of online shops that are also selling the same items as I do. But in addition to being able to sell the items at a more affordable price, I really do treat my business like my baby. I take good care of it, as well as my customers. I ensure that I prioritize to make sure that I keep my customers satisfied with my service all the time.”

This Lasallian, however, does not let her business compromise her studies. Despite handling multiple extracurricular activities, she tries to manage her time well, sacrificing a bit of leisure in order to fulfill her daily deliverables for school, business, and other activities. Stating why she wanted to become a student-entrepreneur, she said “both my parents are entrepreneurs and they are my main source of motivation. They encourage me to do my best and I want to make them proud as well. At the same time, I want to be able to inspire other students to never be afraid to start. You’ll never know where it’ll take you!”

You can check out Flexxi Fitness through:


Inspired by these Chinoy Student-Entrepreneurs? Be sure to tell us when you’ll open your own business and we might just include you in this list!

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