Episode 6 Recap: Steve Sy on e-commerce and turning adversity into strength

Success is not always instant, but what it is always preceded by is hard work. 

Last Sunday, CHiNOY TV’s latest episode of Chinese by Blood, Filipino by Heart revealed a story of innovation and resilience through the experiences shared by Steve Sy, Founder and CEO of Great Deals E-Commerce Corporation. Although Sy was initially plagued by a debt that had lasted for more than 12 years, he was then able to overcome the adversity through grit, persistence, and innovation. 

Now, Sy has been able to raise a record-breaking $30 million in Series B funding led by Logistics Firm Fast Group, showing an inspiring streak of growth that capitalizes on the new global norm. Here is what viewers can take away from the episode:


1. Hitting rock bottom means that you have nowhere to go but up. 

Before the widespread advent of e-commerce, Steve Sy was in debt for more than a decade. 

“During those times, I think I was in debt for more than P32 million. For 12 years, you keep on paying your debt, so there was a time na wala ka nang motivation to do business because you’ve maintained your debt. It’s been years… It’s not just one to two years, it’s your sixth year, seventh year, and you get frustrated, you get depressed,” recounts Sy. 

“But then because of family, you know, my brothers are also in business. My brother told me Ahya, why not go back into business?’”

With this bit of encouragement, Sy gathered the will to enter business again by importing cellphone accessories. Years after, he seized the opportunity to create the start-up Great Deals, leading to where he is today.



“Steve Sy’s story tells us that no matter how hopeless the situation is, the bottom line is we should know how to fight back and try again. Instead of feeling discouraged, do your best to make it to the top! The road may be rocky along the way but, eventually, it will make us wiser and stronger in the process! Just keep on moving ahead!” commented Facebook user Eloisa Marcelo-Ramirez.

Meanwhile, Allan Reyes wrote, “Even though he was down and out, he didn’t lose hope. He was hopeful that one day he [would] be able to come back and become bigger and better.”

“The life story of Mr. Steve Sy inspired me as a person aiming and dreaming to become as successful as Mr. Steve. Being motivated, no matter how hard the trials are in life, we will be forced to stand up and fight again because we have a dream that will come true. We have to fight every day to achieve everything we want. Never stop, and never give up,” said Venus Aguilar. 


2. Don’t be afraid to test new waters. 

Steve Sy’s eldest daughter recounted these exact words when asked what advice she remembers her father giving her. The idea is especially fitting when considering the increasingly digital society that the world is evolving into nowadays. 

Sy’s venture into e-commerce is one such example of sailing in new waters — an adventure to what Sy refers to as the “promised land.” Taking advantage of the still-developing industry, Sy seized an opportunity to reach for the top. Now, Great Deals services prominent clients such as Unilever, P&G, Nestle, and more. 



Roselyn Maglente commented, “Life is beautiful but not always easy. It has problems too, and the challenge lies in facing them with courage, letting the beauty of life act like a painkiller, making the pain bearable during trying times by providing hope.”

“We lose but [are] able to stand up!” shared Lemuel Nicasio Francisco. “Mr. Steve Sy’s story inspired me to take courage in facing challenges by [following] him. Take his advice and tips. Be brave in every life’s circumstances. Also, look up to him and make a move now because someday my/our time will come.” 


3. Be prepared to turn your challenges into strengths. 

The price of success is the effort you put into your work. From his days of doing ko tiam for his family business to picking himself up from his decade-long debt, Sy has taken every experience in life to get to where he is today. 

Recalling an argument he had with parents several years ago, Sy shared, “We had a heated discussion with my parents kasi I was you know, La Salle. And then it was a Sunday morning [when] they asked me to take care to go to Divisoria and open our store. And I told my parents, which I regretted, ‘Alam mo pinaaral mo ko sa La Salle para magbantay lang ng tindahan.’”

Looking back at the memory now, Sy concedes that it is through his parents’ efforts that the values of hard work and discipline have been instilled in him. “So up to now, even though we’re in the pandemic, I still have that habit of going to the office and working every day.”



“Challenges and problems are important parts of life that give you experiences, make you learn and help you to become wiser and stronger. Problems make us grow and shape us. The biggest problem people have is that they hope for a life without problems. This is an impossible goal, and would lead to a boring life without character,” wrote Mary Rose Pabelonia. 

Nathan Orticio Domondon also commented: “Being prepared for the unexpected is all part of day-to-day office life. Challenges present themselves in ways you might not have planned for, knocking your workflow off-balance in the process. With the right procedures and plans in place, however, you can easily overcome challenges at work when faced with the unexpected.”

“Life is beautiful, and every moment is a celebration of being alive, but one should always be ready to face adversity and challenges. A person who has not encountered difficulties in life can never achieve success,” penned Gelo Batac.

“Difficulties test the courage, patience, perseverance, and true character of a human being. Adversity and hardships make a person strong and ready to face the challenges of life with equanimity. There is no doubt that there can be no gain without pain. It is only when one toils and sweats it out that success is nourished and sustained.”


Don’t miss the replay of this week’s episode of Chinese by Blood, Filipino by Heart this evening, September 18, at 6:30 PM. Catch the next episode on Chef Sharwin Tee on Sunday at 8 PM. Both episodes will air on CNN Philippines. 


Related Posts

Leave a Reply