With the continuing presence of COVID-19 and lockdowns still in place for several parts of the country, small and medium businesses continue to find ways to innovate and to stay afloat.
To support and honor small and medium enterprises in the Philippines in light of the pandemic, Globe myBusiness in cooperation with CHiNOY TV held the Create. Modern Tao Kes. | Mindanao Edition as the third installment of the webinar series supporting their Saludo SMEs campaign.
The event took place on July 24, 2020, with the support of the Cagayan de Oro Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Incorporated, Davao Filipino Chinese Cultural Foundation Incorporated, Davao City Chinatown Development Council, Southern Mindanao FCCCII, Anvil Business Club, and the Filipino-Chinese Tao Ke Group, and with the attendance of more than 200 Tao Kes from Mindanao!
Speakers of the webinar included Richprime Global Inc.’s President and CEO Myrna Tang-Yao, Joy-Nostalg Group’s Group Executive Officer Jacinto “Jun” Ng, Jr., Ever Bilena Cosmetics, Inc.’s President and CEO Dioceldo Sy, and his daughter Denice Sy-Munez, who serves as Ever Bilena’s Chief Sales & Marketing Officer. The webinar featured the four speakers sharing personal experiences with how their companies are coping in the midst of COVID-19, and gave advice to listening Tao Kes on how they can handle and innovate in their own businesses in the midst of the pandemic and the changing environment surrounding it.
In traditional Chinese families, the children – especially the oldest male child – are expected to continue the family business. For some of our speakers, that wasn’t the case.
Myrna Yao initially helped in her family business, but she relinquished her role per her father’s wishes to her eldest brother upon his graduation. This led her to branch off on her own, and she ended up starting Richprime Global, which distributes several toys in the country such as Barbie and Hot Wheels. “It’s a tradition. I love my father, and I know that was a given, so I was open to it,” she looks back on it, but she credits God’s blessing in guiding her to what would become Richprime today.
Dioceldo Sy’s experience with cosmetics began with working for his grandfather’s business, which he worked with until it closed in 1980. After a few years of selling anything to earn a living, he went back to the world of cosmetics with Ever Bilena, and with his decision to make makeup as affordable as possible, the rest was history.
CONTINUING WITH THE FAMILY
While others have managed to branch off and start their own companies, the other two speakers have decided to stick their careers close to home.
Jacinto Ng, Jr. had a unique proposition of his own with regards to Joy-Nostalg, which was a venture that he and his father pursued away from their old venture company which was slowing down. “It’s quite fulfilling because I’m able to express my own character and my own competence,” he shares, “but of course, with the guidance of the tua tao ke, and it’s a great thing that he has given me a great deal of latitude [and] flexibility to be able to chart the course of the company.” Despite all the disadvantages and risks that came with starting out on his own, he is grateful for the encouragement from his family and inspiration from God regarding their experience.
Sy’s daughter Denice Sy-Munez initially debated on whether she should work in the United States or go into Ever Bilena, and talked with her dad about possibly joining the company. “My dad poured his heart and soul into the company. It provided livelihoods for us, for so many employees, so it’s kind of the heart to give back to the people who helped bring the company where it is now. That’s one of the reasons why I stayed on board,” she shared about boarding Ever Bilena. Ever Bilena also was an avenue for Munez to create her own ventures that she could pursue through the company, such as Hello Glow.
INNOVATING WITH COVID-19
Although the four speakers are handling big-named companies, they were not exempt from being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing them to innovate in ways they never expected.
With the “hospitality” industry hitting hard, Ng and Joy-Nostalg had to prepare their own protocols as early as January to ensure their employees’ safety. “Despite the challenges we’re having now, we’re still continuing. We’re still designing the ways to redefine the business. Travel will still be around, although more restricted,” he described. “There will still be travel, and you will still need a place to stay.” Some of the solutions they have come up include communication of information regarding the pandemic, video tours of their low-cost housing, and their own logistics program, Joy Joy Move, for delivery of important documents.
Although this is not the first time Ever Bilena faced a challenge, the massive impact of the current pandemic is new territory for them. “You’ve got to throw away all the old plans, programs, or policies that are normal in operations,” he states, continuing the need of him and Denice to check the company and the market and adapt to the current situation. They have not only aggressively promoted online, but they also have developed new products, an unexpected thing that Munez called a “blessing.”
Yao shares that “This is a time to really strengthen our marketing online…It’s the future. These challenges give us more leeway into strengthening the side of digital and online marketing.”
WHAT COMES NEXT
With companies adjusting in the midst of the pandemic, the speakers looked forward to the future on what comes next.
Yao expressed that she could not live without working since she loves her job, sharing, “I still go to the office three times a week, and I still manage and work at home, and it has been my life. If you tell me to stop working, I don’t think I can,” she shared.
Munez believes the current New Normal might change long term behavior even after the pandemic is over, where people might want to go back to shopping the way they used to be, while others would rather remain online for the long-term – an attribute to a dynamic market, so their efforts currently won’t be wasted in pursuing the growing demand.
For those who are deciding whether or not people should pursue the family business, Ng advises people to do both. He sees joining the family business as the ideological choice as it’s a form of respecting and giving back to parents, while starting a self-made business is a way to express personal passions and to apply what is learned from parents at the same time.
The webinar covered several relevant topics from working with the family, to surviving in the midst of COVID-19, and to innovating in the midst of crisis. The four speakers shared personal stories and heartfelt advice based on years of experience that are valuable advice to listening Tao Kes who are adjusting to the new normal.
The Mindanao Edition of the Modern Tao Ke Webinar served as the third webinar Modern Tao Ke E-Series. Through the Saludo SMEs campaign, and through this event, Globe myBusiness’ equips the Chinese-Filipino community with the proper knowledge and business solutions to rebuild their businesses, especially at a time where many Chinoy businesses are in the middle of reopening their business in the new normal.
Stay tuned on CHiNOY TV’s Facebook page for the webinar’s replay!