By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
STEELASIA Manufacturing Corp. Chairman and CEO Benjamin O. Yao will be representing the Philippines in the prestigious Ernst & Young (EY) World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2020 after he was named recently the Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines (EOYP).
Organized globally by Ernst & Young, Yao was presented the EOYP 2019 during the awards banquet held at Makati Shangri-La.
An industrialist all his life, Yao is recognized for championing the development of the Philippine steel industry. Yao has always believed that a robust steel industry is needed for the country’s sustainable economic growth and development.
“Our business has to grow and evolve according to our country’s needs. We want to build something to be enjoyed by generations down the road, and thus, we accept that its success, we will never see in our lifetime,” he said.
Yao also received the award for the Master Entrepreneur category for sound management practices particularly in a company’s vital areas such as human resources, sales, business development, finance, and marketing.
As the first finalist belonging to the steel industry to be named the Entrepreneur of the Year, Yao is more than determined to continue pursuing his mission and vision of building the country through developing the Philippine steel industry.
With Yao putting his vision into action through SteelAsia, as seen with the company’s rapid expansion and plans of putting up an integrated steel mill in Lemery, Batangas, the country is inching closer to finally having its own steel industry.
The Philippine steel firm is investing over P100 billion in the next three to five years for its expansion plans. The company recently held its groundbreaking ceremonies for its project sites in Candelaria, Quezon and Lemery, Batangas for what will be the Philippines’ first wire rod manufacturing steel mill and the country’s first steel beams manufacturing plant, respectively.
Its expansion plans are expected to more than double employment from the current 3,000 jobs to about 7,000 jobs while creating a domino effect in the support industries to create an additional 21,000 employment, mostly in the countryside.
Yao was the first from the steel industry to be named Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines. Past winners were Jollibee’s Tony Tan Caktiong in 2003 who also won the World Entrepreneur of the Year, National Bookstore’s Socorro Ramos (2004), Cebu Pacific’s Lance Gokongwei (2005), La Frutera’s Senen Bacani (2006), Alaska Milk’s Wilfred Uytengsu Jr. (2007), Planters Development Bank’s Jesus Tambunting (2009), Bounty Fresh Food’s Tennyson Chen (2010), Aboitiz Power’s Erramon Aboitiz (2011), Hybrid Social Solutions’ Jaime Ayala (2012), Bench’s Ben Chan (2013), Xurpas’ Nix Nolledo (2015), and Uratex’s Natividad Cheng (2017).
Tambunting and Cheng were among the judges for this year’s EOYP. The other judges are Finance Usec. Antonette Tionko who is co-chair with Tambunting, Philippine Stock Exchange President Ramon Monzon, Management Association of the Philippines President Riza Mantaring, and Philippine Business for Social Progress Executive Director Reynaldo Laguda.