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5 Success Stories of Filipino Entrepreneur
Alfredo M. Yao, 66, is a Filipino-Chinese and a rags-to-riches businessman who founded the the privately-held company, Zest-O Corporation. His other businesses include Semexco Marketing, Inc., Harman Foods, Amchem Marketing, Inc., American Brands Philippines, Inc., SMI Development Corporation, Philippine Business Bank and Zest Airways. He also served as the Special Envoy to China for Tourism and Cooperation. He was conferred as the Most Admitted ASEAN Enterprise Award in the Innovation Category for his Zest-O Corporation. Yao was the awarded 2005 Master Entrepreneur by Ernst and Young. Yao became a breadwinner at an early age after his father died when he was only 12 years old. He is the eldest of the six children, being penniless, he started to work to help the family because his mother’s earnings as a sidewalk vendor could not support their needs. He would accompany his mother to Chinese gambling dens to sell. He hardly finished his elementary and high school education but with the help of a relative, he completed it. He went to the Mapua Institute of Technology for college but had to leave after two years. Later on, he was still able to earn his degree in Engineering under the same institute and got his doctorate degree in Business Administration Honoris Causa from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
Yao worked hard and did odd jobs such as working in a warehouse of a packaging company. At that time, one of his cousins was working in a printing press and had the chance to visit the work place several times. And there he saw the potential market in the packaging business and decided to invest. It was the birth of Solemar Commercial Press, named after his mother. The said printing press was engaged into making cellophane wrappers of biscuits and candies and stayed 20 years as a business. Then in 1979, while touring around Europe, Mr. Yao came to discover the technology in packaging called “doy packs.” Or...