7 Filipino Traits Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Have

7 Filipino Traits Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Have

Success stories of Filipino tycoons are no strangers to life’s struggles. Filipinos are known for their hard work, resilience, and optimism. They can overcome challenges and daily battles by going above and beyond to fight poverty and ensure survival. 

But are these the only words that represent them? Fortunately, the foundation that lies in the work we do came from our diverse culture. 

Looking at how our country’s top businessmen built their empires from the ground up demonstrates that becoming a Filipino leader requires more than just hard work, persistence, and optimism.

Every successful Filipino business leader must be an exemplar of seven fundamental traits to be an epitome of the values that every local enterprise should uphold:


The most successful Filipino entrepreneurs are not always those who bags gold medals or have a stellar academic record. Some of them never even finished elementary school. Filipino business owners have what we might call street-smarts and a lot of common sense. They have a practical mindset. They make decisions based on their knowledge of human nature gained through experience. They can develop good products, but they also understand how to relate to their customers and provide what they need. 

This trait is exemplified by Henry Sy, the owner of Shoe Mart (SM). He opened his first shoe store, which is now popularly known as SM Malls, by selling used military combat boots and other postwar goods from supportive American soldiers. He now belongs to the world’s wealthiest men and is a world-class commercial center developer who offers entrepreneurs and working-class opportunities.

Learning these skills and abilities is not acquired from books or inside the four corners of a classroom; it comes from every opportunity taken, every failure, and every small victory celebrated.


Filipinos are well-known for their resilience. From Spanish colonization to revolutions, typhoons, and even the pandemic, Filipinos have overcome any adversity in life. Setbacks serve as an opportunity for Filipino entrepreneurs to learn and grow. They recognize that failure is a part of the game.

According to the GoDaddy 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Survey, Filipino respondents want to learn more about digital technologies and how to leverage them to their businesses, with 69 percent interested in social media, 43 percent considering creating their business portals, 39 percent interested in mobile apps, and 38 percent interested in e-commerce.

This survey only proves how strong-willed and resilient Filipinos are. No matter what life throws at them, they come back stronger. 


There is no denying the Filipino entrepreneur’s dedication. Poverty has motivated lots of Filipinos to have a goal-oriented mindset in their lives. 

Most small business entrepreneurs sacrifice their time for their families to meet that quota. There are no sick leave or petty excuses; once they have set their minds onto something big, they will make it happen, just like how Rey Calooy, the founder of RNC Marketing, beat poverty and built his empire. Filipinos have the discipline to set smaller targets that they will get to achieve their ultimate goal.


When a Filipino entrepreneur chooses a business to pursue, he will not stop thinking about it. This motivates him to learn everything he can about pursuing that dream. This enthusiasm instills in the heart and mind of a Filipino entrepreneur. Thus, building a strong sense of dedication and involvement in his business.

Sofia Zobel Elizalde’s love of dance inspired her to establish Steps Dance Studio and Project, advocating preserving the country’s culture and arts through dance. Her passion for dancing led her to assist aspiring dancers in realizing their dreams, just as she did.

The most successful entrepreneurs feed their passion until it reaches a point when the business is no longer only about the profit margin; the company itself provides the entrepreneur fulfillment and happiness. This trait demonstrates that if you are passionate about your business, you will find the resources to succeed for its reason.


Empathy is an essential leadership trait that boosts workplace satisfaction and employee engagement, according to research. Empathy refers to the ability to identify with people prudently.

Employees feel less stressed at work when they sense they are understood, which leads to a more productive environment. Furthermore, empathy promotes group openness, which encourages people to speak up and express themselves. This trait provides leaders with new perspectives that can aid in the effective building of connections and the improvement of systems. 

This trait will bridge you and your employees and build a connection that will last for a long time. 

“Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you build one with your employees first.” – Angela Ahrendts, Senior Vice President of Apple.


It can be daunting to start your own business. On the other hand, Filipino entrepreneurs have faith in their judgment and ability to handle their own company. He will handle all aspects of the business, from finding the best suppliers to renting the location, marketing, selling, customer service, and even accounting. They can take planned or even courageous, ostensibly risky risks. They understand that, while they can get the best advice and research, the success of their firm ultimately depends on their judgment.

Angely Dub, CEO-Founder of Access Travel and Tours, a travel agency that has become a favorite among celebrated local artists, travel bloggers, and influencers, is a perfect example. Dub started her business at 19 and faced many challenges, including being betrayed by her business partner and losing everything she had worked for. 

Despite this, she took a risk by investing in an experimental trip for fashion blogger Laureen Uy, whose Instagram post immediately drew 10,000 followers for Access Travel and Tours. With 225,000 followers, the agency has now become the most recommended for celebrities.


The path to victory is not linear. Most of the time, it is a journey that necessitates looking back and learning from the past. As a result, the only way to do such a feat is through humility.

Humility, like empathy, enables individuals to work without allowing the past to discourage them instead of allowing it to be a footprint for better decisions. More importantly, humility motivates employees to work toward a common goal. Instead of getting overwhelmed by negativity, a humble character is reminded that a task is not solely for his benefit but the benefit of something greater.

Consider the life of Diosdado Banatao, the founder of Chips and Technologies Co., which Intel later acquired for a hefty $430 million. Growing up in poverty, Banatao made it a point to complete his education no matter how difficult life became. 

He met prominent personalities such as Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs after joining Homebrew Computer Club. He invented a single-chip controller, chipsets, and other products now considered milestone products in the computer industry. 

As a way of repaying his alma mater, Malabbac Elementary School, he ensured that it would have the most advanced computer system in the country, even as a public school. 


Although owning a business can be extremely rewarding, not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. Before jumping into entrepreneurship, start learning how our culture is rooted in the core of Philippine companies. Entrepreneurs have a greater chance of succeeding if they adopt these qualities that bring out the best in our often complex, sometimes conflicting traits.

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The VA Reviewer

The VA reviewer is an avid traveler, a licensed accountant, practicing corporate and tax lawyer, and an online entrepreneur. He has leveraged his online job experience and professional qualifications to provide solutions to problems hounding businesses.

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