Tuesday, March 18, 2014

OFWs who went into business

A GROWING number of Overseas Filipinos have begun the inevitable exodus back to the Philippines, which they deem as the perfect place to retire, raise their children and even start their own business.

Among these “balikbayans’” is a Wells Fargo banker formerly based in the US and an electrical engineer who spent 13 years of his professional life in the Middle East.

Literally worlds apart despite their Filipino heritage, these two now have one new thing in common—they are both new 7-Eleven franchisees.

“After working in the United States for so long, my husband and I wanted to migrate back to the Philippines to settle down and raise our children with Filipino values,” says Laarni Legaspi Genoso, who worked as an assistant vice president for Wells Fargo in San Diego, California.

Both Laarni and her husband Carlo, however, wanted to make sure that they would have a steady income in the country that would be able to provide them with a comfortable way of life. Thus driven by this goal, they began to research on different types of investments and businesses that they can go into here in the country.

Going into business

“Early on we both decided to look into a franchise business, since with a franchise, the business is already set up and you know you will get help as opposed to setting up a business from scratch,” says Genoso. “And we also wanted a franchise that is universally recognized, so immediately opted for 7-Eleven,” she adds.

In the case of electrical engineer Felixberto Paras, the challenge of handing multibillion-dollar projects in his line of work drove his passion. So when he decided to settle back down in the country and enjoy the fruits of his labor, his passion blossomed into a full-blown entrepreneurial spirit.

“Working for a construction business in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Dubai has taught me a lot about depending on a company’s strength to ensure success. I was confident that if my company can back me up, I can build anything,” says Paras.

Consistent performance

The engineer-turned-businessman then applied his philosophy in the country when he began to search for a business where he can entrust his hard-earned money. He was drawn to the consistent performance of the world-recognized convenience store, 7-Eleven and its country-licensor, Philippine Seven Corporation.

And like all migrant Filipinos who have looked into the 7-Eleven franchise business as a worthwhile investment, Genoso and Paras where initially surprised to discover that the convenience store chain was available for franchise.

7-Eleven has 169 company-owned stores, and 115 franchise stores.

“Upon learning that the franchise stores had grown to 115 since Philippine Seven Corporation offered it to the public back in 1998, I immediately knew that this is a dynamic business that is both lucrative and has great potential for growth,” says Paras.

Putting in P3M

Genoso and Paras opted for a new franchise store investment, which costs around P3 million. Genoso’s 7-Eleven store was set up at the ground floor of the Madrigal building along Ayala Avenue, while Paras’ franchise was located near the exit ramp going into San Fernando, Pampanga.

Genoso and Paras also enjoyed the level of support that Philippine Seven Corporation gives to its franchisees, assigning area managers that provide constant support to the new franchisees as well as opening up communication lines for concerns and queries encountered in their daily operations.

Both new franchisees also appreciated the sharing system employed by Philippine Seven Corporation, where the company also shares in the cost of operations of each store, thereby sharing in the risks involved in running the business.

Genoso’s cousin, Lyndon, another banker had already acquired his own franchise in Gen. Trias, Cavite. Paras is also considering getting another 7-Eleven franchise.

Among the other balikbayans who have embraced their blossoming entrepreneurial spirit are Sonia Paredes, who operates 7-Eleven Northgate; Rhoneil Sta. Maria runs two branches in Quezon City; Manolito and Danilo Manalo own franchises in DFA and Libertad; Angel Briones runs 7-Eleven Burgundy; Ruby Ong acquired a Service Agreement franchise for Paco 2; Melissa Do owns the Jupiter and RCBC stores; Melvin Gervacio operates the Orosa and US Embassy stores, and Marilyn Sta. Ana runs the FEU and St. Scholastica franchises.

7-Eleven is available for franchise in the areas of Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Manila, Makati and Quezon City. For inquiries, call 726-9968, 0920-9508651. Photo courtesy of

Source:"Ways for Juan de la Cruz to make money" by Ronnel Domingo, published on