According to an investment institution Goldman Sachs, “Millennials are poised to reshape the economy; their unique experiences will change the ways we buy and sell, forcing companies to examine how they do business for decades to come”.
A different world, a different worldview. Millennials have grown-up in a time of rapid change giving them a set of priorities and expectations sharply different from previous generations. Wonderful as it sound, in our society today, Millennials are also the most misunderstood generation. Common stereotypes with negative connotation such as being magastos, YOLO thinking, gadget monsters, impulsive buyers, and being indecisive are tagged with them.
With few exceptions, several young millennials chose to go a different road, in the most unlikely place- BUSINESS! Meet Mykee and Hiro, they are few Millennials who stood-up and thrived in their industries and made their way to the top. Inspiring stories worth sharing!
Mykee Ong- “Myko’s Garments”, 24
Manyssa “Mykee” Ong is second child in the family. She was brought-up by her parents who are doing business for decades already. Now, her family owns some of the branches of a “very” popular food-business around Metro Manila. Life might be “beds of roses” for her as we thought. However, she was trained to live a simple and frugal life. She grew-up not being spoiled with stuff and toys as a kid ,they were provided on what they only need.
“My parents taught me to be always prudent as possible. My mindset is always Lahat ng bagay pinaghihirapan. I can still remember my parents would prefer to go to Dunkin Donuts to drink coffee than go to Starbucks because it’s way too expensive for them”.
She finished her degree in Pharmacy at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST). Before, she wants to pursue medicine but she sets it aside for now. After graduation, she works as a staff in a BPO company for a year but eventually went to Australia to attend school.
“While I was there, I also got different part-time jobs while studying. Earning money in Sydney was too fast and easy, but after a while I missed my family and friends-I missed home. I did not want to work my entire life there and grow old lonely.”
She finally decided to go back to the Philippines where her heart is, and re-applied to her previous job. She slowly re-assessed and redirected her life to things that matters most and learned things her way as much as possible.
“My eldest brother was convincing me to try to trade stocks when he was in Sydney but at that time I did not have cash so I was quite uninterested. But later, I did start it from my hard-earned money. It was very fulfilling. From that experience, I realized that there’s no such thing as “easy money” since the market is volatile. I was also a follower of Mica Tan who started trading at a very young age, became a self-made entrepreneur and now she was able to earn Millions from companies she owns as an Angel Investor“.
When she was investing for couple of months, everything gets clearer- it’s about time for her to step up! She has decided to align her life in business. It is not surprising since she has been with their family businesses all her life, but embracing it personally was something incredible. It is putting all her heart to it.
After consulting with her family, she has already made her mind to leave her job to be a full-time entrepreneur.
“I have many plans and ideas to start different kind of businesses but I was thinking that I have to leverage on what my family has started. We have our “Patahian” in Bataan which has been existing for 20 years and many of our employees were still there to this day. I wanted to revive the business and expand it so that I can also help them and create more jobs for the neighborhood. My goal is to make it bigger, perhaps a factory from that area. That’s my vision”.
When she took over the family business, she literally takes the wheels, redirecting the vision of the company and doing her part as a hands-on leader.
“When I started there, I had to personally market our services, from schools, establishments,and to friends. It has taught me many things as a young businesswoman, to be diligent and be competitive. At first, it wasn’t easy but everything paid-off. Now we received high demands and our employees have to work overtime to finish volume of orders. We are also growing as a company.”
She said that after she will establish everything in order, she will engage in other businesses. She also wants to be a venture capitalist like her idol Mica Tan, to fund start-up and promising businesses in the country. Her advice to millennials and ladies her age, is not to be impulsive in terms of making decisions.
“We are always responsible in everything that we do. Jumping from one company to another is not a good thing; it is more of an attitude. Grow where you are planted, when it’s time for you to do or start your own, make sure you have enough back-up plans.”
Hiro Koba- “Kitty String”,27
The Twists and Turns of Life
Have you ever played yoyo? Like a yoyo, Hiro Koba’s life was filled with ups and downs, twists and turns. At age 18, in 2006, he quit college after his parents separated. While at that age, he should be enjoying college and social life, being the eldest, he had to work in Japan to help support the family.
He tried different jobs, and was just beginning to enjoy his new found capacity to earn, when he broke his back muscle in a food factory where he worked 10 hours a night. Sadly, he had to go home for treatment and recovery. For a young person like him who found a way to earn money, the agony of losing the chance to work and help his mom was even heavier than the loads his frail body had to carry in the factory. This twist brought him to a low point in his life.
Up and Down Like a Yoyo
Ironically, it is a game of ups and downs, twists and turns that sustained him. At 15, Hiro started developing a passion for yoyo. He spent lots of time practicing and later joined tournaments where he won many times. He became Philippine National Yoyo Champion in 2005, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Could you imagine that during those times, a yoyo champion like him cannot even afford to buy yoyo string? But this did not stop him. Friends taught him how and soon, he was making his own yoyo string. Later, he was selling them to his friends who called them “Kitty String”.
Another Twist, Another Turn
It was in a 2007 tournament when an international judge took notice of the strings he made and suggested that he export them. Encouraged, he converted a tiny space in his room and with an improvised machine, made Kitty String and tried exporting them. The first sale did not go well, because the buyer did not pay him. Another twist, another low point. Undeterred, he used his Japanese speaking and writing skill to convince Japanese stores to buy. Soon, he was making his first export to Japan. After 5 months, he ran out of funds, had to stop, reaching another low point in his life of ups and downs. He cried out to God.
With the financial support of some friends, he had the chance to join an international tournament in Singapore. People he did not know complimented him for the Kitty String. This boosted his hope. It was like hearing God tell him to keep on going. From his relatives in the US, he received funds for him to join another international tournament, but instead of joining, he bought a machine and hired and trained a part time worker to mass produce Kitty String.
In the Hands of the Master
Today, Kitty String is sold in more than 30 countries and is used by thousands of yoyo players worldwide.
Looking back, Hiro Koba’s life was like a yoyo, filled with twists and turns, ups and downs, but now he knows that like a master yoyo player, God has been holding the string. In every ups and downs, twists and turns, the master will never let go. As he looks at his machine that twists and turns those threads that make up strong Kitty String, God reminds him that those twists and turns are only meant to make him strong like the Kitty String that he makes. In the hands of the master, the yoyo will never fall.