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Zest-O founder Alfredo Yao shares lessons in business & in life

Never lose hope, as the cliche goes.

But this line holds deeper meaning for bilyonaryo Alfred Yao, who briefly shared his rags-to-riches story

to aspiring entrepreneurs at the launch of the Department of Trade and Industry?s (DTI) ?Mentor Me? program in partnership with Go Negosyo.

?Huwag kayo mawawalan ng pag-asa? Ako dating natutulog sa bangketa, dating sidewalk vendor,? Yao said during the program?s launch in Davao City on October 11.

Yao , founder and chairman of Zest-O Corporation, shared that he was forced to quit school and do some odd jobs after his father died when he was 16 years old. Since then, Yao became the bread winner of the family being the eldest among six siblings.

?I was not able to graduate. Sa aming magkakapatid ako lang ang hindi nakapagtapos,? Yao shared, recalling how he used to sleep on the sidewalks using cigarette boxes.

But his sorry state did not deter Yao from taking a risk and dabble into selling packed fruit juice drinks, which led to the birth of Zest-O.

?Nag umpisa ako ng hanap buhay ko, tatlong libo (piso) lang po, that was in 1960s. Dun po ako nag umpisa at ito ay hindi ko kinakahiya po,? Yao said.

His advice to aspiring entrepreneurs? Do not be ashamed of incurring credits but be prompt in paying them.

?Iba yung hiram, iba yung bigay, iba yung utang. Nung araw, nag umpisa ako sa credit. Pero kapag sinabi ko sayong utang ito, babayaran kita sa Wednesday, Wednesday nandiyan ako babayaran kita,? Yao said.

?You should build up your credibility. Hindi nabibigay sa?yo ng libre yan. Pati yung respeto, you have to earn that,? he added.



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