Almost a year ago, no one outside business circles had heard of Edgar “Injap” Sia II. But after making headlines with a P3 billion deal with Jollibee’s Tony Tan Caktiong, the otherwise meek and low-key CEO of Mang Inasal has become the poster boy for the Filipino business community and the millions of others wanting a classic success story like his. Entrepreneur Magazine asked Sia about Mang Inasal, being an entrepreneur and what happens next.
Q: From a simple business-owner you suddenly rose to fame (and fortune) in 2010 when you sold 70 percent of your stake in Mang Inasal to Jollibee’s Tony Tan Caktiong to the tune of P3 billion. Have things changed?
Many things have changed due to [my] current circumstances, but some things should stay the same. Keeping your feet on the ground, keeping your intensions honest, and making sure every decision you make is for the good of the majority, if not all.
For me, now, nothing big is in the pipeline since we still retain 30 percent of the company. I’m still helping out in improving and growing Mang Inasal on the strategic side, and helping out in the preparation for overseas expansion soon.
How would you describe the events that followed after the JFC deal was published?
It’s normal that right after the deal was announced, we received mixed reactions. But at the end of the day, it was for the best of Mang Inasal in the long run. I can personally see the company in full bloom, with the benefits that JFC brought, in a year or two.
In your letter to your employees, you mentioned it felt like “a father parting from his child.” Do you still feel the same way?
Yes, like a father parting from a daughter who is getting married. I felt a bit sad but I knew that, in the long run, it was for the best of the company.
Would you consider it highlight of your entrepreneurial career?
My entrepreneurial career has been a roller coaster ride, with so many loops and hurdles along the way. But I know that you can win all the challenges if you are armed with sheer determination, clear intensions, and self-discipline.
In June, Forbes Asia Magazine included you in their list of the country’s richest billionaires—the youngest ever. You’re in the same list as Henry Sy, Lucio Tan, and John Gokongwei. Where does one go from here?
They are all my idols. Ever since I was a kid I already looked up to them. [For my other] ventures, most are just passive investments. I’m spending half of my time observing and learning more about the business activities around the country.
I strongly believe in not having to rush into what the next big thing is. Rather, just cruise the days to learn, learn, and learn more things because big opportunities will just come at the right time and whatever you learned can be applied when that time comes.