Digital technology is a great equalizer as it can enable an individual to move up the socioeconomic ladder.
This was the case of Michico “Chico” Oranga, the president and founder of web design company Citrus Fresh Solutions, and the digital media agency Lime Digital Asia. Among its clients are Krispy Kreme, Wendy’s, Conti’s, Shell, Castrol, and Megaworld.
As a non-achiever in his elementary and high school days, Oranga recalled he consistently got grades starting with a “palakol” or in the line of seven.
Nevertheless, the Imus, Cavite native was determined to obtain a college degree. However, lady luck was not on his side as the pre-need company where his mother bought the educational plan had gone bankrupt. “I was devastated and turned to vices and became a bum,” he said.
Oranga, meanwhile, discovered he had a talent for repairing gadgets even without formal training. His “first” break came when his drinking buddy asked him to fix his personal computer. “That’s when my survival instincts kicked in. I discovered that you can earn money even without a college degree,” Oranga recalled.
The turning point for Oranga came when he worked as a custodian of his friend’s internet shop. During his free time, Oranga educated himself by reading voraciously all information technology-related literature such as coding, Photoshop and web design. He also joined an internet community, called Hide Codes Galore, whose members exchanged ready-made web design templates and codes. “From that community, I made connections with young people like me who were also aspiring web designers,” he said.
With his personal motto of “always striving for more,” Oranga developed new skills. From observing how the account managers presented to clients, he learned how to craft PowerPoint presentation decks and deliver pitches. From the personnel of the wedding photo studio that was next door to his office, he became an excellent photographer.
“My learning kept going. I invested in acquiring new knowledge. My boss was supportive of that undertaking,” Oranga explained.
With a modest capital of P15,000, he bought a server and a domain to put up Citrus Fresh Solutions. That was the start of his journey toward entrepreneurship.
When the e-commerce site Multiply announced its closure in 2013, Citrus Fresh Solutions saw it as an opportunity to help the account users who would be left without a platform to sell their merchandise. It also offered them a discounted rate to help them start their own e-commerce websites. “That was the start of the growth and one referral led to another,” he said. After five years, Citrus Fresh Solutions bagged a Philippine Best Brand Award in the web design category. It was a surreal moment for him as seated among the big guns in the industry such as Max’s and Potato Corner.
Although social media advertising and marketing remain as their core business. Oranga doesn’t want to stop there. “Right now, I am learning automations. I am learning AI. I am learning new trends on how to maximize TikTok,” he said.
Oranga said his companies will remain customer-centric because clients want a customized solution.
He believes that learning is a continuous process to enable himself to grow by seeking new knowledge and skills that he can apply to his work. “I’m constantly pushing myself to be better, and that mindset has helped me achieve balance and fulfillment,” he said.
As an entrepreneur, Oranga said one must learn to sacrifice, work hard, and have a willingness to take risks. “You have to be willing to put in the work, even when it seems like you’re not making progress. But if you’re committed to your goals and willing to persevere, success is within reach,” Oranga explained.
“Keep pushing yourself, keep learning, and keep growing. And remember, success is not just about achieving your goals. It’s about the journey you take to get there, and the person you become along the way,” he added.