The Philippines took the center stage anew, as the country’s franchising ambassadress and the universally acknowledged Mother of Philippine Franchising Ma. Alegria “Bing” Sibal-Limjoco was recognized by the very prestigious International Women Entrepreneurs Challenge (Iwec) 2017 on November 14 at the 10th Annual Iwec Conference at the Microsoft main office in Washington, USA.
Iwec is a New York-based non-profit organization whose mission is to connect and develop a global network of successful women business owners.
Limjoco was nominated by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business organization, representing Francorp Philippines, the country’s foremost franchise developer and consultancy firm.
She is acknowledged as the Woman Icon of Philippine Franchising, having been a two-term president and currently the vice chairman of the Philippine Franchise Association (PFA), the country’s premier and the only internationally recognized franchise organization.
She is the first Filipino and first Asian to earn the Certified Franchise Executive, a mini-MBA on Franchise Management at the University of Saint Thomas in Minneapolis, USA, which is accredited by the Institute of Certified Franchise Executives of the United States-based International Franchise Association.
Limjoco has represented the Philippines through PFA in various international franchise organizations most notably the World Franchise Council and the Asia-Pacific Franchise Confederation and has brought Philippine brands in various international franchise shows in the US, Europe and Asia.
From 2014 to 2015 PFA tapped Limjoco’s expertise as CEO of Francorp Philippines, to be the key resource person in the Franchising Regional Enterprises Women Project undertaken by PFA. The said project took PFA to four areas in the Philippines: South Luzon, the Visayas, Northern Mindanao and Southern Mindanao, inspiring and encouraging women entrepreneurs to grow their business through franchising.
Limjoco is also the vice chairman of the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA), the country’s acknowledged organization of top-notch retailers and suppliers nationwide and was recognized by the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives “Ang Susi” Awards as the “Association Board Member of the Year” last year. She has been with the PRA board of directors since 1976 and served as its president for three terms.
She is the president of Central Books, director of Phoenix Publishing, both owed by her family.
Bing, as she is fondly called in the local and international business industry, dreamt of being a diplomat. But her father, who owns Phoenix Publishing House, asked her to study in New York, as he wanted her to take over the business someday.
New York, the center of the world’s business and commerce, was a world away from Manila. The busy streets, the skyscrapers and the hustle and bustle of daily life in a big city helped create a highly competitive environment.
Despite her reservations, Limjoco became inspired. The competitive spirit and the drive that only a city of New York’s stature can bring has made Limjoco see herself in a different light—that of an entrepreneur.
“I became a business minded woman when I studied in New York. Studying overseas makes you more active, competitive and business-minded because you have to prove what you are despite the discrimination. That way, I become engaged in business and served my father in the publishing industry,” Limjoco shared.
She earned her AB Foreign Service degree from Saint Theresa’s College, Interior Design from the New York School of Interior Design, and her Masters in Business and Economics from the University of Asia and the Pacific.
IWEC’S reach encompasses women who are already in the global marketplace and want to expand, and those who are ripe to get into the marketplace.
Iwec’s ecosystem is comprised of women-owned companies around the globe whose combined annual revenue is over $25 billion, and who employ over 125,000 workers worldwide.
Iwec’s constituents represent some of the most influential businesswomen from the world’s most important emerging and established regions.
Limjoco’s steady hand and guidance have helped new businesses and brands prosper in an ever- changing and challenging business environment in the Philippines, through the PFA, PRA and Francorp Philippines.
“I find so much fulfillment in seeing businesses grow and it gives me personal satisfaction to know that I have contributed to their growth,” she enthused.
“To my PCCI, PFA and PRA families, I thank you all for this award. I thank the Lord for enabling me to help the micro or small businesses to grow from one to many through franchising and to go global. I am committed to help our countrymen to grow through franchising. To create thousands of entrepreneurs and generate millions of job. To God be the glory!” she added.