PH’s Youngest Self-Made Billionaire Shares Secrets to Success

“Magkakaron ng failure, ok lang yun, pero tuloy-tuloy mo lang, dire-diretso lang ang ginagawa mong business, obsessed ka, pag focus ka sa ginagawa mo for sure tagumpay yun.”- Joseph Calata

For the country’s youngest self-made billionaire, business failures shouldn’t hinder entrepreneurs from eventually becoming triumphant.

joseph-calata
PHOTO CREDIT: Inquirer

Joseph Calata, CEO of the Calata Corporation, became the Philippines’ youngest self-made billionaire at the age of 31. He also became the country’s youngest entrepreneur to ever list his company through an initial public offering.

The young entrepreneur was responsible for transforming his family business into the Philippines’ largest distributor of agriculture products and veterinary medicines.

So how exactly did Calata made such accomplishment at an early point in his life?

Apparently, Calata already had the makings of a successful entrepreneur even at a young age. According to his mother Isabel, young Calata would often read about the success stories of business magnates to get inspired.

When he was taking up B.S. Management of Financial Institutions at the De La Salle University (DLSU), he joined a networking operation that sold multivitamins and food supplements. He was able to make P400,000 from commissions in just five months.

After graduation, Calata worked at the family business, J Melvin’s, a retail store in Plaridel, Bulacan. He was simply tasked to peddle agricultural products in the area.

Although the business was successful in its own right, Calata discovered some gaps in the business operation and system.

Speaking to The Philippine Star, Calata said: “It relied heavily on trust. This is good, but not all the time. I saw glaring gaps in the system –– or lack thereof. It didn’t take me long to realize that a lot of things could fall through the cracks. I knew then that while we were making a good living, there was a lot of potential that remained unexplored.”

Seeing the need for a system, Calata procured the company’s first personal computer and printer in 2001. He also bought an accounting software and customized it for their business operations. Although people in the enterprise, including his parents, initially didn’t support his idea, taking that  step revealed operational and financial inconsistencies in the family business.

The risk Calata took helped the family business evolve into a true conglomerate offering top agrochemical brands, fertilizers, feeds, seeds, and veterinary medicines throughout the country. Upon its initial public offering in 2012, Calata Corporation’s market capitalization was estimated to be over P2.7 billion.

“Kailangan lang talaga sa business, kailangan focused tayo. Pag gusto mo mag-negosyo kahit magfail yan, kailangan tuloy-tuloy ka pa din. Yung focus mo dapat dumating na sa obsession. Talagang obsessed ka sa business, sa business na gusto mo pasukin. Dahil pag ginawa mo yun, sigurado magtatagumpay ka,” Calata told aspiring entrepreneurs.

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