Bo's Coffee founder recognized as global difference maker
MANILA, Philippines – Having traded a law degree to start a sustainable coffee shop, Steve Benitez is now set to make greater impact on Philippine development.
Endeavor chose the founder of Bo's Coffee as the latest Filipino high-impact entrepreneur during its 64th International Selection Panel in Madrid, Spain, held from May 25 to 27.
A global non-profit group, Endeavor aims to transform emerging economies by providing support to local entrepreneurs capable of creating high-growth businesses. The aim is to help them build companies that others can feed off, creating a healthy job-creating ecosystem similar to Silicon Valley.
Benitez joins a select group of globally-selected, Philippine-based Endeavor entrepreneurs that include Xurpas founder and president Nix Nolledo and PSG Global Solutions founders Brian Cotter and Vivek Padmanabhan.
"As a high-impact entrepreneur, Steve convinced panelists of his ability to build a successful business, but just as importantly, he has also supported and mentored other entrepreneurs to grow their own businesses," said Manny Ayala, managing director of Endeavor Philippines.
Benitez recounted how his appreciation for coffee began when he was a law student – he realized that he would rather be a barista than a barrister.
After a trip to a coffee trade show in the United States, Steve decided to put up his own kiosk in 1996, with an initial capital of P150,000. Bo's Coffee has since grown to be the largest specialty coffee store in the Visayas and Mindanao.
The ability to scale up is a major factor in the selection process which Bo's Coffee continued to exhibit last year, Endeavor pointed out.
Benitez grew the business to 75 chains with 500 employees in 2015, and the company is planning to at least double in size by 2020.
The firm's social impact was another consideration for its selection. The panel noted that Bo's Coffee sets an example for Philippine retail by partnering with social entrepreneurs for its nationwide distribution channel, allowing them to grow alongside the firm.
These social entrepreneur partners practice sustainability by working with, and sourcing coffee from, local communities.
As a newly-minted Endeavor high-impact Entrepreneur, Benitez will have access to Endeavor's global network of over 4,000 business leaders who can help him accelerate the process of scaling up.
The benefits also extend to free consulting services from top firms Ernst and Young and Bain Consulting, and potential access to Endeavor's investment fund, should Benitez require it.
"Bo's Coffee is well-positioned for growth with plans to expand distribution in Luzon and Metro Manila. Further, Bo's Coffee will push their message of supporting local communities and sustainability as the Philippines' best homegrown brew," Ayala said. – Rappler.com
Editor's note: Nix Nolledo and Manny Ayala are Rappler board members.