A Celebration of Success and Sacrifice
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Cebu City  October 2008  “The Latter-day Saints believe not only in the gospel of spiritual salvation, but also in the gospel of temporal salvation. We have to look after the cattle … the gardens and the farms … and other necessary things for the maintenance of ourselves and our families in the earth. … We do not feel that it is possible for men to be really good and faithful Christian people unless they can also be good, faithful, honest and industrious people. Therefore, we preach the gospel of industry, the gospel of economy, the gospel of sobriety.” (Gospel Doctrine)
 
Just like raising a child, starting a business needs constant care and attention. Latter-day Saints from different parts of the Philippines took this challenge and embarked on a journey that involved hard work and sacrifice.
 
The Academy for Creating Enterprise (ACE) has partnered with the Yamagata Foundation and Brigham Young University (BYU) Hawaii in recognizing individuals who have contributed in bringing about change in their lives and in the community. 
 
Initially thought of as a business plan competition, the project evolved into recognition for Latter-day Saint entrepreneurs after careful evaluation of what is best suited to the Philippine setting. The first Academy Entrepreneurs Awards seek to recognize individuals who are not only successfully operating businesses but those who are also start-ups or are growing businesses among the LDS community throughout the Philippines. It also seeks to inspire and provide a level of hope for those who have desires to create their own businesses.
 
The 220 nominations received were shortlisted to 32 finalists who were presented for final judging to representatives from the Yamagata Foundation, BYU Hawaii and the private sector. The finalists shared the birth pains of their businesses, sacrifices they made and strategies they used to drive their endeavors toward the path of success. After the rigorous final judging, eight (8) individuals were selected from the roster of finalists.
 
The winners were honored at a ceremony held at On Stage, Ayala Center in Cebu on 11 October 2008 where they received a trophy and a cash prize of PhP 75,000. Recipients received the award with joyful anticipation as a reward to their sacrifice and diligence. In between giving out the awards, the event was interspersed with dances and songs from local Cebu talents.    Gene Yamagata, founder of Yamagata Foundation, made the event even more memorable by giving all the finalists PhP 25,000. Initially, only the winners were supposed to receive cash prizes but because of what Mr. Yamagata saw and heard from all of the local Filipino entrepreneurs he felt prompted to give a reward to the finalists as well.
 
In an interview with Andy Barfuss, Chief Operations Officer of Academy for Creating Enterprise, he said that “life is about taking what you are and what you have and making the best out of it” which is what these Filipino entrepreneurs have done. Most of them may have simple businesses but the impact they have created in their families lives and in their communities is no small feat. They have risen above the challenges and provide inspiration to others who are contemplating on pursuing the same path. Their example is a perfect manifestation of the road to self reliance.
 
Academy Entrepreneurship Award Winners
 
LDS Social Entrepreneur – Jimmy Abalos
LDS Entrepreneur of the Year – Benjamin Bautista
Start-up Entrepreneur – Glenda Osma
Young Entrepreneur of the Year – James Darwin Isles
Innovation Entrepreneur of the Year – Paul Ryan Erwin Gusay
Retail Innovation of the Year – Ronald Aban
Woman Entrepreneur of the Year – Ma. Christina Itchon-Concepcion
Master Entrepreneur of the Year – Aaron Jeffrey Nolasco