WATCH: Success story of PH’s youngest billionaire

    MANILA, Philippines - At the age of 31, Joseph Calata, CEO of the Calata Corporation, became the country’s self-made billionaire. A business tycoon, an agricultural industrialist and a philanthropist, Joseph achieved success at an early point in his life because of his determination to improve agriculture and the lives of farmers in the Philippines.

    In his interview with Galing Bulacan TV Program, Calata said being recognized as the youngest billionaire in the Philippines is one of his best achievements: “Yung titulo na yan siyempre dati hindi ko masyadong iniintindi pero ngayon tingin ko dapat naging proud ako. Nung na-list [ sa stock exchange] yung company at na-value siya ng P2.7 billion at that time 31 years old ako. Para sa akin isa yun sa pinakamagandang achievement na nagawa ko sa buhay ko.”

    Success story of PH’s youngest billionaire Joseph Calata
    PHOTO CREDIT: Facebook/Asia New Zealand Foundation

    Destined for Success

    Even as a teenager, Calata already showed interest in running a business. While taking B.S. Management of Financial Institutions at the De La Salle University (DLSU), Calata joined a networking operation that sold multivitamins and various food supplements. In just five months, he was able to make P400,000 from commissions.

    Soon after he earned his degree, Calata became involved in running J-Melvin’s Trading, their family-owned poultry supply store in Plaridel, Bulacan. But even before jumping in, Calata had already noticed that the business was run like a sari-sari store.

    Modernizing a Traditional Family Business

    Seeing that some store employees could pilfer money if they weren’t around, Calata decided to computerize everything. He bought an accounting software and it actually took him a year to master it and customize it based on the store’s needs.

    “It was definitely trial-and-error but I wanted to prove that it could be done with patience and determination/ I asked myself, ‘Will I end up working in this store, merely giving change for animal feed?’ I decided to professionalize it. I worked 24/7. I could not make a new transaction if the previous day’s sales had not been encoded…because I saw how things would pile up. I wanted to perfect the system. I had to know how much we made every day. Was there profit? How much?”Calata told Inquirer.

    Soon after introducing innovation in the business, the family business started growing and expanding. To date, the company is one of the largest agricultural conglomerate in the country that offers agricultural retail store products, crop protection products, pig breeding services, feeds, fertilizers, and meat development. To keep up with times, they also offer mobile app technologies for farmers.

    The company also caters outside Bulacan and has tie ups with other countries.

    Going Beyond Business

    With the goal of improving the lives of farmers in the Philippines, Calata launched a foundation that helps offsprings of farmers.

    “Kasi ito ang pangarap niya na tulungan ang mga anak ng magsasaka para iangat sila sa bukid, dumami ang magsasaka dito. Pangarap niya balang araw kilalanin ang Pilipinas bilang ang mga magsasaka mayaman,” his mother Isabel revealed.

    Moreover, he sends scholars in Argentina to learn more about modern farming. Calata hopes that this technology will be implemented to help modernize agriculture in the Philippines.

    “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. 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,” Calata advised aspiring entrepreneurs.

    --Mini, The Summit Express

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