Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs in the Philippines You Should Know

Women’s entrepreneurship is a big part of women’s economic empowerment. It is proven to advance women’s rights and increase women’s influence in nation-building. 

A 2018 case study reported that an estimated figure of USD $4.5 trillion could be added to Asia and the Pacific’s GDP if the gender gap in economic opportunities was closed by 2025. Without a doubt, women’s entrepreneurship is becoming an essential driver of economic growth and job creation worldwide. 

Here in the Philippines, there are one in every four women-led SMEs. So in honor of International Women’s Month, we’re putting the spotlight on some of the most inspiring women today who are making a difference in our country.

Let’s begin!

The Filipina Pride: Women Entrepreneurs Soaring

What makes an inspirational woman? Think about the women who inspire you…

They are most likely women who achieved great things. Women who inspire other women to dream big and pursue their passions. Women uplifting women despite the odds.

All inspiring women stories show the struggles that women of today still face as the journey to gender equality continues. In the world of business, a female entrepreneur tends to meet these challenges:

  • Limited opportunities (due to gender norms)
  • Limited access to technology
  • Limited access to networks
  • Limited mobility
  • Limited access to financing

For these reasons, it is vital to find inspirational women who have made it through the metaphorical glass ceiling. These women of inspiration can serve as mentors for those still starting. 

The stories of these motivational women serve as a reflection of the plight of every female entrepreneur. And their stories leave clues on how we can create more sustainable and gender-inclusive businesses.

Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs in the Country

While men still dominate businesses in the Philippines, women entrepreneurs are rising. Many women are breaking through barriers in their chosen fields. 

Research shows that women-owned companies tend to employ more women than those owned by men. So it comes as no surprise that as women entrepreneurs grow, the number of women employed in paid jobs also increases.

Here are successful female entrepreneurs you should know to inspire your entrepreneurial journey. These famous female business owners have different backgrounds. What ties them together is their passion, purpose, and drive to make a positive impact through their female-owned companies.

1. Angeline Tham

CEO and Founder of Angkas

Angeline Tham was a JP Morgan banker for five years before she founded the revolutionary motorcycle taxi service, Angkas.

Experiencing the horrors of Metro Manila’s congested traffic, Angeline Tham provided a safe and effective solution for Filipino commuters. The two-wheeled taxi service proved to be a massive hit as it gained over 1.5 million downloads since it launched. And with a high safety rating, it has become one of the most in-demand modes of transportation in the country. 

Angeline Tham plans to expand Angkas by offering its drivers free training and introducing the first motorcycle ambulance in the Philippines.

2. Corazon D. Ong

Founder of CDO Foodsphere

A dietitian by trade, Corazon Ong used her expertise to produce affordable processed meats that could compete with imported brands. 

Corazon Ong started a home-based business selling her homemade corned beef, hamburger patties, meatloaf, and hotdogs. She then scaled her business and established CDO Foodsphere in 1975. Known for its high-quality but affordable processed meats, CDO became a household brand and eventually expanded to industrial markets.

What started as a passion for providing tasty, affordable, and easily-prepared meals for her children, CDO now supplies processed meat to 90% of quick-service restaurants in the Philippines.

3. Mica Tan

CEO and Co-Founder of MFT Group of Companies 

Not only is Mica Tan one of the youngest CEOs, she is also one of the few powerful female entrepreneurs running a private equity firm in the Philippines.

Mica Tan learned how to trade foreign exchange at such a young age. At 19, she founded her own company. She is now the co-founder and CEO of MFT Group of Companies, a global private equity firm with over USD $61 million in assets. It has investments in pharmaceuticals, finance, real estate, lifestyle products, and investments.

Mica Tan is recognized as one of the most influential women today. She has received many local and global awards, including the 100 Most Influential Filipino Women in the World at the 16th Filipina Leadership Global Summit.

4. Soccoro Cancio-Ramos

Founder of National Book Store

Soccoro Cancio-Ramos, or Nanay Coring as she is affectionately called, is the Matriarch of the Philippines’ largest bookstore chain, National Book Store.

Together with her husband, they started National Book Store as a small mom-and-pop corner shop in Escolta with a capital of PHP 200. They sold books and school supplies to students. When books and periodicals were censored during the Japanese siege, they sold candles and soaps to supplement their income. Post-war, National Book Store developed and expanded its product line.

Nanay Coring has led National Book Store to its present-day success with her discerning business acumen and hands-on caring approach. One of the most successful female business owners in our country, she inspired generations to dream big and start small.

5. Zarah Juan

Founder of Zara Juan

Zara Juan is championing Filipino craftsmanship. She empowers artisans and Philippine tribes nationwide through her social and cultural enterprise, Zara Juan. 

She started her career as a flight attendant. During one of their layovers in Japan, she found the inspiration to make her own reusable bags. It proved to be a viable business as Filipinos became more environmentally conscious. Moreover, she saw an opportunity to create a business with a positive impact.

Zara Juan has mutually beneficial partnerships with their partner artisans and local communities, providing them with a sustainable livelihood and a platform to share our country’s rich culture.

Women Inspiring Women is Just the Beginning

Women-led businesses and women-owned brands are rising in the country. These women are shifting how we do business for the better.  

It’s high time that we uplift and support female-owned businesses to help raise women’s economic participation in our country. 

To our empowered Filipina entrepreneurs – thank you for your contribution to empowering our nation and inspiring young women to start their own female-owned small businesses!

Tag an inspiring woman entrepreneur who is making a difference in your community. This women’s month, let us support, uplift, and celebrate them by sharing their stories in the comment below!

Prosperna Supports Women’s Entrepreneurship

Prosperna’s Website Builder is created specifically for Philippine SMEs to meet the needs and the budget of their small businesses.

  • Set up your eCommerce website for as low as USD $25.50 (PHP 1,275).
  • Accept multiple online and offline payment options.
  • Offer nationwide delivery through local shipping providers.
  • Connect to multiple social channels and online marketplaces.
  • Enjoy local support and our “we do it for you” service.

Further reading: 

Prosperna, Your Partner to eCommerce Success

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Our mission is to empower 100,000 MSMEs in the Philippines with simple and affordable eCommerce software so you can get started on your journey to the Cyber Marketplace in the fastest possible time, without breaking the bank.

In fact, we are super passionate about helping Philippine MSMEs we’re giving you a free account FOREVER! 

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Dennis Velasco

Dennis Velasco

Dennis Velasco is the CEO and Founder of Prosperna, an all-in-one eCommerce platform for Philippine businesses. As a technology evangelist at heart, Dennis is super passionate about helping MSMEs "level the playing field" with technology. Feel free to connect with him on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Dennis Velasco

Dennis Velasco is the CEO and Founder of Prosperna, an all-in-one eCommerce platform for Philippine businesses. As a technology evangelist at heart, Dennis is super passionate about helping MSMEs "level the playing field" with technology. Feel free to connect with him on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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