Filipino Entrepreneurs in the UAE and GCC – Travel & Services
The Filipino Institute – UAE
Gabriel John D. Rimando
Founder & President
More than just a school for the people, the Filipino Institute is committed to providing uniquely designed professional programs that equip Filipinos in the UAE and Middle East with the tools, as well as the enthusiasm, to succeed in a chosen field.
Offering short courses in photography, accounting, human resources and office administration, caregiving, IT, and Arabic language classes, students can choose from basic, intermediate, and advanced courses designed to update their skills and knowledge, help them advance in their careers, or give them a competitive edge in the job market. In a span of two years, Filipino Institute has produced 40,000 graduates in the UAE and other countries within the GCC. “It started from the thought of wanting to help others and our economy. A notion that through the ripple effect of changing lives one student at a time, I’d be changing the world,” – says founder and president Gabriel John D. Rimando.
On the journey to where they stand today, Gabriel expresses that failing, and continuously learning from one’s mistakes, is an integral part of success: “Do not be discouraged by failure. Through the mistakes we make, we grow, we find strength, and character is built. Failing will always be a part of success. We just have to embrace it and learn to change for the better.”
Filbrit Training Center & Sampaguita Salon – UAE
Mayet G Malang
Founder & CEO
Filbrit Training Center founded and led by Mayet Malang is a KHDA and DED licensed training center located in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. They specialize in shadow teaching and educational support for children with special needs. Mayet is also the owner of Sampaguita Salon, which is known for providing high quality beauty services with European hair products at a reasonable price.
Through her experience, Mayet swears by her formula for success: “Strategic planning stands at the core of every successful entrepreneur. Having many options is the secret of being successful. Finding the balance between planning carefully and being flexible is what will turn your business into a triumph. I also try very hard to listen to what my staff, my clients and others in the community are saying to me. Sometimes other people are the ones who can see things clearly.” She also mentions that passion is a driving force, that will keep one committed, and lastly, that being an entrepreneur comes with its own challenges as well. “Being an entrepreneur is tough, but never give up – keep going, follow your dreams with enthusiasm and strength: and you will make it for sure.”
James Travel – UAE
Founder and Managing Director
Backed with over 20 years in experience, and having worked with over 500,000 clients within the Middle East and back home, James Travel tirelessly strives to bridge the gap between the UAE and the Philippines, and the rest of the world. Enriching lives through travel, the company, with offices in both UAE and the Philippines, inspires and encourages people around the world to step out from what’s familiar through offering enticing services including: corporate travel, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events), educational/pilgrimage tours, worldwide holiday packages, visa processing, flight & hotel booking, as well as travel insurance.
Christine Tilja established the company in 2014, naming it after her eldest child. Since then, the company now has branches in Dubai, Makati and General Santos City. The entrepreneur shares what she likes the most about being her own boss, “To build a brand that adds value to the community and at the same time I get to spend more quality-time with James while growing up,” she says. “Success is a process – each experience, each mistake, each failure that I had made allows me to learn, be better and prepares me for the next chapter of my life.”
MPQ Tourism LLC (group) – UAE
Malou Quinto Prado
Spearheaded by Malou Quinto Prado, MPQ tourism is a fully Filipino-owned travel agency that aims to create unique and affordable travel experiences. As a leader among many travel agencies in Dubai, MPQ tourism specializes in visa organization, document assistance, travel arrangement and providing a wide variety of travel packages to customers.
Malou’s secret to success starts with acknowledging and planning for the problems that lie ahead. “As an entrepreneur I can say it’s not easy running a business. You should always be positive and motivate yourself away from negative energy to strength and confidence.”
Her next secret to success lies within teamwork – always applying good leadership skills and nurturing employee relationships in order to ensure a happy and efficient work flow. “Investing more and more of your heart into your work the higher you go up is beneficial to the company and yourself. The results show as you put more effort into these things.”
According to Malou, analyzing and adopting the traits of a great entrepreneur improves one’s abilities immensely. She also puts emphasis on especially being goal oriented. She says, “By setting short-term and long-term goals, your business will be able to achieve more in the long run, and you’ll have a quicker read on the situation when things inevitably go wrong.”
Brusko Barbers – UAE
Roy & Abi Gaddi Cruz
Malu Gallardo & Algene Suria
These days, looking sharp is on every guy’s mind. Brusko Barbers is a Dubai-based concept barbershop that offers classic and edgy haircuts, clean shaves, top-notch grooming services, as well as treatments provided by professional barbers and hairstylists – all in one urban warehouse styled hideaway for men in JLT.
Lead by co-founders Roy Cruz and Abbi Gaddi Cruz, with partners Malu Gallardo and Algene Suria, Brusko Barbers was born out of the desire to address a gap in the market between exclusive men’s salons and the run-of-the-mill type.
No stranger to hustling, these entrepreneurs share what it takes to successfully build a brand: “To start up a business, you must have the skills to hustle, research-based insights, and a foolproof perspective on how good your service/product is. It sounds tough because it really is. If you’ve got that hard-core will to learn and to do all the above then you are ready to become an entrepreneur and it’s time for you to find the most suitable type of funding, partners or investors.”
Dawn Almario, Olga Barcelona, Lot Quilatan & Sheena Jones
Just like the hair and nail treatments they offer, bold and brave are Dawn Almario, Olga Barcelona, Lot Quilatan, and Sheena Jones – founders of Strawberry Nails. Recognizing Dubai’s fast paced lifestyle, Strawberry Nails caters to the edgy girl on-the-go.
Having been open for three years now, these ladies express that despite having developed immensely asboth a team and a brand, they too elaborate that every aspect of any business can always be further enriched. From one entrepreneur to another who aspires, they share: “No matter how perfectly planned things are, you have to be flexible and constantly open to new ideas for each challenge. Be patient. Return of investment doesn’t happen overnight. Even a baby needs nine months to be fully developed and yet once born it’s just the beginning. Finally, believe in your idea and be brave. When things don’t go as planned, remember why you started the business, and just go for it. It’s always better to try and fail, than to fail because you never tried.”